What is the Employment and Educational Opportunity Fund?
Small, but essential costs—a bus pass, books for a class, tools for an apprenticeship, day care for a parent in school, a decent suit for an interview—can make the difference between being able to prepare for and land a job or remain unemployed.
The Employment and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) provides modest, highly flexible support to cover essential educational or employment related expenses of homeless or formerly homeless individuals. Organizations have used EOF funds to pay for expenses such as:
- Day care
- Certificate/Licensing fees
Who is eligible?
Connecticut nonprofit providers who work with individuals who are experiencing homelessness or were formerly homeless.
How much is each grant?
The maximum grant is $7,500 and we award 10-12 grants each year. We accept applications annually each fall. Applications for 2016 are due on November 18.
Why do you give these small grants when homelessness is such a big problem?
If your car breaks down or you can’t afford child care, finding and keeping a job or going to school each day becomes a sisyphean task.
The EOF provides direct support to cover one time expenses is significantly different from most of our other grantmaking which is overwhelmingly focused on systemic change to end homelessness. We are grateful to the activists and providers who inspired this fund with their repeated stories of how hard it was for them to obtain these relatively small sums of money and the impact of a small investment.
Since we launched the fund in 1994, more than 100 EOF grants have been awarded to over 40 community organizations in Connecticut, totaling over $950,000.
We don’t tell our grantee partners how to spend the funds as long as they meet the criteria below. The uses have been creative, diverse, and cost-effective, serving adults and youth. The decision-making structures created to determine grant recipients at each organization have been equally inventive, from mini grant proposals to peer review processes. Those groups that have broadly advertised and removed barriers to accessing funds, emphasized accountability, and offer staff support and follow-up typically have the most success.
How can EOF funds be used?
- Must finance an individual’s employment related, educational or training expenses.
- Should be used to fill in gaps not provided by other assistance programs.
- May be applied to any related cost that could keep someone from realizing his/her/their employment or educational pursuits.
- Cannot be used to cover any of the sponsoring organization’s administrative or programmatic costs.
Agencies already providing services to those experiencing homelessness or those recently exiting homelessness in Connecticut may apply. We require a brief application:
- A narrative proposal describing how the funds will be used (no longer than two pages)
- Organization’s budget
- Most recent audited financial statement
- Proof of tax exempt status
We will announce our grantees in December, 2016.