The LAURA JANE MUSSER FUND would like to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between groups and citizens of different cultural backgrounds within defined geographical areas through collaborative, cross-cultural exchange projects. Projects must be intercultural and demonstrate intercultural exchange, rather than focused on just one culture.
PRIORITY IS PLACED ON PROJECTS THAT:
- Include members of various cultural communities working together on projects with common goals
- Build positive relationships across cultural lines
- Engender intercultural harmony, tolerance, understanding, and respect
- Enhance intercultural communication, rather than cultural isolation, while at the same time honoring the unique qualities of each culture
PROJECTS MUST DEMONSTRATE:
- Need in the community for the intercultural exchange project
- Grassroots endorsement by participants across cultural lines, as well as their active participation in planning and implementation of the project
- The ability of the organization to address the challenges of working across the cultural barriers identified by the project
- Tangible benefits in the larger community
LIMITS OF GEOGRAPHY:
- Only programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Wyoming, and limited counties in Texas may apply. Eligible counties in Texas are located in the Rio Grande River Valley (Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties), Deep East Texas (Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, and Tyler counties), and the Brazos Valley (Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties).
FUNDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR:
- Planning (up to $5,000) - These funds may support costs like: consultant or staff time, meeting costs, mailings, secretarial support, refreshments, local travel, childcare, etc. Note: This stage is optional and not a required phase prior to applying for or receiving an implementation grant. If an organization receives a planning grant from the Musser Fund, this in no way implies a commitment on the part of the Musser Fund to provide the organization with any subsequent implementation support after their planning activities are completed.
- Implementation (up to $25,000) - These funds are available to implement collaborative cross-cultural exchange projects. The projects should result in a tangible outcome within at least the first 18 months.
Projects will be eligible for either planning or implementation funds during any one grant period.
PROJECTS ELIGIBLE FOR SUPPORT:
Intercultural Harmony projects can be carried out in a number of areas, including (but not limited to):
- Community service
- Youth activities
- The arts
OUTCOMES SHOULD INCLUDE:
- A demonstration of intercultural exchange between cultures
- Increased comfort in interaction between the groups and individual citizens addressed by the project
- Harmonious shared use of public space and community facilities
- Continued cooperation by the participants or communities addressed by the project
WHAT THE PROGRAM WILL COVER:
- New programs or projects within their first three years
- The planning or implementation phase of a project
WHAT WILL NOT BE FUNDED:
- Capital campaigns or large capital expenses
- General operating expenses
- Ongoing program support
- International travel
- Cultural competency training (unless it involves multiple cultural groups)
WHO CAN APPLY:
- Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations
- Local units of Government
HOW TO APPLY:
Proposals will be accepted starting September 15, 2020 and must be submitted online by October 15, 2020. Funding decisions will be announced by February 2021.
The Laura Jane Musser Fund requires all of its grantees to provide evidence, through current policies or acknowledgement, of their anti-discrimination policies or practices.
Please construct your application carefully. We suggest you read through the questions and grant inclusions below PRIOR to going to the online application.
Only complete and qualifying proposals will be accepted.
To apply online please click here.
Online Narrative Section:
- Need: Provide a synopsis of the need in the community for this intercultural exchange project. Describe the intercultural situation or specific intercultural barriers in your community that the proposed project will address. (Please do not use this space to list demographic data.)
- Community Overview: Describe, using qualitative and quantitative descriptions, the cultural identity of your community and the cultural groups who will be impacted by your project.
- Community Engagement: Describe the community members and institutions actively involved in this project. Please indicate the intercultural community members and institutions that will participate in the project. Provide an estimated number of participants.
- Goals and Activities: Describe the overall intercultural goals of this project and the specific activities planned that will accomplish these goals.
- Utilization of Grant: Describe specifically how a grant from the Musser Fund would be used. (Note: Specific line item allocations for Musser grant funds should be included in the project budget attachment.)
- Timeline of Activities: Provide the timeline for the activities that includes the schedule and completion date for the project.
- Intercultural Process: Describe the process you will use to implement your intercultural project. Describe how the project engages active participation across cultural lines throughout all stages of the project. Please be specific about how the different cultural groups in your project are involved in the planning and implementation.
- Organizational Ability: Describe the organization's planned strategies to address the challenges of working across the cultural barriers identified by this proposal, and engaging people in all stages of the project. Identify the project leader's qualifications and the specific experience the organization has in this area.
- Outcomes: Describe the specific intercultural outcomes expected, and the tangible benefits for the community at large that are expected to result from your project.
- Replicability: Please describe any plans for replicating your project or sharing your outcomes.
- Previous Grant Update (if applicable): If you have received a Musser grant in the past year, please provide a brief update on the grant.
- Diversity Component: Please provide a description of any diversity component of your proposed project.
- Anti-discrimination: Please indicate whether your organization has anti-discrimination practices or policies.
- Staff - Please include a staff list identifying the organization's leaders and the experience they bring to the organization.
- Board of Directors - Please include a list of the Board of Directors, their affiliations, and their terms.
Letters of Support:
- Please include letters of support from at least two (but not more than four) community members and institutions outlining their support for, knowledge of, and role in your project. These letters should not be from individuals who are paid or unpaid staff, contractors, or Board members of the organization.
- If you are actively collaborating with another organization as part of your proposed project, please include a letter from that organization describing their role in the project.
- Please ensure that the letters are signed and, when appropriate, on letterhead. Only letters submitted as a part of the proposal will be considered in the review of your proposal.
The following budget attachments must be submitted as pdfs:
- Organizational Budgets – For the previous year and for the current year. For the previous year, please submit your actual budget expense and revenue detail from the most recently completed year. For the current year, please submit a projected, board approved organizational budget that includes expense and revenue detail, revenue sources, and amounts. If your organization is a very large institution, you may submit departmental information instead.
- Project Budget – Please provide a complete budget for your proposed project, including expense and revenue detail, also include revenue sources, amounts, and what is secured and what is pending. Include a detailed line item allocation showing how a Musser Fund grant would be used.
- Balance Sheet – Please provide your organization's balance sheet from the most recent completed year. If your organization does not create a balance sheet, please upload your organization's most recent 990 tax form.
- If your organization has a written anti-discrimination policy, please provide it.
IRS Status or Local Unit of Government Letter:
- Please include a copy of your 501(c)(3) letter, or if you are a unit of local government, please provide a detailed letter of endorsement for the project on agency letterhead, signed by the lead officer of your unit of government, indicating awareness of and support for this proposed program.
Limited additional information you feel would be helpful in reviewing your proposal may also be attached. If you are attaching a supporting document, please explain why you have chosen to include it in your application.