Fifteen years in a blink. 2018 marked TGP’s 15th year in business and got me reminiscing about our amazing journey. Sixteen years ago, I was new to Albuquerque and didn’t know where to start. I took a temp job at a well-respected local nonprofit where I was nurtured professionally and began to learn the community. When my assignment ended, both the nonprofit and I wanted to find a way to continue working together, and the way it made the most sense was for me to assist on a contract basis with resource development. I bought Grant Writing for Dummies and taught myself grant seeking. Erin, my sister who was in grad school at UNM at the time, kindly edited drafts and helped with language as I crafted my first grants. That was in 2002. In 2003, Erin and I recognized this could be something really good. We formed a partnership and officially began pursuing grant consulting. Our one client began referring other nonprofits to us, saying, “You should try these sisters.”We mailed out one piece of collateral to a list of about 40 nonprofits, and that’s where our story began.
In 2007, we added our first business manager, a role now adeptly filled by Paula, who has been with us since 2010. In 2008, we knew we either needed to start saying no to additional work or hire more writers. We decided to take the leap from owning a job to owning a small business, and we hired Aly and Wendy. Here we are now in 2019, with a team of 12. Rounding out the TGP family are Jenny (2012), Cecily (2015), Melissa (2016), Robert (2016, for The Grants Collective), and in 2018 we hired Caitlin, Mary Kate, and Deanna. And we’re hiring again! Please pass along our job postings to your network.
While we look ahead to what our team and future holds in 2019, it’s also rewarding to look back at the year we just had and the inspiring clients we love to support. Here are some highlights from 2018…
Planting Seeds that Grow… and counting. As of December, we had written proposals in 2018 that were awarded $25,195,648 (and 34 cents, we track every penny). This number represents notifications we had received as of the end of the year. It takes 4-6 months into the following year to close out all the grant requests. We look forward to reporting on this in mid-2019.
Federal Award Season. We had a record year with federal awards, with notifications streaming in during September and early October at the beginning of the new federal fiscal year. In the span of only about two weeks, we learned of approximately $14 million in funded projects. Some of these included:
Presbyterian Healthcare Services received a 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. The project, Healthy Here, will reduce health disparities among Hispanic and Native American populations living in three high-poverty urban and peri-urban areas in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.
NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN) received a 3-year National Dissemination Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand educational opportunities for underserved students by developing and disseminating information and best practices in accessing, planning, and funding facilities for charter schools. The project focuses on schools serving Native American and other historically marginalized communities in rural, tribal, and other under-resourced areas. NISN also received a 4-year Native Community Youth Project grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish schools in northwest New Mexico that provide culturally-relevant college-preparatory programs and rigorous academics in areas that serve significant Indian student populations. NISN establishes schools that reflect the needs of tribal communities. This grant will help NISN create educational choice by expanding the NISN network, support college and career readiness in network schools, create an Indigenous educator pipeline, develop a model for developing tribal grant schools, and work toward tribal school authorization.
The 2ndJudicial District Attorney of Bernalillo County received several awards from the U.S. Department of Justice. These included a 3-year grant for the Albuquerque International District Community-Based Crime Reduction Plan. The project will include enforcement, focused on hot spot policing and violent crime reduction; smart prosecution, focused on data-driven case decisions; place-based crime prevention, based on community mobilization, group violence intervention, and environmental design; and community development and social service supports, focused on health, housing, substance abuse, and economic opportunity. Another grant was the Bureau of Justice Affairs National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, for which the D.A.’s Office received a 3-year grant to scale its capacity to process SAEK backlogs. It will establish a formal Sexual Assault Cold Case unit in order to bring justice to the victims of sexual assault in our district and prosecute approximately 300 of the estimated 585 viable cases. Rounding out their awards, the D.A.’s Office was awarded a 2-year grant for Technology Innovation for Public Safety. This grant will support the development of the Criminal Data Hub, an automated consolidated query of multiple datasets generating a comprehensive criminal history for each offender.
