Sometimes, talking to someone face-to-face works best when you're gathering info about nonprofit management and fundraising. It's (usually) faster, and you can ask followup questions. But where else can you access Foundation Center expertise, besides our regional offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC?

Find out now! Enter your ZIP code, city, or state into our Find Us map. Our Funding Information Network has 487 partners -- libraries, nonprofit centers, community foundations -- that provide access to Foundation Center resources for their communities, for free. These include access to our subscription databases like Foundation Directory Online, our most popular titles, and classes on nonprofit grantseeking, fundraising, and management. Most partners are in the U.S., but we also have members in more than 10 other countries.

Last week, 210 of those organizations -- more than 250 representatives in all, including some from Nigeria and Sri Lanka -- came together physically and virtually at Network Days, Foundation Center's annual get-together to learn from each other about how to better connect nonprofits with the resources they need to thrive. Besides learning about new products and services like Foundation Maps, they sought advice on how to better promote their services, engage their colleagues, facilitate events, and raise funds for their programs -- all reported as challenges they face. Sound familiar?

Funding Information Network partners bring this info back to their own communities to share and use. Since many of them are public agencies or nonprofits themselves, they are in that rare position where they can preach what they practice, and vice versa, so the info that they share with you is probably based on first-hand experience, not untested theory.

Besides providing free access to Foundation Center resources, they all have to offer a public workshop for nonprofits at least twice per year. Some partners, like Las Vegas-Clark County Library or Free Library of Philadelphia, offer classes almost monthly, if not more often, on a wide range of nonprofit-related topics, like crowdfunding and board development. (You'll soon be able to see some of them on our own calendar.) Many partners ' websites are rich in content, linking to local and virtual resources for nonprofits.

Our partners aren't just in large cities, either. One of the conference's most popular presenters came from St. Cloud, MN (population 66,297): Susan Lorenz of Central Minnesota Community Foundation, who talked about securing financial support for being part of the Funding Information Network. (Again, does this sound familiar?) While some states have multiple partners, every U.S. state has at least one. (To start one in your community, explore our Funding Information Network web area.)

That info is having impact, based on the stories shared about positive testimonials from patrons, city officials, and local funders. One was about a taxi driver who said that Foundation Center resources changed his life.

So, to our Funding Information Network partners: We at Foundation Center salute and thank you for being there to serve the dreamers and doers where you live.

To the rest of y'all: Visit a Funding Information Network partner nearest you. Find it now. You just might discover a hidden treasure that was in your backyard all along.

-- Sandy Pon

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