At Davidson, I wrote a lot. Almost every student does. Juggling research papers, journal reflections, essays, and daily homework is undeniably integral to the Liberal Arts experience. In my Davidson Impact Fellowship with the Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) and the Carolina Thread Trail, I have begun to harness the skills I developed at Davidson and apply them to the chaotic process that is grant writing.
Unsurprisingly, writing grants is a little different from writing that essay I wrote on the metaphorical significance of Lorca’s Yerma and my research paper on the adverse health effects of exposure to the pesticide, 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane. There are no grades with grants, and no opportunity to turn in a revised draft. I know grant writing is more of a pass/fail system, but I still cannot help to expect my grant application returned—diligently marked with feedback, raising one more question to investigate and requiring just a few more hours of work.
Grant writing, in its more frustrating moments, is the mundane process of searching for tax emption status forms and modifying the same paragraph for the thousandth time to satisfy the comically short word count restriction. At its best though, it is the opportunity to tell the story of how your organization (and its proposed projects) are going to make the world a better place. For that reason, I love grant writing. It is like an exercise in proving to your readers and to yourself that your organization is outstanding and worthy of investment.
Thus far, I have helped the Catawba Lands Conservancy and Carolina Thread Trail with grants on projects ranging from invasive species control to constructing a 10-mile paddle trail segment along the Rocky River. Regardless of the topic, each grant is an opportunity to be thankful for the work that the organization has already done and excited for the possibility of future projects. And even if you can’t receive an A on your grant application, receiving a check for your organization is, of course, a pretty close second.
Photo: Carolina Thread Trail’s Rocky River Blueway, a paddle trail for canoes and kayaks, opened its first segment in Cabarrus County earlier this year. More boat launches are planned for 2015. Once completed, the Rocky River Blueway will stretch nearly 60 miles and wind through four counties.