Early in the fall semester in Soc 184S, Grant Writing and Evaluation, teams of scholars were formed to partner with a local organization to gain experience in grant writing. In my small team of three we partnered with Friends of Auberry Library (FOAL). This partnership required us as scholars to get to know our organization and review the programs FOAL was looking to fund. We reviewed FOAL’s website and 990 forms. As a grant writer building a relationship is essential and it helps identify potential funders. Essentially, we as scholars played matchmaker. Through an amazing tool on campus, the foundation directory, we could search for foundations starting with key words. As a team, we formed a list of possible funders. FOAL provided us with information on 4 programs they were hoping to implement in the Auberry Library and at their local high school and elementary schools. After doing some research we focused in on 2 programs we felt we could secure funding for. The first program was the first-grade book gift program that was started in 2007 and the second program was a visual arts and art history program. The most nerve wrecking task was making calls to funders. I knew I had to get it right. I reviewed everything over and over until I felt comfortable enough to make calls. An email sounded so much easier, but if we wanted to be efficient calls were the most important part of this process. So many questions ran through my head as the phone rang. How can a student possibly be successful at this? Would they even give me the time of day? Would I be taken seriously? What if I make a mistake? My first call to a local family foundation had me trembling. I was transferred with success and the conversation started. After a few minutes of conversation, I felt confident and my contact seemed interested. She asked that I send her more information. I immediately reached out to the team. I formed a LOI with all the information she needed. The best part of this experience was receiving feedback on what I did right and what I failed to provide. Nonetheless, the foundation still expressed interest in helping fund the book program. When it came to the second program, we knew exactly who we would contact. I had the privilege to meet an amazing advocate for the arts who also had a family foundation. I did not have luck the first time trying to make contact but was extremely happy when I got a call back. I immediately returned the call and the funder expressed interest immediately in the program. After a successful site visit to FOAL the funder was impressed. We kept in contact and after the visit I sent in the grant application. I am happy to say that our team had success in securing funding a total of $2,500! We were beyond happy to hear that our second funder wrote a check for $500 more than what was requested. The executive director of FOAL was of great help through the process and always quick to provide us with information that was needed. On November 6, 2017, we were invited to FOAL’s board meeting to announce our success and talk about our experience. Our goal was to match FOAL with funders who they could establish a long-lasting relationship with, and I feel we were very successful with this.
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