In the nonprofit sector, unpredictability is a fact of life. Over the past four years, our organization—Open Road Alliance—has provided grants to nonprofits that face project disruptions because of unexpected events. Our portfolio includes more than 70 grantees that have required this kind of contingency funding. In working with these groups, we have seen a wide variety of ways in which untoward circumstances can stall or halt a project.

  • In 2012, an NGO that specializes in community-based...

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