This post first appeared on January 25, 2015. It has been updated and revised.
“Mom, I need help!”
Instinctively I brace myself, reach for my car keys and health insurance cards. Even at 27, my daughter still has that effect on me when I get a call that starts out this way.
I relax my curled fist and sink back into my chair releasing my inner soccer/softball/surfer mom, wondering if it is too early for happy hour. How about simply content hour? Untroubled hour?
“I need to learn how to write a grant. So when I’m a psychologist I can write grants to do stuff like research or write books. But for this assignment,” she continued. “I want to write a grant for you.”
Interesting. Children are interesting. Emerging adults who want to write grants for their mothers are very interesting.
OK, she got me.
“So, let me ask you a couple of questions:
1. What do you need right now?
2. Is there an artist or artists I can work with or help?
3. Can you use the funds now?”
Great questions. And great approach.
I felt honored in a way that she chose to write a grant for me.
What did she do?
Like #artboss mom, like daughter, she knew there was a bigger game. She took all of my grantwriting advice carefully, contacted the grant officer, clarified everything that needed to be clarified, went back to the artist to fully develop the proposal, checked with me regarding technical and logistical details, put together a clear narrative, solid budget & work samples and poof!
She created a simple grant request to Poets & Writers to support a reading by a local writer who was extremely grateful and quick to point out that
“the kumquat doesn’t roll far from the tree” – Tweet that!
in praise of my daughter’s efforts.
Let me be very clear about something: I did not ever lay eyes on her actual proposal. For this experience to be truly meaningful, this grant had to be the one she cut her teeth on so I forced myself to not interfere.
Off it went.
“Wow, that was a great lesson. Even if I don’t get the grant, which I hope we do, I get it. I know how to do what you do, Mom,” my daughter has an unsettling way of condensing my life into chunks of stuff she casually tosses over her shoulder as she goes through life.
However, in this case, I don’t mind at all.
I am very committed to the belief that the ability to write grants is a valuable life skill for creative people with the desire to make something better.
Now that she possesses that skill, the world will be better off with one more new skilled grantwriter.
So what happened?
Her professor gave her a good grade in her grantwriting class.
Three weeks later, we were notified that her grant was approved!
We hosted a reading by Audrey DiMola. Stay tuned!
Mikki & me
I am very proud of what my daughter set out to do and what she accomplished.
If you are still doubtful about your grantwriting skills I encourage you to be inspired by her experience.
Follow the mindsets & strategies I talk about to get this life skill into your creative toolkit.
Start by getting your hands on my worksheet below!
In a way, I think of you all dearly as kumquats.
About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.