Because of the support of the Rising Arts Leaders fund at the San Diego Foundation, made possible by the James Irvine, I was able to take a grant writing class at UCSD Extension. The class provided me with the instruction and personal feedback of seasoned grant-writing professional, David Pierce, who has worked for over 30 years in the non-profit field as a fundraiser and is also involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Working as an assistant in the Advancement Department at Lux Art Institute, it is important for Lux as an organization and for my professional growth to develop a strong grasp on the grant research and writing process, and in this class, I was able to do just that. Along with my other classmates, I created a template for a grant proposal that Lux Art Institute can use to seek further support for its artist residency program. With Lux’s mission of making the creative process more accessible by hosting five resident artists each year and allowing visitors and education program participants to witness them create an artwork from start to finish, one can see how continuing to secure funding for this program is essential for the survival of the organization. Support for individual residencies has been provided in the past by foundations such as the William Hall Tippett and Ruth Rathell Tippett Foundation and individual underwriters. However, I took this class with the goal of writing a well-constructed proposal that can be put towards applying for general residency underwriting for an entire season of artists.
In each class session, Pierce walked students through the various stages of creating a grant proposal, from writing the organizational background statement to laying out the budget. A highly beneficial aspect of each class was that Pierce provided extensive personal feedback for each assignment so that students could write the best final proposal possible. Collaboration with and critique from other students also fostered the improvement of everyone’s grant-writing skills and Pierce’s guidance on where to best research grant opportunities and what to look for as far as finding the right grant-organizational “match” will be extremely useful for future grant pursuits. The texts required for this class, including Winning Grants: Step by Step, by Mim Carlson, Tori O’Neal-McElrath, and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, were and will continue to be beneficial resources to utilize beyond the classroom. I also am now a subscriber to The Chronicle of Philanthropy for the next two years due to the helpful suggestion of Pierce and with the financial support from this Quick Grant, which will assist me and Lux in staying up to date on all fundraising and grant-related news. It is also worth mentioning that I met some really wonderful emerging non-profit professional fundraisers who are looking to grow their skills in development, just like me. Thus, it was an excellent opportunity to network.
I cannot thank Rising Arts leaders and their supporters enough for funding this professional growth opportunity. I left the class feeling more confident in my grant-writing ability and with a proposal template that can actually be used to seek funding for Lux’s residency program. Because of this class, I now have more refined tools for writing competitive proposals, which will benefit both Lux as an organization and my career.