New Topic: Getting Grants

Program manager colleagues,

The life blood of many adult basic skills (basic literacy, ESL/ESOL. ABE, ASE, and transition) programs is the grant. This begins a new discussion thread on being effective in getting grants, a process that has many interwoven parts. We'll talk about the parts, one at a time, discussing what -- from your experience -- is most and least effective, and we'll also look at funding sources that you may not have considered, and ones that few of us may yet know about.

I'd like to start by telling you how, when I was an education program manager at a large, community-based program in Boston, everyone -- students, teachers, counselors, program developers, job placement/employer services representatives, intake workers, custodians, everyone in the agency, in the building, and beyond, knew when we got a grant.

The office of the agency's program developer, Chris, was next to the executive director, Fred. A maritime man, Fred had bolted to a wall in his office an impressive brass bell, the kind found on sailing ships and used to announce the hour, and the end of a shift. Chris or Fred would get the news, in those days mostly by letter. When the letter was fat and the news was good -- it often was -- one or the other would ring the bell, long and very loud. Meetings, phone calls, job readiness groups and classes would all pause; new students and guests had puzzled looks; then, from every corner of the agency, there was booming chorus of "Yaaaaay". We didn't know what the grant was for, how much money the agency would get, what we had been committed to do, what meetings we'd have to attend, what reports would need to be filed -- and at that moment we didn't care. We celebrated our collective victory, felt a shared and uplifting sense of accomplishment, and then went back to work with a brighter outlook.

Now, let's hear from you. How do you announce and celebrate at your organization, program or school when you get a grant?

David J. Rosen

Program Management CoP