In September of 2014, the House of Neighborly Service submitted a grant request to the Boettcher Foundation for $150,000 to go toward the building of the HNS Life Center. The center was to house multiple nonprofits who would collectively provide what HNS Grant Specialist Sarah Morales calls “one-stop-shopping” for those in need, including school readiness services for children, a food pantry, and other services.
The grant would be part of a larger, $3.5 million campaign to raise capital funding for phase one of the center’s establishment, with the total project cost estimated at approximately $5 million.
The House of Neighborly Service identified the Boettcher Foundation as a candidate for financial support through a feasibility study conducted by the organization, and reached out. The organization received $75,000 in funding, awarded November 20th of the same year.
The funding came with no stipulations or requirements of metrics, other than the requirement that the funding be used specifically for capital, and that a final report be prepared for the foundation.
The HNS Life Center opened August 4th, 2014. There are currently six tenants in total, including HNS itself, but 6 new tenants are scheduled to move in in mid-February 2015. Tenants will be charged $9 per square foot in rent, and the shared space program will be managed by 27 employees at HNS.
Speaking generally about grantmaking for the shared space, Morales said that she has encountered few hurdles related to shared space specifically, sharing that she has been overwhelmed by positive feedback regarding the center.
The Boettcher Foundation told HSN that this was one of the best grants they had ever received, and Morales attributes this in part to the style in which the grant was written. She tries to write every grant as a story, where she takes funders through the process of project generation and formation.
Even though the Boettcher Foundation only requires a final report, Morales keeps them updated on a quarterly basis as to the status of the project to maintain the relationship and show the foundation that they are doing good things with their funding. She advises that things like sending funders a client story or pictures of the grant at work can be excellent ways to involve them in the project.
When asked for advice or lessons regarding shared space grantmaking, Morales stated that communication and stewardship are most important in creating valuable relationships with funders, and that maintaining relationships can be key in securing future grants.