Dubchansky Foundation: Should You Pursue their Grants?
The Dubchansky Foundation is a grassroots, California-based foundation that focuses giving on basic and emergency aid, economic development, and education. With a variety of focus areas, the Dubchansky Foundation might be a good fit for your nonprofit organization.
But before applying for one of their grants, it’s important to understand the foundation’s funding patterns and evaluate whether there is a chance for a high return on investment for this opportunity.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the Dubchansky Foundation’s mission, learn a 3-step framework to evaluate its grantmaking priorities, and discover useful funding insights.
As you progress through this article, you will be asked to score yourself and your organization based on defined scoring criteria. By the end, you will have a funder score that will reflect your fit to the Dubchansky Foundation.
If you determine the foundation is a good fit, we will provide you with some next steps to help you prepare a strong grant proposal. And if not—don’t worry! We will share other foundations with you that may be a better fit.
Dubchansky Foundation: Mission and Background
The Dubchansky Foundation is a grassroots foundation based in Newport Beach, California. Since its founding, they have awarded 58 grants to 24 organizations, totaling $1,323,472 in funding.
The Foundation doesn’t have a website—but don’t worry! Instrumentl can help us gain insight into their giving trends and focus areas so we can determine if your project is a good fit.
According to Instrumentl’s 990 breakdown, the Dubchansky Foundation primarily focuses its giving on education, food/agriculture/nutrition, and philanthropy.
If your project doesn’t fall within these 3 focus categories, don’t panic! The foundation has also supported projects related to healthcare, housing, and the arts. We will dive deeper into these NTEE Code breakdowns later on in the article.
Criterion #1: Add a score in the range of 1-3 to indicate how closely your nonprofit's mission aligns with Dubchansky Foundation.
Add this when there is little to no understanding of the alignment between you and Dubchansky Foundation.
Add this when there is a distant alignment between you and Dubchansky Foundation - e.g. Foundation supports a broader funding category.
Add this where there is an evident close alignment between you and Dubchansky Foundation.
Dubchansky Foundation: How to Apply and Active Grants
Currently, the Dubchansky Foundation offers grants by invitation only. The Foundation firmly states that unsolicited requests for funds are not accepted. So, what does this mean? It means that to be considered for funding by this Foundation, you need to catch the attention of someone on the Foundation’s team who can act as your reference.
To do this, you could consider networking with the foundation’s staff, inviting them to your community events, or even sending them a letter in the mail. You could also invest some time in enhancing the visibility of your nonprofit’s work with media or publicity to catch the attention of the decision-makers at the foundation.
Either way, getting an invitation to apply for funding is going to be time-intensive. So before you make that investment, let us help you determine if it is worth the effort!
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You can discover whether you and the Dubchansky Foundation are a match by looking at some data in the organization’s 990. However, 990 forms can be overwhelming and unappealing if you aren’t familiar with how to read them.
Here’s the good news—Instrumentl can help! Instrumentl analyzes and breaks down 990 data into digestible, bite-sized pieces, making it super easy for you to analyze valuable funder insights to determine if your project is a good fit.
Here are the 3 key things that Instrumentl’s 990 tool can show you to help you figure out if applying to the Dubchansky Foundation is worth your time.
#1: General Giving Trends
First, let’s take a look at the foundation’s giving trends over the last few years. Past giving is the best indicator of future giving!
Instrumentl pulls the funder’s key financial stats from the 990 forms and displays them in super intuitive bar graphs.
As shown in the graph above, the Dubchansky Foundation’s total giving trends have fluctuated a bit over the last several years. Overall, there was a 4% decrease in total giving from 2017 to 2019.
Criterion #2: Deduct 0.5 points from your funder score to reflect the Dubchansky Foundation’s negative giving trend for the last 3 years.
Add this since the Dubchansky Foundation has had a decreasing giving trend for the last 3 years.
Looking at total giving trends is helpful, but let’s dig even deeper and take a look at the number of grants awarded.
The chart below shows a drop in the number of grants awarded from 2017 to 2018, followed by an increase from 2018 to 2019. Initially, this seems like good news—but remember that the number of grants needs to be considered in relation to the total giving trend.
Since total giving is decreasing overall, an increase in the number of grants means that grant award amounts are also decreasing.
Let’s keep digging. We can layer in the information we’ve learned about total giving and number of grants with even more relevant data: giving averages. The graph below shows giving averages for the Dubchansky Foundation. This is helpful in determining if the average grant amount awarded is in alignment with your project’s needs.
As you can see, the Dubchansky Foundation's average giving has also fluctuated significantly over the years. Overall, the Foundation’s average giving has decreased by approximately 2% since 2017.
Criterion #3: Deduct 1 point from your funder score to reflect the decrease in the average grant amount given by Dubchansky Foundation for the past 3 years.
Add this when the average grant amount awarded by Dubchansky Foundation has decreased for the past 3 years.
#2: Funding by NTEE Codes
The information we learned above is promising—but it doesn’t tell us how the foundation may allocate funds for projects similar to yours. Here’s how we can learn that information.
As stated above, the Dubchansky Foundation focuses its giving primarily on education, food/agriculture/nutrition, and philanthropy/volunteerism/grantmaking foundations. As you can see in the NTEE Code Details table below, the average grant amount ranges significantly between categories, meaning that the foundation splits its budget unequally between these programs and the subtopics within them.
The only place you will find this valuable information is by using Instrumentl’s 990 tool!
As you can see below, the Foundation supports a variety of categories. However, the NTEE code that receives the highest amount of funding is Education. The NTEE code that receives the lowest amount of funding is Arts, Cultures & Humanities with only $10,000 in funding.
