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American Association of Intellectual Disabilities (AAIDD) 2016 Conference

Last June, I attended the American Association of Intellectual Disabilities (AAIDD) Annual Conference, held in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia is commonly referred to as the "Peach State." Of course I made sure that I took in some southern cuisine ...

2017-September 8

Making every word tell: What we're looking for in our grant submissions

Now that we've wrapped up our second round of grants under our revised process and finished our second grant applicants survey, it's time to take a few minutes to process what we've learned.

2017-August 24

Join the Conversation: An Anti-Stigma Campaign

Just a few days ago, Chuck and I stopped off for a celebration at a downtown Buffalo restaurant.  The celebration toasted almost two years of hard work from a coalition of Erie County-based behavioral health providers, agencies, and funders.   The group had come together to respond to the negative...

2017-August 9

The Tower Foundation is Coming to You!

We're trying something a little bit different (for us, anyway). We're heading out into the community and holding open "office hours" throughout the counties we fund. We'll be in (or around) your neck of the woods...

2017-July 17

Blogging the Grantmakers in Health Conference -- Boston, MA (June 21-23, 2017)

I've gotten in the habit of turning attendance at the Grantmakers in Health (GIH) Conference into a blog post, so here we go for a third installment, this year held in Boston. Notably, the conference was originally scheduled to take place in Charlotte, NC in March.

2017-July 5


Reflections on a Revised Grants Process

The dust has pretty much settled on our first adventure with our revised grantmaking process. With the benefit of some time to reflect, we thought it might be informative to share what we've seen and learned from this first round.

2017-May 12

Guest Blog: Studio Support at Daemen College - Creativity and Neurodiversity

Five years ago, Daemen College added a B.F.A. program in Animation and a B. S. in Applied Theater to its Department of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).  With the increase of students and the addition of a new type of studio practice ...

2017-February 28

Preliminary Capacity Building Survey Findings

For the past couple of years, we at The Tower Foundation have been doing a lot of thinking about capacity building. I'm here to remind you today that amidst all of the other exciting changes going on here (see Don's blog post from a few months back), capacity building is still very much on our radar.

 2016-December 12

Implications of Grantmaking Changes for Grant Applications

Nick Randell, Program Officer, describes what some of the upcoming grantmaking changes mean for grant applicants. He also spends a few minutes answering some of the questions that our grant information session participants asked ...

2016-December 7

Grantee Relationships

Over the past few years, we've been working on being less of a "transactional" grantmaker (i.e., paper-pushers) and more of a "relational" grantmaker (i.e., human beings working with other real people). In this video, Program Officer Chuck ...

2016-November 7

What's the Difference between the Preliminary Request and the Full Proposal?

We've introduced some changes we're making to our grants process and described the grant review process and time line, so we thought we'd go a little deeper into the Core Programs and Services grant applications. In this video, ...
2016-November 20

What to Expect When You Apply for a Tower Foundation Grant

As we've written and talked about before, we have some changes coming to our grant processes in 2017. This video is all about process and time lines. I talk about when the new deadlines will be ...

2016-October 20 

Introduction to the Tower Foundation's Revised Grant Process

As you might recall from our earlier blog post, the Tower Foundation is changing its grantmaking process and deadlines starting in 2017. In this video, Executive Director Tracy Sawicki takes a few minutes to describe some of these changes and the reasons we're making them.

 2016-October 12

Are We Making Effective Grants? [Part 2]

Once again, we wanted to take a look at the somewhat broader impact of our grantmaking.  On our lessons learned forms we also scored grants for impact (whether "significant," "some," or "no impact").  We looked at three kinds of impact ...

2016-August 18

Assessing Program Grants: Key Factors in Program Outcomes [Part 1]

 A few years ago a two-part series took a look at the the performance of Tower grants when measured against specific project goals (Part 1) and at the broader impact of the same grant (Part 2).  It is time to take a look at grants that have closed since that earlier analysis.

2016-August 1

Moving the Cheese

We've been getting a lot of phone calls and emails lately asking when we'll post our 2017 Substance Abuse grant guidelines. This is no surprise, since we usually post those guidelines in June. The short answer is ...

2016-July 14

Roca Brings Outreach Work to Lynn

Don Matteson and I had the recent pleasure of attending the grand opening of Roca's satellite office in Lynn, Massachusetts.  The official ribbon-cutting took place on June 13th, with probably 60 or more community stakeholders (law enforcement, courts, elected officials, funding partners) there to celebrate the event.  The grand opening...

2016-June 17

Blogging the Grantmakers in Health Conference -- San Diego, CA (March 9-11, 2016)

This March, I escaped blustery Buffalo for a few days for the Grantmakers in Health Conference in San Diego. As I did last year when this conference was in Austin, TX, I've put together a summary of selected conference programming, particularly plenary sessions and some of the breakout sessions I attended.

2016-May 5

College Spirit: Tower grantees making campus more welcoming to students with learning and developmental challenges

Over the last couple of years we have seen more colleges and universities ramping up their supports for students with disabilities.  A half dozen or so recent Tower grants have gone towards support of these efforts.  We've already blogged about a couple of them.

2016-March 22

Framing Our Capacity Building Findings (Part 3 of 3)

This post picks up where my last one leaves off, discussing the findings from the foundation's recent capacity building landscape scan.

2016-February 15

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