Pre-Ramble: The quality of writing is only a small part of the complex and collaborative effort that is required to prepare and submit a winning grant proposal. Nonetheless, we grantwriters need to celebrate the “win” when get one!
It is in that spirit that I do a little dance in the end-zone to observe the recent award received by one of my clients for the very competitive Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) federal grant program.
Wooo-hooo! (That’s me doing the Victory Dance.)
The cause for celebration here is not only that the long hard work of the grants team has been rewarded, but also that the initiative for which the funds have been won – in this case, school safety – will actually have an opportunity to be implemented to the benefit of the “target population” – in this case, thousands of school children who sit in classrooms for several hours every day.
Beyond fire drills and the occasional playground fall, many parents never give school safety much thought. Even excluding extreme incidents such as the mass shootings at Columbine High School (1999) or Virginia Tech (2007), emergency situations like tornados, environmental hazards or gang related violence pose a daily potential threat to students, teachers and school staff. (And, FYI – the time to think about and prepare for these situations is not when the skies grow dark or a despondent student shows up with a backpack full of explosives.)
Your tax dollars at work - While specifics on my grant team’s proposed plan are proprietary, a peek behind the scenes will reveal a huge and arduous, but sound and competitive process that is designed to compel entities (like school districts) to address issues that need to be addressed (like a comprehensive proactive plan for student safety) in the most effective and efficient way possible. At the end of the day, the most promising projects receive funding … “promising” meaning that it is strongly likely that the project plan articulated in the proposal will be able to achieve its stated goals on time and on budget … (not as easy as it sounds).
The Take-Away: Most of what goes on in the day-to-day realm of grantwriting is not glamorous (ok, really none of it is… ), but the knowledge that we, tapping away in our little corners of the world, are able to play even a small role in a system that rewards innovative thinking and enables promising initiatives that have the potential to improve our society and the lives of individuals – that right there is something to celebrate!