Dedication: Leigh Maneri, 100%! She's the one that had that first conversation with me and got me to do it.
When I was younger, I grew up listening to my dad tell stories about his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. He would always tell me the importance of helping others, and of public service. I always kept that in the back of my mind, hoping to be a public interest lawyer someday. Unfortunately when my time came to start thinking about law school, it was 2008-2009, and we were in the midst of the recession. I wondered, what could I do to help make this world a better place.
My journey took me to working at a domestic violence shelter, joining Alpha Phi Omega and being the VP of Service for my chapter. I went to Utah and worked in financial services after graduate school, but even then I served on a nonprofit board as part of the finance committee. I knew nonprofit organizations were part of my passion, but I was, at that point, still unsure of how I could best contribute.
It finally hit me when I was in Sahara Rose’s class geared toward helping us as a group find our life purpose. I was on the phone with Leigh, a friend and participant in the class, floating a completely different idea about starting a website, and started talking to her about nonprofit consulting and grant writing. She noticed right away that the way I talked about nonprofits and grant writing was totally different from anything else I had previously explored. For me, it wasn’t about making a living, it was about finding my passion, and helping others to tell their story was what I was passionate about. I was overcome with real happiness because I knew grant writing was the way I could help others and the way to merge nonprofit knowledge with business knowledge and help them get the job done. I had finally found my place.
Grant Writing is more than just writing proposals to fund programs. It’s about aligning passions- bringing funders together with nonprofits to build a shared legacy. It’s amazing to work with the organizations I do because I see the passion they have for what they do. Nonprofit jobs are often not high-paying and involve a lot of dedication, long hours and true drive. The people who dedicate their time to this pursuit are true visionaries, and they’re incredibly selfless and altruistic. I love working with nonprofits and telling their stories, because I truly believe they’re doing their part to make this world a better place. This is what excites me, and this is why I write.