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Generally, inquiry letters are no more than 2 or 3 pages, typed on letterhead, signed by CEO/Board Chair. Always follow the exact guidelines specified by grantmakers.

This is sample inquiry letter.
April 1, 200X

Mr. Grantmaker
Community Help Foundation
100 Main Street
Any-City, Any-State, USA

Re: Letter of Inquiry

Dear Mr. Maker:

Thank you for our recent meeting at the Community-Based Organization Conference where you were kind enough to visit with our staff and take the time to learn about our mission and current projects. We thoroughly enjoyed your visit with us, and sincerely appreciate your thoughtful attention to Neighborhood Improvement Association, Inc. (NIA)

Your interest in NIA is a significant acknowledgment of our successful track record of delivering superior community improvement projects for nearly 15 years.

We are aware that the Community Help Foundation distributes a number of grants for community improvement and development purposes. We wish to apply for one of the Foundation's grants.

NIA has enjoyed a significant growth within the last ten years. Last year, NIA launched five new programs, including a community day care center, computer training center, substance abuse program, and an alternative learning program for high school drop-outs. We delivered a total of $15 million in community improvement projects in one year alone; an outstanding record of achievement. Our staff has doubled in an effort to effectively administer our new programs as well as keep pace with our organization's growing administrative responsibilities.

I am pleased to write to you about a project that I believe will be of interest to the Foundation. The NIA is seeking $550,000 over three years to expand its very successful Tech Ed (Technical Education) program to provide aggressive, hands-on computer training and alternative education programs in our inner-city neighborhoods.

Tech Ed is a highly effective five-year-old academic enrichment program for inner-city junior high and high school students. Formed through a partnership between NIA, the local college and the city's school district, the program currently has a total enrollment of 500 students, and is funded by the school district and matching HUD CD funds which are administered by the city.

The newly expanded PUTER (People Using Tech Ed Resources) outreach program will, utilizing the resources and leadership of Tech Ed students, bring computer skills and knowledge to high school drop-outs, underskilled and unemployed adults, single parents, and other community members lacking the adequate computer skills and educational resources needed to secure and maintain skilled jobs with which to support themselves and their families.

We are seeking support from the Foundation to enable us to develop a pilot PUTER program and demonstrate its soundness and effectiveness to the Tech Ed funders, the city, community development agencies, and local private funding sources for future funding of the long-term program.

We ask for your partnership because of the Foundation's demonstrated interest in alternative education and youth leadership development, especially for those from the underrepresented minority communities.

We critically need funds to launch this sorely needed computer training program, fund the equipment, software, and the resources of two teachers to oversee and assist the volunteer student educators. These equipment and support resources will constructively assist the 2,500 undereducated minority residents to be served by our new community service program. The ethnic composition is approximately 49% Hispanic, 39% African-American, 9% Asian-American, and 2% Other.

NIA has already raised an initial investment of more than $50,000 in absolutely necessary computer equipment toward a computer systems, training and services budget of more than $1 million. We have worked hard to bridge the gap and anticipate receiving grants and donations totaling $300,000 from private sector sources, banks, foundations and private donors.

Despite our general fundraising efforts, our program budget is far from balanced. Cuts in government financing continue, with more expected, especially those affecting our clients with incomes below poverty level.

Undaunted, NIA is an organization committed to excellence, with a clear vision and a passion for delivering outstanding results. We ask you to work with us to capitalize on our growth and these strengths.

Over the years the Foundation has proven the effectiveness of youth leadership development and community-based programs. The Foundation has helped to demonstrate that community outreach programs which are developed and managed by a community for a community make a striking impact. With the partnership of the Foundation, our young Tech Ed leaders will bring vital alternative education and critically-need training skills to their neighbors, family members and peers, and, in so doing, will effect positive change in their own communities.

Tech Ed student teachers will serve as a model outreach volunteer corps and for our inner-city neighborhoods throughout the country. The Tech Ed program has attracted national attention as an innovative prototype for academic enrichment, and has been replicated in at least four major cities already.

The challenge at this stage is to seize the opportunity, to take the risk, to realize an innovative, new, rewarding and productive future. With the strength which has made NIA and the Tech Ed program what it is today, the choice is an easy one -- help our community meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

The need for effective computer training and education cannot be overstated. The technical training requirements of our community are overwhelming and mirror the needs of most other inner-city populations. The PUTER program is ready to be launched as a national model for all inner city community organizations everywhere for building a future, uplifting individuals, creating self-sufficiency.

Thank you for your support and assistance to NIA, and the community residents it serves. We look forward to your consideration of our request and the opportunity to submit a formal proposal for your review. We will be pleased to submit additional information at your request. Please do not hesitate to contact me at (telephone number).


Dolly Do-Good
Executive Director

Attachments: audited financial statement for the fiscal year ending December 31, 200X, IRS 501(c)(3) designation, and 200X annual report.
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