November 2020 Newsletter
SOS Rolls Out New Grant Software During Record-Setting Year Of Grant Requests
This year, St. Louis-area non-profit organizations reached out seeking funds in record numbers from The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (SOS). With more than 286 grant requests for the 2020/2021 grant cycle, SOS was fortunate to have implemented a new online grant management software platform in partnership with the St. Louis Community Foundation.
The software, Grant Lifecycle Manager (GLM) from Foundant Technology, organizes the entire grant-making process. It enables grant making organizations such as SOS to create and manage grant applications, provide online access to grant reviewers, and send automated email notifications to applicants. One of the most important features is the ability to measure, report, and analyze the impact of the grants that are made.
“I am really pleased with how the rollout of the new system has gone,” explains JoAnn Sanditz, SOS Grant Chair. “For our volunteer evaluators, all the information is in one place. The evaluation form is on the left of the screen and the grantee’s application on the right, making it easy to cut and paste from the application into the review.”
The St. Louis Community Foundation, SOS’s partner for administrative, financial, and technical support, recommended the move to the new GLM Software. The Foundation made use of the system during their COVID relief grant cycle, and they plan to fully migrate to the new system over the next year.
Nikki Martinez, Community Investment Manager for the St. Louis Community Foundation, administers the application for both the St. Louis Community Foundation and SOS. She brings broad expertise in grant-making due diligence, monitoring, and evaluation to the effort.
“It streamlines everything,” Martinez says. “Everything is in one place. It allows us to run reports and track applications more easily. It’s also simplifies the work for nonprofits as well. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the nonprofits that it is an easier process. It was such a good experience to work together with the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund on this grant cycle using the GLM software.”
“I can’t say enough good things about the Community Foundation, specifically how responsive Nikki has been through this process,” Sanditz explains. “That horrible, terrible master spreadsheet that was very bulky and time consuming is no longer something we have to do deal with. There are still a few things that we need to tweak, but we are finally at the tail end of getting the full application and site visit evaluation forms ready for the next stage of our grant cycle. It’s significant progress.”
Core to the mission of SOS has been how we study, debate and together come to decide where our funds will have the greatest impact. Early in our history this was done by delivering boxes of printed applications dropped at members doors. That graduated to working with uploaded PDFs and word documents with grantee evaluations tracked on spreadsheets. SOS today is moving forward with sophisticated workflow solutions that both streamline the process and give us deeper insights about our impact in the community.
Grant Evaluation Process
Come Participate In The Grant Evaluation Process. It’s The Why of Who We Are.
Join a Site Visit team and learn more about our community.
Deadline for sign up is January 8, 2021.
Even if you have served on a Site visit team in the past you must sign up again for 2021.
To join a Site Visit Team, follow this link – http://www.spiritstlwomensfund.org/
Then follow these steps:
- Login as a member
- Click “Member Menu”
- Click “Join Committees”
- Select SITE VISIT checkbox
THE NUTS & BOLTS
- Site visit teams are small groups who carefully review full grant application documents and attend site visits together to learn about and evaluate grantees organizations and proposed projects.
- All meetings will be virtual this year.
- Site visits take place in February and March and are usually scheduled during weekday office hours.
- Site visit team leaders work with team members and agency representatives to coordinate scheduling.
- Team members are not expected to attend every site visit.
2021 General Site Visit & Grant Schedule:
- January 8: Sign up DEADLINE
- January 19: Demystify Non-Profit Tax Statements (5:30 -6:30 pm), virtual (optional training for SOS members only)
- January 26: Team Leader Training (3:30-4:30pm) virtual
- January 26: Team Member Orientation & amp (4:30-5:30 pm) virtual
- January 29: Full grant proposals from invited nonprofits are due
- February – March: Site visit teams meet to evaluate grant proposals, virtual
- April 6: Site Visit Team Leader Meeting to determine final ballot (3:30-5:30 pm)
OTHER IMPORTANT DATES
April 14: Ballot Fair tbd/membership voting begins
April 30: Voting closes
May 18: Grants announced at SOS Annual Meeting and Spirit Awards Ceremony
Working on a Site Visit Team is a great way to learn about the work of small nonprofits in the Greater St. Louis Community and to get to know your fellow SOS members!
