Walter E. Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River is home to the only Foundation Directory Online (FDO) between Stevens Point and Marquette, Mich., which means local nonprofit organizations can save hours of driving time when they need to research foundations for grant applications.

The FDO is a huge database of private and corporate foundations as well as grants available through government agencies. While other subscription databases are available, none have the scope and depth of the FDO or inside looks at the grants that are actually made. However, all this comes at a price. The basic subscription is currently $1,499 per year. 

In 2017, when the library first acquired the FDO, the cost was underwritten by a group of local nonprofit organizations which contributed $100 each to the purchase, including Headwaters Council for the Performing Arts, Trees For Tomorrow, Eagle River Historical Society, Eagle River Revitalization Program, Eagle River Rotary Club and Vilas County Economic Development Corp. 

Nonprofit organizations also assisted in the purchase in 2018. There is no cost to anyone who requests to use the online software on a library workstation. 

The library has worked to spread the word about this nonprofit asset in the Eagle River community. Librarian Nan Andrews pointed out that a larger group of funding entities would reduce the cost to each supporting group. 

Beginning this season, each person coming to the library to use the directory will be asked to complete a registration giving the name and contact information of their nonprofit organization. 

When the subscription comes up for renewal next year, each group will be asked to make a contribution to the subscription to keep the FDO here in Eagle River. Donation status will have no effect on using the system and no one will be denied access on that basis.

Given the size of communities in the area, funding from large foundations and corporations is critical to the work of many of the nonprofit and charitable groups that provide benefits and services to people across Vilas County. Local access to the FDO opens an enormous range of potential grantors.

To try the system or for more information, contact Olson Memorial Library at (715) 479-8070 or director@olsonlibrary.org.