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The Librarians’ Guide to Health Information Funders


The Librarians' Guide to Health Information Funders

(This guide is in an Excel spreadsheet. It is easiest to read and use if you download it to your computer and open it in Excel, although you can open it in your browser if you do not have that option. If you do not have Excel, please contact us via the link at the bottom of the page and we will send you the file in an alternate format.)

Locating funders who are eager to support your health information collections can be a challenging task. This Librarians' Guide to Health Information Funders Database can help you find partners to shoulder some of the expenses to develop educational materials, purchase equipment, and launch outreach programs.

The funders chosen for this guide make grants for vastly different reasons. Some are leading national funders who support and set trends in health issues while others focus on smaller, community-based efforts to improve health and well-being in their own cities, regions, or states.

Their priorities also vary. You will find that some want to support health initiatives, some prefer to support their local libraries, some want to improve conditions for minorities and underserved populations, and some are generalists who want to enhance the overall welfare of a community. To be selected for this guide, the funders had to show a history of making grants towards at least one of the following: public education or outreach, health issues, information dissemination, health literacy, community health, disease prevention, wellness efforts, minorities, and libraries.

It was an extensive process to select funders who are most applicable to library health issues. We reviewed the guidelines of hundreds of foundations and corporations and combed through lists of current and past grantees to document a track record of giving to library collections or health information dissemination efforts.

Three types of funders currently are included in this database: corporate giving programs, private foundations and grant-making charities. In the near future, this database will be expanded to include other funding resources such as community foundations and government funding agencies.

Corporate Giving Programs

This database provides a wide range of corporate givers from a variety of industries including healthcare, utilities, high-tech services, pharmaceuticals, banking, medical supplies and equipment, pharmaceuticals, insurance, biotechnology, aerospace and defense contractors, and banks.  If the economy continues to rebound and corporate profits grow, you can expect to find more support available for your projects in their philanthropic coffers.

Private Foundations

People from all walks of life -- from a Texas oil baron to a cereal manufacturer -- established the foundations in this database. Some of the funds were created as the social investments of industrial barons in the early 1900s, and others represent the surge in wealth generated during the past few decades by new technologies and cutting-edge businesses. Despite their vast differences, they all share the goal of improving the dissemination of health information to the general public.


Grant-making Charities

These are an often-overlooked source of private sector funding. The charities in the database come from the health or information dissemination arena, including professional and trade associations, medical societies, health agencies, single-disease organizations, community service groups, and foundations created by the sale of nonprofit hospitals or insurance providers to for-profit corporations, as well as a few charities set up by celebrities who want to tackle social issues.


Many grant seekers forget about these organizations while pursuing support, because giving away money is not their primary goal and their philanthropic activities are not as widely publicized as foundations or corporate giving programs. But our extensive research through thousands of potential leads uncovered more than three dozen grant-making charities that share your mission of providing health education materials, equipment, and outreach programs at your library.


While pursuing grant-making charities, keep in mind that this is a very sympathetic group of funders. Even though they make grants, these organizations are also in the business of fund raising, so they understand the challenges you face in attracting money to your projects. They have endured rejection by funders and enjoyed successful grant-seeking campaigns -- and that makes them valuable partners.


Cultivating All Three Types of Funders

Many of these funders disperse grants on a national level, while others confine their giving to a specific region. If your particular geographic area isn't covered as extensively as you would prefer, check out the national funders with priorities that match your project or needs, and contact the chapter or operating facility in your area. Many of the regional branches copy the agendas set by their parent organization and then tailor their giving to address the unique concerns of their communities.

Another important consideration when researching these funders is determining up front which ones are generalists with broad mandates to improve the quality of life. They respond favorably to a wide range of projects. On the other hand, many of these funders follow very specific missions and their grants hone in on precise areas of interest. For example, some focus on certain diseases, others are only concerned about minority or women's issues, and a few prefer to see projects that benefit particular religious denominations. To win their support, proposals should underscore how your project exactly matches their mission.

Finally, as part of this service, we have located some first-rate articles and how-to guides that can walk you through researching and preparing a grant proposal. Reading through at least one of these is highly recommended if you are new to the grant-seeking business. Here are a few that can be very helpful:

Foundation Center Learning Lab Short Course
This contains a two-part article that covers all the basics on preparing a grant request to a funder. Also listed on the Foundation Center 's web site are courses covering relevant topics, such as proposal writing or grant-seeking on the Internet.

Charity Village Main Street: Research Section
This Canadian nonprofit has a library collection of how-to articles on various aspects of fundraising. You could look under Community Foundations, Corporate Philanthropy and Volunteerism, Corporate Sponsorships, Grant Seeking, Philanthropy, etc.

The Grantsmanship Center
This is one of the top organizations that offer seminars on researching prospects, writing proposals and negotiating with funding sources. It provides classes on grant writing and its prices are quite reasonable.


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