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PARSA Community Foundation Announces 2010 Mehrgan Grant Cycle

Source: PARSA Community Foundation

PARSA's New Grant Opportunities: Request for Proposals

Last year saw unprecedented activity on the part of Iranian nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.  At PARSA Community Foundation, we have been thinking hard about how we can support these valiant efforts to develop civil society and encourage civic engagement in our adopted home, fight defamation and tell our own story, nurture emerging community leaders, create understanding and build bridges to other cultures, and promote and advance Persian arts.

We have decided to make larger grants and make them sooner than later. This will mean a spend down of PARSA CF's endowment in the form of a big give, in the hopes that the programs we fund will make exponential and lasting impact on Iranian society and at large.  So here is a call to action for all of the change makers and aspiring change makers out there:

What does the Iranian community need right NOW?

Answering this question thoughtfully get us 10% of the way towards a better future.  Gearing up to implement the solutions professionally and then dedicating ourselves to their successful execution will be the key game changers, and will determine whether we're serious enough to turn the tide our way.

PARSA Community Foundation is your community foundation.  It's putting up every bit of capital it has developed over the past five years to help you create the most good for the most number of people and to make Iranians a recognized force for good in America and around the world.

The challenge of proving that the available funds can be spent frugally with maximum efficacy and long term impact is now yours. Mehrgan 2010 Grant Cycle is underway today and PARSA CF seeks your Letters of Inquiry as soon as possible.  Once the LOIs are vetted and accepted, invitations for grant applications will be sent and incoming applications reviewed by PARSA CF's independent Grant Advisory Committee.

As this is the largest competitive and democratic grant making event in Persian history, in addition to subject experts, we are inviting all PARSA CF stakeholders including grantees, volunteers and donors to serve on the GAC.  The highest ranking applications will go through a review and consultation step before final parameters are determined and grants are awarded by the Board of Directors.

Who, What and When

We would like to invite all nonprofits that support Persian causes or meet the needs of Iranian or Persian-speaking people to apply for grants. These nonprofits may include, without limitation, universities, museums, community centers, student groups, environmental groups, documentary filmmakers, and more.  The organization applying can be Persian or not, as long as the cause is Persian.  As always, applicants are required to have 501(c)(3) public charity status.

Due to the generosity of PARSA CF donors, we have expanded qualifying causes to include humanitarian work, environmental conservation, programs serving women, recovery from addictions, fellowships and scholarships and endowments at universities and much more.  While previous general grants provide a glimpse into the variety of causes PARSA CF has supported in the past, we ask that you think out of the box and put forward new ideas.  Please review the Frequently Asked Questions to get further clarification on causes and corresponding guidelines.

There are multiple ways of setting up enduring programs at universities:

  • PARSA Scholarship Fund to benefit undergraduate students applying from inside Iran;
  • PARSA Graduate Fellowship Program to provide financial assistance to outstanding graduate students working toward masters or Ph.D. in Persian or Iranian Studies;
  • and, PARSA Iranian Studies Programs.

In all cases, matching funds from host universities, and donor community if available, procured in advance of the application completion deadline are critical for endowment considerations.  PARSA CF will hold a conference call at 10am-11:30am PDT on May 18 to answer any questions regarding university endowment grants.  All questions will be welcomed on this conference call to which all university endowment applicants are invited. Please sign up by May 15.

We encourage museums to apply for capacity grants, such as grants to hire part time or full time curators to promote their existing collections of, and develop public interest in, Persian arts.  These capacity grants would preferably come with matching funds and receive priority over temporary shows and exhibits.  PARSA CF will hold a conference call at 12:30pm-2:00pm PDT on May 18 to answer any questions regarding museum grants.  All questions will be welcomed on this conference call to which all museum applicants are invited. Please sign up by May 15.

Community centers and Persian schools have been key in teaching Persian language to youth and promoting the culture and traditions of Iran.  PARSA CF would be delighted to receive multi-year grant requests with defined and quantifiable objectives that can strengthen ties to Persian heritage.  These nonprofits are less likely to receive funding for single, one-off projects, and are encouraged to consider ongoing programs with growth potential and broad reach.

Student groups have a unique opportunity with this grant cycle to build longer term programs such as Persian Alumni networks, mentoring, lecture series, and leadership development.  Projects with longer term impact are favored over short term and small scale activities.  PARSA CF will hold a conference call at 3:00pm-4:30pm PDT on May 18 to answer any questions regarding student group grants.  All questions will be welcomed on this conference call to which all student group applicants are invited.Please sign up by May 15.

In the past, PARSA CF's grants have ranged from $500 to $50,000, averaging around $10,000.  In the upcoming Mehgran Grant Cycle, PARSA may award grants with no upper limit depending on the organization's demonstrated ability to absorb the funds with efficacy, sustain and grow impact over time, and touch a vast number of people. The table below is a small sampling of suggested programs and amounts we are interested in funding:

Entity Purpose Grant Range
University Endowment for:
  • Scholarships
  • Graduate fellowships
  • Iranian Studies
  • Multi-year curator
  • Training docents
  • School programs
Community Centers/Persian Schools
  • Language lessons and cultural programs for Persians and non-Persians
  • PARSA youth summer Camps
  • PARSA Lecture Series
  • Voter registration programs
Student Groups
  • Alumni programs
  • Mentorship/Professional networking
  • PARSA Lecture Series
  • Anti-defamation
  • Civil rights
  • Documentaries
  • Environmental conservation
  • Women's issues
  • Humanitarian
  • Civic participation
  • Poverty survey and poverty alleviation
  • Supporting emerging artists:  musicians, painters, photographers, calligraphers
  • Bi-lingual elementary education
  • Norooz First Class US Stamp

To apply, please submit a Letter of Inquiry by June 15, 2010, using PARSA's online LOI form.  PARSA CF will notify you if you are invited to submit a full application.  The deadline for application submission is August 15, 2010.

To date, PARSA Community Foundation has made over $1,320,000 in grants to support Iranian philanthropy and Persian causes.  We look forward to working with all of you to substantially increase this number and its enduring impact.

 To learn more about PARSA CF, including 2006-2009 financial statements, please visit our website.

... Payvand News - 05/12/10 ... --

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