The Little Grant That Could

2015 grant partner Friends of Baseball goes on to catch the attention of the Seattle Mariners and NIKE.

“Have you heard of Multnomah Athletic Foundation?” That was the question from a foundation board member that started it all.

In my first year as Executive Director (and the only employee) of Friends of Baseball, I was eager to find leaders and organizations who were of similar hearts and minds when it comes to what athletics can do for a child and in a community.

I knew immediately that the Foundation’s grant program was a great value fit for our organization’s work – enhancing children’s lives through baseball’s power to teach. What I didn’t know were the ways in which our organization’s trajectory would change as a result.

Comprehending the grant funding world can get a bit wonky. Yet it is absolutely critical to understand how a powerful, niche funder like Multnomah Athletic Foundation can help an organization such as Friends of Baseball grow our impact in the community.

When we received news of our initial MAF grant award in 2015, it was the first funded grant allocated to our pilot Full Count program. That opening Full Count program – held at Jefferson High School for 7 to 11-year-old elementary school children – kicked off a chain of events that has propelled our organization to make an even greater difference in the community. The overall impact included a $10,000 field grant from the Seattle Mariners and MLB’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund, significant grants from Juan Young Trust, and a program expansion grant from the NIKE Employee Impact Fund in 2016. It culminated this year in a capacity-building grant from Oregon Community Foundation that allowed us to hire our second staff member (a grant that the MAF Board awarded matching funds for).

In the first 18 months of our Full Count afterschool and summer program, we served 225 students in the Portland Metro area. We also trained more than 10 high school students in mentoring and coaching skills through our Full Count Fellows program.

For small-but-mighty nonprofits, as in baseball, all it takes is one base hit to get a rally going. Thanks to the first “little grant that could” from Multnomah Athletic Foundation, we are doing more than putting runs on the board, we are making sure every child has the opportunity to swing for the fences on the field and in life.

By Nova Newcomer, Friends of Baseball Executive Director

To learn more about grants from the Multnomah Athletic Foundation visit our grant page.