THE WEST YELLOWSTONE FOUNDATION MISSION To strengthen the sense of community and enhance the economic vitality in the West Yellowstone/Hebgen Lake Basin. The nonprofit Foundation provides for charitable and philanthropic needs through permanent endowments, gifts, bequests and grants. The Foundation raises and administers tax deductible, donated charitable resources from individuals and organizations while meeting the donor’s wishes.
GRANT FOCUS AREAS: Arts and Culture, Basic Human Needs, Education, Economic Vitality, Natural Resources, Conservation, Historic Preservation.
GRANT PRIORITIES: The Foundation prefers to make grants to organizations that are responsive to the changing needs of the community. Innovative solutions and preventive actions are welcomed. Partnerships and collaborations are highly encouraged. Other support, such as partial funding, volunteers, and in-kind gifts that demonstrate community involvement are considered. Projects that impact the largest number of individuals possible with a modest investment of funds are preferred. Program development and capacity building activities are eligible. Lower priority is given to general operating expenses, capital or equipment requests and ongoing program support.
ELEGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: To be eligible for a grant, an organization must be located in or provide service to residents within the greater West Yellowstone/Hebgen Lake Basin areas.
FUNDING AMOUNTS: Typically we have about $3000 to grant each quarter. If your request is more than that, please call 406-646-1152 to discuss your project. We have funded larger projects in the past but they have been outside of our normal grant cycle.
RESTRICTIONS: The West Yellowstone Foundation does not award grants for the following: Religious organizations for direct religious activities, debt retirement, individuals (except through the scholarship program), political organizations or campaigns, telephone solicitations, and organizations that have a substantial part of their purpose, the influencing of legislation.
2023 DEADLINES: January 1st, April 1st, July 1st & October 1st
FOLLOW-UP REQUIREMENT: Within 30 days of the completion of grantee’s project the WYF Follow-up/project evaluation form that can be found online must be completed and turned in. If WYF does not receive these forms, the group becomes ineligible to apply for future funding. If there are any unused funds remaining at the completion of the project they must be returned to the Foundation. The West Yellowstone Foundation encourages clear and concise grant proposals that adhere to the Grant Application guidelines.
Please contact the WYF office at (406) 646-1152 for more information. Applications and Follow-up Forms can be found online at westyellowstonefoundation.org
12 Tips for Successful Grant Writing
While grant writing is not an exact science, there are certainly steps you can take to increase your organization’s chances of receiving a piece of the pie. Here are 12 tips that will make your grant applications a cut above the rest.
Spell out the need for the grant.
Why are you applying for a particular grant? “Because we need funding” is not an acceptable answer. To increase your chances of being accepted, clearly describe the need that your project will meet in the community and how it will make a significant impact for good.
Target a specific project with your grant proposal.
The majority of grants are awarded to a specific cause as opposed to just general support. By focusing your grant application on a single project, you will increase your chances of getting funded. And be detailed—this will show that you’ve clearly thought through how the project will be executed.
Lose the fancy words.
The best grant proposals are easy to read, concise and understandable. Use verbiage that the Grant Maker has used in outlining their grant priorities. This will make it easier for them to see that your request in within their intended scope.
Focus more on solutions than problems when writing your grant application.
Talking too much about problems (as opposed to solutions) can give your proposal a negative vibe. Remember: A real person is going to read your proposal, so you want to do everything you can to instill positive emotions, much like in storytelling. Plus, grant makers want to know how you’re going to accomplish your objectives even more than why.
Recruit an objective reviewer.
After you finish writing your application, send it to someone who doesn’t know anything about your project. Does that person understand what you’re trying to accomplish? Does it inspire, engage or motivate that person to support your organization’s mission? If so, you’re on the right track. It’s helpful to get an outsider’s perspective before you submit the proposal to, well, an outsider.
Pay close attention to details.
Some foundations can be very picky. If they specify page length, page margins, typeface, etc., be sure to follow the specifications. They may not make sense to you or seem important, but grant makers have their reasons, and not adhering to their requirements may get your application tossed aside. Don’t go to all that work just to have your proposal rejected because of logistics.
Tell how your organization’s work is different from other nonprofits in order to set yourself apart. You significantly up your chances of getting a “yes” if you can set your organization apart from the masses.
Eliminate industry words and jargon from your grant application.
Every industry has its own jargon. But it’s best to eliminate all internally used acronyms and jargon. Tell your story from the heart, in words that everyone can understand.
Be a good storyteller.
Imagine that it’s your job to read grant proposals, hour after hour after hour. Eventually they’re all going to sound the same—unless you come across one that inspires you or tugs at your heartstrings. Think about this: How can you get the person reading your proposal to fall in love with your project? The key lies in the story you tell. If you can perfect the art of storytelling, your grant proposals will stand out.
Be sure your budget makes sense.
Believe it or not, quite a few proposals are submitted with math errors, which automatically undermines the project’s credibility. Be sure your math adds up, your budget makes sense and it supports the objectives you’re proposing to accomplish. If your grant proposal even hints at the possibility you’re a bad steward of money, your project could be eliminated.
Easier said than done, but try very hard not to wait until the last minute to prepare your grants. You’ll inevitably make mistakes if you feel rushed, and you won’t have time to edit or rewrite. If possible, never send your application via overnight or express mail. Rushing a proposal costs extra money and can signal to the grant maker that your organization is a poor steward of funds.
Don’t send unnecessary attachments.
Most grant makers will specify what to send, and it’s not necessary to send more than they request, even if you think it will win you an advantage. Again, it’s important to follow the rules. Grant makers are reading a lot of proposals, and they may view extraneous material as an annoyance.