New London - Filling out grant applications can be an arduous task, as any nonprofit group can attest. But finding organizations that offer grants that fit specific needs can be just as difficult.
And for individuals looking for benefactors to help fund an art project or an educational program, just knowing where to begin can seem insurmountable.
But the Public Library of New London is launching a new program that will provide information to assist nonprofits and individuals in searches for grants and applications.
The Cooperating Collection and Non-Profit Resource Center will open June 6 at the library. It is a computer station that links to three databases containing the names of 100,000 grant-makers who give to nonprofits and 10,000 individual foundations and charities that offer money to individuals.
"It's an amazing resource,'' said Library Director Suzanne Maryeski. "It should be a great asset to New London, especially with all the artists we have here."
The library pays a fee for the service but it is free to the nearly 1,700 nonprofits in New London and Windham counties. Individuals will also be able to use the service at no charge.
The Cooperating Collection is part of the Foundation Center, a national organization established in 1956 to link information about philanthropy. It is used by grant-seekers, grant-makers, researchers, policymakers, the media and the general public.
There are 450 centers throughout the United States, including what will be nine in Connecticut. The New London site is the first in southeastern Connecticut. Other locations are in Middletown, Vernon, Hartford, New Haven, Torrington, Westport, Ridgefield and Greenwich.
"There are many nonprofits in southeastern Connecticut that are struggling to make ends meet and fully serve their clients,'' Maryeski said. "There are times when nonprofits have questions about best practices, fundraising and human resources but have no professional resources available.''
The program will offer access to information resources and educational programs; free search tools, tutorials and downloadable reports. The library has also purchased books and periodicals to complement the database. Topics include grant writing, fundraising, how to form a nonprofit, joining a nonprofit board, and accounting, finance, marketing, social media, strategic plan and nonprofit sustainability.
The project was funded locally with grants from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and the Liberty Bank Foundation.
A kick-off breakfast and workshop will be held 8 a.m. June 6 at the library.
Priya Morganstern, director of Pro Bono Partnership of Hartford, will present a workshop on "ABCs of Non-profit Law."
Also at the event, the Pro Bono Partnership will honor Bethsaida Community's Homeless Women Deserve Treatment Project in Norwich, which doubled its capacity to serve homeless women in southeastern Connecticut.