I don’t know about you, but I have never been so relieved to have spring arrive! The sun is shining more, the temperature is warming, and hope is in the air! Now that we're no longer locked in by the winder, it’s time to UNLOCK our potential as grant professionals. As the days get longer and we all feel a little more optimistic, I would encourage you to use the energy that comes with spring to rejuvenate yourself personally so you can develop your best professional self! It’s important to find a balance between work and life because if you’re not feeding your soul outside of work, you’re not giving your all as a grant professional.

National Endowment for the Arts Is your organization looking for project-based funding to support activities that further the arts? The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently opened applications for its Challenge America program. This program supports small organizations working to reach underserved populations through the arts across a variety of disciplines (dance, folk and traditional, media arts, music, visual arts, etc.), arts programming, education, marketing and promotional activities, and organizational planning.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Attention previous recipients of Drug-Free Communities (DFC) awards! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now accepting applications for its 2021 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Local Drug Crises Grants program, which builds upon past DFC and CARA programs focused on substance use prevention. This opportunity aims to prevent opioid, methamphetamine, and/or prescription drug use/misuse among youth ages 12-18. Proposals for this program are due April 1, 2021.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Attention institutions of higher education! NSF is now accepting proposals to its Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program. S-STEM provides funds to domestic institutions of higher education (IHEs) who implement the program and award scholarships to eligible students. S-STEM scholars must be low-income, academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing degrees in STEM fields, such as biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Proposals for this program are due April 7, 2021.

While I am all about spreading love to people and relationships, what about those connections you don’t love? As grant professionals, we deal with all different kinds of people – you know those people:
  • The program director who says, “I don’t even have the staff to carry out these program goals, but I need the money. So, just write whatever goals you think will get us the grant.”
  • The executive director who tells you “we don’t have a policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion; can’t you just write one for us?”
  • The new client who, when asked to share about their organization’s leadership team and strategies, says “you can find that on our website.”
Yep, I did not love navigating these relationships or at the very least, I do not love these conversations that seem to leave me feeling stuck and frustrated. So how do you learn how to accept and move these relationships and conversations along?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Does your public agency work to prevent substance abuse in high-risk communities? SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is now accepting applications for its 2021 Grants to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths (PDO) program. The PDO program aims to reduce the number of prescription drug/opioid overdose-related deaths and adverse events among individuals 18 years of age and older by training key community sectors and implementing prevention strategies, such as purchasing and distributing naloxone to first responders. Proposals for this program are due March 1, 2021.

To kick off the month of love, we’d like to talk about relationships. In our personal lives, we know that nurturing relationships with our families, friends, and partners is important. Strong relationships provide mutual benefits; we give support to our loved ones as they make steps toward their personal goals, and we hope they do the same for us. As nonprofit leaders and grant professionals, we all know how crucial it is to build solid relationships in order to succeed in reaching our organizational goals, as well. We build relationships with our beneficiaries to make sure our program strategies match their strengths, needs, and solutions. And we build relationships with funders to ensure we have a strong financial foundation to continue offering those programs. Just as every relationship in our personal lives is unique, so are the approaches we must take with funders, depending on whether they are a foundation, corporation, or federal agency. So, let’s talk about the distinct “love language” and which approach to take in building relationships with each of the funders listed below.

Department of Justice – Office on Violence Against Women Does your organization provide services to undeserved victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and related crimes? The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now accepting proposals for its Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). OVW operates under the DOJ and provides funding for coordinated community responses to holding offenders accountable and serving victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Attention fire departments and state fire training academies! The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA recently opened a funding opportunity focused on improving fire safety for the public and firefighters. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program provides direct funding to eligible entities for training and equipment.