Free service provides data on grants for nonprofits, individuals

December 06, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Librarian Harry Sachs, left, talks with Linda McCauley about grants during an open house Tuesday in the board room of the Community Foundation and United Way of Washington County in downtown Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Linda McCauley wants to expand her nonprofit group’s program offerings for youths, perhaps adding a basketball program.

New Light Metropolitan Community Church wants to renovate its West Church Street facility to make it more multifunctional, including providing a place for the homeless to go on winter mornings after shelters close, the Rev. Michael Hydes said.

Both were among approximately 10 people who attended an open house Tuesday morning to learn about two online Foundation Center databases that provide information about grants and grant providers. The Foundation Center provides information about philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and grant providers, according to a center brochure.

The two Foundation Center databases — one for nonprofits and one for individuals — are available through the Washington County Free Library’s temporary downtown Hagerstown branch at 59 W. Washington St., said Harry Sachs, librarian with the library’s Business and Government Information Center.

Sachs showed people how to use the grant databases at the two-hour open house, which was held in the board room of the Community Foundation and United Way of Washington County in downtown Hagerstown.

Interest in the databases has fluctuated since the library began offering them four years ago, Sachs said. The open house was held to raise awareness and show people how to use the online databases, which are available to more than just Washington County residents, he said. Sachs showed visitors how to search for information related to their needs and email the results to themselves.

Hydes said church officials had been surfing the Web looking for grant possibilities, but it has been hit or miss. The online database he learned about Tuesday morning should be useful, he said.

The church’s facilities used to be an auto parts garage with apartments upstairs, church officials said.

While the facilities were partially renovated, church officials want to make further improvements, such as making the restrooms handicap-accessible and making space more multifunctional for use by the wider community, Hydes said.

McCauley is president of XMD Allstarz, a nonprofit group based in Hagerstown’s West End that offers competitive cheer, dance and majorette programs. The programs are intended to give those ages 2 to 18 an outlet other than video games and getting into trouble, she said.

McCauley said she wants to expand the program offerings and branch out into “get healthy” and after-school programs, so Allstarz needs funding. While Allstarz is a nonprofit, she said there is a monthly charge for the programs — $15 to $45 per child — to cover the $1,000 per month rent in the old Washington Street School building.

Sachs said the online database for individuals provides information about scholarships and information that could help starving artists.

Sachs recommends that people interested in using the databases make an appointment with him by calling the downtown library branch at 301-791-5169.

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