Funding for grant work can be found at the Portage Lake District Library

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Dillon Geshel walks a group of interested viewers through using the Foundation Directory Online to locate grants.

HOUGHTON — A key element in applying for grants is knowing what’s out there and the Portage District Library is here to help.

To aid local nonprofits and organizations in locating funding for their projects, the library held a brief workshop on Wednesday. The library has access to Foundation Directory Online, and through the library, patrons have access to it as well.

“The directory is the largest collection of grants and grantmakers in the US,” said library director Dillon Geshel. “It’s a great tool for people who are with non-profits to find grants that might fit their mission.”

The database consists of more than 140,000 foundations, corporations and federal agencies with a history of providing funding. Not all organizations are represented as the grantmakers must submit their information to be included.

However, the Foundation Center is a great place to start searching.

“It’s been used really steadily by our patrons in the past,” said Geshel.

The resource is available to any patron connected to the library’s WiFi, either through their own device or a library computer.

Geshel provided a basic walkthrough of the features and how to best use them. Interestingly, grantseekers search for opportunities by entering the target of their service or elements of their mission.

The advanced search function appears to work best by narrowing down the types of grants. Geshel suggested using multiple techniques to locate content.

Searching for previous recipients, 990 tax forms from prior years, and by grantmakers were suggested methods for digging up more information.

The Foundation Center recommends that applicants be willing to sift through the grants for a good fit, though the process takes time. Instead of focusing on a single grant provider seekers can find more opportunities by branching out. The center also warns against the practice of mass mailing applications as each grantmaker has a different set of forms or process.

As Geshel explains, learning to use the database involves trial and error. However, it’s often worth it.

“We’ve heard from patrons over the years who’ve said they’ve found good grantmakers for their organizations through the directory that they were granted,” Geshel said.