Nusenda Credit Union, a certified Community Development Financial Institution and Low Income Credit Union, received a 1-year grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs. With an SBA PRIME grant, Nusenda will provide capacity support and technical assistance for seven partner Microenterprise Development Organizations for its Co-op Capital community lending program, resulting in an estimated $250,000 in accessible, affordable microloans for approximately 65 disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs.
The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority received a 3-year grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to rehabilitate the homes of low-income, disabled veterans. The project, Home4Vets, will rehabilitate and/or modify an estimated 90 primary residences for eligible veterans statewide, at no cost to them.
These notifications all came within a week or two – you can imagine the celebrations and hurrahs around the office.
We’re Published! In 2018, Erin and I became published authors. We submitted a manuscript to the 2018 Grant Professionals Association (GPA) Journal, an annual peer-reviewed publication. Our article is called Increasing Capacity for Grant Professionals to Impact Economic and Community Development. In it, we assert that grant professionals have an imperative to use their profession to maximize the impact grants can have in their locales. This imperative is particularly important in the ten “philanthropic divide” states (including New Mexico), which have the fewest private foundation assets, indicating a scarcity of resources. In these states, grants can be used as an economic development driver. Our article provides a case study of the establishment and first two years of The Grants Collective, our non-profit education arm dedicated to growing grant seeking capacity. By nurturing local talent and coordinating collaborative grant seeking to boost social and economic vitality, the Collective’s goal is to develop a pool of talented grant professionals who can secure funding from outside of the state.
Our Capacity-Building Work. Speaking of the Collective, 2018 saw the completion of two Talent Academy fellowship cohorts bringing our total to 27 professionals trained in high-performance grant seeking. In two short years, our first two cohorts already represent 17 organizations whose fellows have collectively secured more than $6.85 million, of which some $5.4 million came from funding sources outside of the state; we will begin tracking our third cohort’s success in 2019. We have also surpassed 120 members in our Cooperative Network of Nonprofits (our version of a local chapter of the Grant Professionals Association), a network of active grant seekers, grant makers, and community partners. We hosted 15 Brown Bag Luncheons on grantwriting and related activities, including special guests from the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers, local funders such as the Nusenda Foundation and Albuquerque Community Foundation, subject matter experts from Project ECHO and Central NM Community College, and other capacity builders such as Pivot Evaluation and New Mexico Thrives. We also deepened our partnership with our fiscally-sponsored project, Grow New Mexico. An important part of our team this year has been collaborating with Terry Brunner on his important work to develop projects to be grant-ready and provide expertise on financing grant/loan/investment packages.
Warm Fuzzies.We love feeling the love! Thank you to our many clients and partners who let us share in their heartfelt work, and still somehow find the time to acknowledge our contribution that goes into securing grants. We keep an online log of them so that we can celebrate each other (and keep us going on those few hard days). Here are some of our favorites from 2018.
I’m going to “keep score” so that somehow we can repay TGP fully someday. You all are such valued partners because of your skill, knowledge, work ethic, compassion, commitment to community, and love. THANK YOU! — Susannah Burke, PB&J Family Services
Just wanted to send a quick thank you to all of you for all of your work and the incredible level of support (and patience) you provided throughout the grant writing process for Three Sisters Kitchen. I learned so much from you all and am so appreciative of how much you have poured into our vision. I hope to see you all soon but just wanted to write today to express my deep gratitude. — Anzia Bennett, Three Sisters Kitchen
I am a fellow GPA member and recently read your article in the GPA Journal talking about increasing capacity for grant professionals. I just wanted to let you know how much I sincerely enjoyed it. Your community and state are lucky to have you both working tirelessly to make your local area a better place! Your thoughts and case study have started turning my wheels a bit. I recently relocated to rural Iowa. Though Iowa is not listed in the bottom 10 states with the fewest assets, resources can often be scarce in our rural community. As I become more involved in the local nonprofit and government scene, I look forward to seeing how I can contribute to my community as a grant writer. Thank you again – your work and impact are an inspiration! — Jodi Korth, Mason, IA
It is our privilege to work with our many community partners around Albuquerque, the state, and now in other parts of the country. We look forward to entering our 16th year of providing superior and affordable resource development services that assist not-for-profit organizations to better the quality of life for their communities.
Contact: Tara Gohr, President & CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
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