As anyone who’s worked or volunteered in the non-profit sector understands, one of the most important aspects of any non-profit organization is fundraising. Without a concerted effort to raise and maintain a solid funding base, such organizations will inevitably fail to meet their goals. Although monetary donations from individuals can provide a portion of the required funds, most non-profit organizations focus on another key source of funding—grants.
Corporations, individuals, and government entities support non-profits by allocating money in the form of grants. Because these funds are so critical, grant-writing is an essential skill for individuals who hope to make a difference through non-profit involvement.
The ACT Center, Carleton’s microcosm of the non-profit world, offers students the opportunity to gain leadership skills in several areas, including grant-writing. The ACT Center’s partnership with Minnesota Campus Compact, a coalition of service organizations in Minnesota’s higher education institutions, led to such an opportunity this fall. Minnesota Campus Compact’s Collaborating for Change grant program offered up to $1,000 in funding for student-led social justice initiatives. Two students have recently proven their grant-writing abilities by applying for and receiving funding from the program. Congratulations to Tenzin Nordon ’11 and Shantrice King ’13, recipients of two $1,000 Collaborating for Change grants!
Tenzin Nordon’s grant will help fund a career exploration program for Tibetan youth involved with Lamton, an ACT Center program. Lamton, a word in Tibetan that means guidance, is a tutoring and mentoring program founded by six students at Carleton and St. Olaf College. These students build a bridge between their campuses and the Twin Cities’ Tibetan community in order to provide Tibetan high school students with the necessary resources to pursue a higher education. Tenzin and her fellow Lamton volunteers will provide a week-long enrichment program that combines career exploration workshops with site visits to Tibetan professionals in the fields of health, technology, business, education, and law.
The second grant was awarded to Shantrice King and her ACT-sponsored initiative that serves women of color at Faribault High School. Shantrice and fellow Carleton student Kendall Bills ’13 have created a writing enrichment curriculum called the “Courage to Write About Self” magazine project. Carleton students will assist a group of high school girls in publishing a full-length magazine of articles, providing them with opportunities to learn about various writing styles while encouraging them to grow in their own self esteem.
Neither of these programs could be funded without the $1,000 grants from Minnesota Campus Compact. Tenzin and Shantrice worked diligently seeking out letters of support, outlining their budget proposals, and proposing their programs in the grant applications. The skills that they’ve acquired through this application process will be useful to them in the future, particularly if they foresee a future in the non-profit sector. Best of luck to Tenzin and Shantrice as they fulfill the objectives of their grant proposals! They worked hard for the money, but the rewards will go beyond the dollars spent. There is no doubt that these programs will have a lasting impact on all of the students involved.