Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ):
Why does CNAMF award grants?
Cook Native American Ministries Foundation provides seed money grants to continue the vision of Rev. Charles H. Cook, CNAM’s founder, who served as a missionary in the Southwest more than 102 years ago. Cook was persuaded that Native People possessed a vibrant culture, hospitable to Christianity, with many individuals who were gifted for leadership and effective at spreading the Christian message. Cook’s passion and legacy was in equipping Native Americans for leadership in church and society.
Where does the grant monies come from?
CNAM sold its valuable school property in Tempe Arizona in July 2014. This fourteen acre urban campus was considered sacred land because it was used so effectively for ministry with Native People. Because the land was sacred, the proceeds of the sale are vigorously protected: only the endowed earnings of land sale’s investments and donor-restricted gifts will be used for making grants. We believe that CNAMF must generate philanthropic support for its own internal operations today. Rather than rely on our endowment to sustain ourselves, we are committed to growing more Native American leaders by sharing our abundance in strategic relationships with other charities.
What is the CNAMF Endowment?
It is a permanent fund, consisting primarily of estate gifts, the proceeds of the Cook School campus sale and donor restricted gifts. The endowment is conservatively invested for growth and income. The assets of the fund are set aside and invested so that only the interest and dividends on the principal may be used for funding grants. The endowment grows through careful investing and appreciation of capital. It also grows through gifts and bequests.
Who makes grant decisions?
The board of directors of Cook Native American Ministries Foundation establishes outcome and limitations policies to guide the decisions of CNAMF’s staff. The Executive Director is accountable to the Board of Directors for all program efforts, including grants programs and grant award decisions. To accomplish these responsibilities, the Executive Director is assisted by a staff, primarily through the office administrators, who provide for day-to-day activities. Ultimately, the Board of Directors makes all grant decisions.
What is the process for making grant decisions?
Concept Papers received are diligently reviewed through a process directed by the office of the Executive Director. As part of the review process, clarification and amplification of Concept Papers is usually requested. In addition, a full grant proposal (when requested by CNAMF) is circulated to a variety of resource people for the purpose of receiving input regarding the viability of the proposal as well as the capacity and credibility of the sponsoring organization. These resource people include various members of the Native American community, as well as other volunteers from around the United States who have specific expertise in various aspects of Native American Leadership.
Based on information provided in the Concept Paper, all requests are assessed and a gradual process of prioritization occurs. Those Concept Papers approved by the Grants Committee will be invited to submit a full proposal. The number of grants awarded is based on funds available.
Several important questions are addressed during the consideration process. These questions include:
- Does the Concept Paper meet the criteria stated in the grant guidelines?
- Does the project present a particularly unique or interesting opportunity in terms of the issue it addresses, the population it serves, or the solutions it offers?
- Will a grant for this project help CNAMF further its mission and pursue its current priorities and interests, including major strategic initiatives and components, geographic diversity, congregation and church body involvement, and fostering important partnerships and relationships?
Are the best proposals always selected?
It is our goal that every request receives fair consideration and that wise decisions are made. However, since many more requests are expected than funds are available, and since multiple factors are involved in the decision process, many fine Concept Papers will not result in grant awards. In fact, due to these factors, it is sometimes difficult to identify one specific reason why a particular Concept Papers is chosen over another. However, taken as a whole, we believe that our commitment to a process that involves due diligence, discernment and prayer, results in God-pleasing choices from among many outstanding options.
How does CNAMF monitor the progress of projects that it helps seed?
When a grant is awarded, a grantee/grantor agreement is signed; and a schedule of regular reports is developed. A final evaluation report is required within one year of the last CNAMF payment of the grant or at end of the project, whichever comes first.
In addition to written reports, the CNAMF Board of Directors and staff, strives to visit grant sites during the term of the Grantee. Friends and supporters of CNAMF are also encouraged to visit project sites.
When CNAMF began awarding grants in 2015, what were some of the overall goals?
CNAMF’s goal in 2015 was to implement an estate gifts program to result in wills, and planned gifts to meet our future endowment goals.
Our desire is to become established as a Native American Foundation in the philanthropic community. Our short term goal is to create an effective social media tool that will enhance funding via annual appeals and giving campaigns, and major gifts.
In five years, CNAMF will position itself so it meets the giving desires of its current and potential donors.
The CNAMF Board reserves the right to decline any funding request. CNAMF does not give legal advice.