FISA Foundation invites letters of inquiry for programs and services to improve the lives of people with disabilities

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate negative consequences for people with disabilities. From concerns about overall health and the allocation of medical resources, to the availability of home and community-based services, to increased vulnerability to violence and abuse, the impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities, their families, and the organizations that support them is significant and far-reaching. These examples are just a few of the myriad ways that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and highlighted disparities.

We have an imperative to build a more inclusive and equitable society where the rights and needs of people with disabilities are prioritized and people with disabilities are advocates and leaders.

In an effort to be responsive to these changing needs, FISA Foundation is issuing an open call for letters of inquiry for projects and services to advance the rights and address the needs of people with disabilities in a ten-county area of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Priority areas of focus:

  • Improving access to healthcare and dental care for people with disabilities
  • Addressing or preventing abuse and violence against people with disabilities
  • Advancing rights in education, employment, housing, and social inclusion, as well as addressing barriers to accessibility
  • Services and supports that address basic needs and/or allow people with disabilities to remain connected to the richness of the community, even while social distancing
  • Initiatives led by people with disabilities and/or designed to empower people with disabilities to participate in effective advocacy and change-making
  • Intersectional advocacy and movement-building to cultivate cross-disability collaboration and to integrate disability issues into broader justice-seeking work

Special consideration will be given to projects that address the intersection of disability with race and/or gender.

Deadlines:

There will be two opportunities to submit letters of inquiry. The guidelines and parameters for both will be the same (though FISA reserves the right to tweak priorities in response to changing community needs).

FALL 2020:

  • Submit letters of inquiry by July 27, 2020 at noon
  • Notification of decisions about LOI’s and invitations to submit full proposals by August 7, 2020
  • Invited proposals due by August 26, 2020
  • Funding decisions announced October 16, 2020

 

SPRING 2021:  Exact dates will be announced in January

  • Submit letters of inquiry in early February
  • Invitations to submit full proposals by mid-February
  • Invited proposals due by mid March
  • Funding decisions announced mid-May

Types of funding:

Organizations may request funding for:

  • General operating support for programs or services that advance the above-mentioned priorities
  • New and innovative projects or programs
  • Ongoing programs or projects
  • Capacity building initiatives, including technology
  • Advocacy

Eligibility:

Grants will be made to 501(c)(3) organizations, or projects with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, for services provided in the ten-county region of Southwestern PA.

Award Information:

Total funding available for the fall funding cycle is $250,000 with a similar amount released for the spring cycle. We expect the average grant size to be under $25,000. Unfortunately, we are not able to award multi-year funding.

Instructions:

Letters of Inquiry should be 2-3 pages and include a brief overview of the organization, description of the need and the proposed project or program, the expected outcomes of the initiative, the amount of the request and the total budget for the program. Letters should be accompanied by FISA Grant Application form. (You can also find a Word version of the application here.)

Email letters of inquiry to info@fisafoundation.org

Letters of inquiry will be reviewed by a panel of FISA staff and board members.

Criteria will include:

  • Potential of the project to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities
  • Feasibility of the proposed plan (including an option to implement virtually if in-person is not possible due to health recommendations).
  • Cost efficiency

Questions: 

Contact Shani Lasin, Program Officer at shani@fisafoundation.org

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