This information can help you evaluate whether or not your project falls into any of the categories that the foundation typically funds, how many grants were awarded per category, and what the average grant amount is for each category. This information can help you determine if your project is a good fit and if the potential award is worth investing your time and energy.
For example, the table above shows that the average grant award for “Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations” is $250. However, 5 of the 7 subcategories have average grant awards that are significantly higher—ranging from $5,000 to $25,000! This indicates that if your project falls into one of those subcategories, you could be awarded much more than the $250 average.
Criterion #4: Add a score in the range of 0-2 to your funder score to indicate whether the Dubchansky Foundation’s funding for your niche is what you desire.
Add this when Dubchansky Foundation's funding for your niche lies below your desired amount.
Add this when Dubchansky Foundation's funding for your niche is around your desired amount.
Add this when Dubchansky Foundation's funding for your niche is greater than your desired amount.
#3: Openness to New Grantees & Average Grant Amounts
It’s important to look at the percentage of new versus repeat grantees when you are assessing funder fit. While there’s no perfect number, a 40%-60% ratio of new grantees is a good indicator that the funder is open to supporting new projects.
The Dubchansky Foundation’s percentages have varied over the last 3 years. In 2017, 26% of grantees were new, with that percentage growing to 35.7% in 2019. This is promising! But it’s also important to look at the average grant award for new versus repeat grantees.
The table above shows that $14,000 was the average grant award amount for new grantees in 2019. For repeat grantees, the average award was much higher: $27,750.
The max award amount also differs significantly between new and repeat grantees. For new grantees, the max award was $25,000, while for repeat grantees, it was $100,000. Quite a difference!
Criterion #5: If you are a new grantee, add Dubchansky Foundation’s proportion of giving to new grantees to your funder score.
If you are a repeat grantee, add Dubchansky Foundation’s proportion of giving to repeat grantees to your funder score.
Remember—these numbers are based off percentages for the past three years.
Add this when you are a new grantee for Dubchansky Foundation.
Add this when you are a repeat grantee for Dubchansky Foundation.
#4: [Bonus Tip] Geographic Distribution of Past Grantees
This tip is a bonus tip—while we do score it, it is only one of a number of factors to consider.
Many funders are prone to funding certain states or geographic regions over others.
As you can see using Instrumnelt’s 990 tool, the Dubchansky Foundation’s giving is heavily focused in California, with 32 awards over the last 6 years.
New Mexico, Oregon, Illinois, and Virginia are well-represented with award numbers ranging from 4 to 9.
Colorado, Michigan, and Florida are sparsely represented, with only 1 grant award each.
Many states, which you can see below, are not historically represented at all. These are shaded in white and include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York, among many others.
Please remember—location is only one of the many variables that should be considered when evaluating funders.
Criterion #6: Add a score in the range of 0-3 to your funder score to indicate whether or not your organization’s state has been historically represented.
Add this when your state isn't historically represented - shaded in white - among past grantees.
Add this when your state is sparsely represented - shaded in light purple - among past grantees.
Add this when your state is represented more heavily - shaded in darker purple - among past grantees.
Add this when your state is represented most heavily - shaded in darkest purple - among past grantees.
The Dubchansky Foundation: Key People and Past Grantees
By now, you should feel confident about whether or not the Dubchansky Foundation and your nonprofit are a good fit. If the answer is “yes”, you’re probably wondering— “what next”?
Here are two action items for you:
#1: Get in Touch with Dubchansky’s Key People & Past Grantees
As mentioned before, Dubchansky’s grant-giving is invitation-only. This means that if you have confirmed that you are a good fit for their grant programs, you need to start networking with their key staff to build relationships and get on their radar.
You need to make sure that the people you get in touch with are relevant to the program you want to apply to, and are influential enough to get your application some attention.
Instrumentl’s “Key People” report includes Dubchansky’s employees with these two attributes.
From this list, you can determine who to contact first.
Your outreach strategy is also important to think about. You might decide to invite an employee to a community event, offer to meet them for coffee and a chat, or send them a personalized letter in the mail.
No matter what your approach is, now you have the right people at your fingertips!
#2: Contact Dubchansky’s Past Grantees
No one is better qualified to give you advice about how to get the attention of the decision-makers at the Dubchansky Foundation than their prior grantees.
Using Instrumentl’s past grantees feature, you can identify 5-8 past grantees who have been awarded an amount in your ideal grant range and contact them for their advice and insights.
Best case scenario—you’ll get some great advice on crafting a successful proposal to get funding support from the Dubchansky Foundation.
Foundations Similar to the Dubchansky Foundation
If the Dubchansky Foundation is not a good fit for you, don’t be frustrated! It’s good that you figured it out now before you spent a lot of time and energy conducting outreach and crafting a grant application.
Here is a list of other grantmaking foundations that are similar to Dubchansky but might be a better fit for your projects:
The Powers Family Foundation
Burch Family Foundation
Vance Family Foundation
Herbert & Noemi Frank Family Foundation
MFK Charitable Foundation
Shana Glassman Foundation
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Wrapping Up: Next Steps to Take from Here
The Dubchansky Foundation has made significant philanthropic contributions to a diverse array of projects since their founding in 2012. But are they a good fit for your organization?
To make a determination, add up all your scores from throughout this article. Use the following scoring breakdown to make your final conclusion about funder fit. Be sure to round your cumulative score to the nearest 10th.
Great fit: 8.5 - 11
Good fit: 3.8 - 7.8
Bad fit: <= 0.8
Instrumentl’s 990 tool will help you break down funder data to determine if you are a good fit. It will also provide you with a ton of useful insights, such as funding priorities by NTEE codes, openness to new grantees, and geographic giving trends. This information will help you determine if investing your time and energy will likely yield a high return or not.
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