If you need assistance with your member login and password, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental Well-Being: Helping Communities Heal From Trauma
On October 13, Alive & Well Communities shared with us via Zoom their community-based approach to address trauma and build community resilience. Trauma can come from an event or an experience. Everyone is affected differently, where a brother may experience trauma from a situation at home, the same situation could have no effect on his sister.
We discussed the heightened level of trauma for some in the St. Louis area due to the combination of the COVID19 pandemic and the recent overt racist events of 2020 that re-exposed the social problems facing the nation as a whole.
Alive & Well Communities focuses on healing the community through trauma training for schools, businesses, organizations and individuals. The organization reaches deep into the community through their Ambassadors who are individuals serving as agents of change to decrease the impact of toxic stress and trauma where they live.
October Book Discussion
On October 28, we got together on Zoom for a book discussion on Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson. This was the first book in our SOS discussion series that is focused on racial inequality.
This book is so impactful the New York Times book reviewer said “I was reading one of the most powerful nonfiction books I’d ever encountered”.
The book draws parallels between the United States, India, and the horrors of Nazi Germany. Our SOS breakout groups had thoughtful discussions that looked at the history of racism in America through the lens of the caste system.
We look forward to seeing you in our book discussions next year!
Welcome New Members
Save the Date/Upcoming Events
SOS Holiday Gathering
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
at 5:30 p.m., Virtual
Zoom information will be provided with registration e-mail confirmation.
Thanks to the 60 SOS members who served on 10 LOI teams and evaluated ALL of the Letters of Inquiry!
A record 286 Letters of Inquiry were submitted to SOS for funding consideration in 2021.
Approximately 40 agencies who applied for single year funding will be invited to submit full grant applications in January 2021.
Home Sweet Home
URGENT need for twin size mattresses and twin size box springs for the little ones in their families!
They are also critically low on small appliances like: toasters, microwaves, crock pots, and blenders.
To schedule a pick-up please visit, https://homesweethomestl.org/give-furniture.
Small items may be dropped off Monday – Friday 9am to 2pm at the Home Sweet Home Warehouse located at
290 Hanley Industrial Court, Brentwood, MO 63144.
While you’re online doing your holiday shopping, don’t forget our grantee, Angels’ Arms is always in need for items for their foster families.
Their Amazon link is https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/MM03I3IICUFB?&sort=default
The generosity of SOS members is always appreciated by the Angels’ Arms families.
2020 Charitable Donations
Here is some important information regarding charitable deductions that apply only to the 2020 tax year.
How the CARES Act and you can benefit charitable organizations in 2020 only.
A new universal charitable deduction…
The CARES Act contains a provision allowing an above the line charitable deduction not seen before. In other words, if you donate up to $300 in cash to a qualified charitable organization, your adjusted gross income will be reduced up to $300.
Whether single or married, you can deduct up to $300 even if you itemize. There is no requirement that taxpayers provide any documentation for their contributions with their tax returns, but the IRS requires that taxpayers keep a written record of all cash contributions.
An added benefit for those that itemize deductions…
With the CARES Act, for those who itemize deductions for 2020, you can deduct charitable contributions up to 100% of your AGI (adjusted gross income). That’s up from 60% under current IRS tax laws. This means that for 2020 if your AGI is $200,000, you can deduct $200,000 in charitable contributions. This effectively affords individuals over 59½ years old benefits similar to an age 70.5 Qualified Charitable Distribution from an IRA. You can take a cash distribution from an IRA, contribute the cash to charity, and may completely offset tax attributable to the distribution by taking a charitable deduction in an amount up to 100 percent of AGI for the 2020 tax year. Please consult with your CPA beforehand.