The Columbus Foundation has set aside a $200,000 fund that will be available to nonprofits who present innovative ideas for reshaping themselves amid the economic downturn. According to the Foundation’s Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management, Lisa Courtice, the fund has been created in response to the recent growing consensus among nonprofits that new business models, revenue growth plans, partnerships and mergers will be key to survival and growth.

Typical reactions by nonprofits to the economic downturn have included reduced budgets and increased fundraising. However, approaches like those the Foundation’s fund supports are gaining momentum as nonprofits fear their initial reactions to the downturn are not likely to yield long-term solutions to financial problems while keeping intact the missions of the nonprofits. According to Courtice, the Foundation is encouraging applicants for funding to come up with ideas to improve for the long haul.

The Foundation sees the fund as “a great opportunity for nonprofits to think outside the box.” The Foundation will judge funding applications competitively, and grants could range from $20,000 to $50,000. Rather than encouraging any particular type of idea or approach, the Foundation expects that ideas will be creative and will draw on best practices used by other nonprofits. The fund is intended to act as an incentive.