Grant Writing to Change the World

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.

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Janet is a grant writer, figure skater and endless traveler. She takes any chance she can to help and empower women and to help passionate nonprofits achieve their goals. You can find her on Instagram at @magnoliagrants.