I genuinely believe that being a grant writer is the best job there is. Most importantly, we can’t hurt, we can only help. Earlier this month, I waxed philosophical about the one time when things went terribly wrong. Today, I thought I would balance that with a reflection on what is truly great about this field.
Early on in my career, I was in social work. If I didn't do my job in a timely manner, real people who sat across from me in my cubicle could suffer. Kids could go hungry, sick people could have to wait for their medications or to see their doctor. That was real stress.
Whenever I'm asked how I tolerate the strict deadlines of my work, I think about that stress and appreciate how low-stress grant deadlines are comparatively. Perspective matters.
But there's more to it than that. Sitting in a county Human Services office, I could only help one person at a time and the needs of my clients could be disheartening and overwhelming. There were days I cried my eyes out when I got home from work. I thought, "There's got to be a better way of helping people."
And, I found it.
I've long since lost count of any sort of estimate of how many people's lives have been touched and improved by the tens of millions of dollars of grant funded projects I've been a part of. I've walked on the raised crosswalks and sidewalks that gave elementary school children a safe route to school. I've seen a hundred kids at a time get a hot, family style dinner after school and submitted reports showing their reading and math scores climbing. I've toured high-tech facilities where hundreds of adult students are prepared for really good paying jobs. I've brought the economic development backbone of a small Appalachian town back from bankruptcy. The list goes on and on.
I can't imagine a more fulfilling career. One aspect of the job that is a close second to being able to do exponential good, is getting to know so many amazing do-gooders who are making a real difference with the resources we secure for them.
It is a great privilege to count dozens of the best people in the world as clients and friends. Nonprofit founders, executive directors, education leaders, community organizers, economic developers, scientists, doctors, and innovators of all kinds are among my favorite human beings and it is truly an honor to get to work behind the scenes and tap their passion, creativity, and vision to articulate their plans to funders.
There is a unique energy involved in working with do-gooders impassioned to make our world and our communities better and I have to admit, it is both infectious and addictive. This year, we hope to share more and more of their stories and invite you to learn more about how to share in the kind of growth they've experienced working with us. Stay tuned!