Who should apply to the foundation?

The Shavlik Family Foundation awards grants to Minnesota based charitable, nonprofit organizations that are recognized by the IRS as 501(c) 3 public charities.

While we like to understand the programs and services of every organization, we base our grant awards on the merits of the technology project being submitted.

What grant sizes do you award?

The Foundation awards approximately 15 to 20 grants each year ranging in size from $1,000 to $30,000. These grants support innovative program initiatives or technology that improves operations, efficiency, fundraising, communications, data collection, or clients’ access to opportunities.

What type of funding requests do you accept?

The Foundation is willing to accept technology requests for operating, program/project, or capital grant requests. Technical assistance and consulting costs may be included if it is required by the project. The Foundation welcomes collaboration with other grant-makers.

Projects should be able to be accomplished within a year of the grant being made. All projects should include detailed project implementation and budget plans. Websites or database projects that are to increase traffic, donors or program usage should also include a marketing and communications strategy. Database requests must also show how data migration from existing systems will be accomplished. Training of any type must be shown to be incorporated into organizational processes.

How does the Foundation define technology?

We recognize that technology is ever changing and it is incorporated into many appliances, equipment, and devices. Technology has also been transformative in how we gather data and communicate with each other.

The Shavlik Family Foundation works to leverage the experience of its members around rolling out systems that include: hardware; software applications; mobile applications; audio-visual equipment and software; internet connectivity; information driven systems like databases; and communication interfaces including websites. While we remain open to newer definitions of technology proposals currently we have focused on systems based in computers and communications.

If you want to propose something that you feel should be included in our definition of technology please contact us to discuss.

What type of outcomes is the Foundation looking for?

The Foundation is primarily focused on technology resources that remove barriers or build capacity for nonprofits and their clients. For example:

  • The utilization of new technology creates a gain of information that in turn provides more choices and improves clients’ or the organization’s ability to make better decisions.
  • The exposure and use of technology creates skills that lead clients to greater self-sufficiency and opportunities.
  • Nonprofits taking advantage of technology to create collaborations gaining efficiency to serving clients more effectively.
  • Implementing databases and reporting functionality to improve donor relations resulting in improved fundraising and with it the ability to serve more clients.
  • Improving programs or general operations through the use of a technology that leads to operational savings for an organization.
  • Using technology to improve communications and education in ways that lead to greater reach for the organization or the populations they serve.

These examples are given to illustrate funding outcomes, but are not limited to these examples.

We want to see technology used to help solve issues and projects that will transform your organization taking you and your clients into the future.

What does the Foundation want to see in a proposal?

We know that there are factors that will make a project successful. Thoughtful planning that shows a focus on details in the implementation and budget as well as outcomes give us confidence that the organization is prepared not only for the project to go as planned, but also show an ability to adjust, through a proven process, if there need to be changes made.

Projects that advance the mission of an organization and give a solid case for a return on the investment provide a strong example to the Foundation about the impact a project will have. 

Organizations that recognize that all technology has an expiration date and that the organization is planning for that inevitability show us that the effort behind the current project is critical and will continue to be a part of the organization's future processes.

When these criteria are all met our investment has proven to have had a greater impact than just providing an immediate fix, upgrade, or just bringing the organization in line with their peers.  What we are most looking for is a long term strategy for how technology fits into your organization to build stronger capacity for the future.

Limitations of Grant Making

Currently we are accepting grants only from 501(c)(3) non-profits. We do not accept grants from individuals or those using a fiscal sponsor. Generally, the Foundation will not:

  • Make grants to individuals or for the benefit of pre-selected individuals
  • Provide funds to lobby legislation or influence public elections
  • Promote any religious doctrine or any specific religious organizations
  • Serve as replacement funding for public programs

In addition, we do not fund routine replacement of hardware and software. We encourage organizations to create regular budget plans for upgrades within their operating budgets. Also, we are very cautious to fund customized software. Custom software puts the organization in the position of needing to be responsible for its technology and ongoing upgrades and maintenance as platforms change. We feel this can take away from an organization's ability to focus on the core services it provides. We do not fund STEM or other educational programs, although we will consider a technology that supports these efforts.

Who do I contact for more information?

The Foundation welcomes inquiries regarding potential submissions. The best way to start a conversation with us is to send an email to the Foundation at rebecca.shavlik@shavlik.us. We are a small family foundation without staff, so if you email there might be a small delay in our response times. Thanks in advance for your understanding.