When we started the Thierer Family Foundation, our goal was to figure out how we could have the greatest impact on the causes we care about with the resources we had available. In order to define our mission, we decided that the best thing to do was to meet with some of the amazing nonprofit organizations in the area to better understand what their biggest challenges were.
One thing that we quickly learned was that each organization was different and had its own unique challenges. However, one answer we heard over and over again was “we don’t have enough resources to do what we need to do.”
During these meetings we heard stories of Chief Strategists spending 30% of their time running reports in Excel instead of thinking about how the organization could better serve their audience. We heard about big visions and amazing ideas that were pushed to the back-burner year after year because they “just couldn’t focus on that yet” because they were so busy keeping the organization running and supporting the growing needs of their audience.
Obviously, we knew that getting more funding from donors like us would help, but we wanted to figure out what could be done to ease the resource burden for the organizations long term. We wanted to invest in these incredible organizations in a way that would make them efficient, more effective and more sustainable.
Our team comes from the world of marketing technology. We’ve built technology solutions to help organizations and we’ve implemented our fair share of tech solutions within our own organization. We know how much technology can help increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of organizations by simplifying and automating processes. So, when we heard about the challenges faced by these nonprofits, we couldn’t help but ask what technology they were using.
Some organizations had technology in place, but it was often free or low-cost solutions that they had “cobbled together” and fell short of addressing all of their requirements. Other organizations said they couldn’t free up operating budget to pay for the technology they needed and struggled to convince donors to fund investments in technology. Others lacked the internal technology expertise to find and implement the right technology.
And just like that, there it was. The place where we could bring together our financial resources and our expertise in order to have a long-term positive impact on organizations doing important work in Chicago. And so, our mission was born:
With this mission in mind, we launched our Impact Project Grant program in 2018. Impact Project Grants are awarded to fund projects that leverage technology and innovation to help improve and/or scale operations and enhance organizations’ ability to deliver their mission. In addition to funding these projects, we also partner with our grantees and offer our expertise to help make them as successful as possible.
Stay tuned to find out what organizations/projects were awarded an Impact Project Grant and how those projects are progressing!