What it feels like when you’re filling out a Grant application    ???  :/   ???

What it looks like when you finish your Grant application and hit send.   🙂    🙂    🙂

Whenever I mention that Clap Your Hands will be filling out Grant applications the very next question someone asks is, “who did you hire to fill them out?”

I answer, “I hired us”….which means we can’t afford to hire someone to do our Grants. I then follow up with, “we will do the best we can, and we will learn from any mistakes we make”. The response we usually get is a slight smile, a nod, and wishing us good luck-we’ll need it.

A dear friend, Shelli Quenga, told me about an amazing foundation called, Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. After checking out their organization I felt it was a great fit for us to apply for one of their grants. After a phone call, an in-person interview, and a 250 word essay explaining briefly who we were – we were then invited to apply for the Charles Webb/Ed Croft Endowment.

We were/are beyond thrilled, honored and humbled they sent us an invitation. Especially since we had only become a non-profit a few months ago.

We then received the application form. At first glance I have to admit I felt overwhelmed. The small voice in my ear kept telling me that I didn’t have any business filling out an application for such a prestige’s grant. We had about two weeks to fill it out and email back to them.

After reading it over several times, having a few minor meltdowns, (by me), we took it page by page. My husband, Ron…who is called “saint Ron” by my mother…began proofing what I wrote. Why is it when I ask a friend or even a stranger to look over what I write, I find it constructive criticism, but when “saint Ron” tried to point out my errors…I was not a good pupil. Well, bottom line, Ron does have the patience of a saint, and I couldn’t have filled them all out without him.

After we were about 90% done, we sent it off to have a friend, who is very knowledgeable with filling out grants. She gave some insightful suggestions. I am still thanking Shelli Quenga for her patience and wealth of information on Grant lingo.

We finally completed the paperwork…about 15 papers, of budgets, statistics, and letters of recommendation, goals, how our products work, and who is helped by using our products.

On June 5th we had our “in house” interview with some board members. They wanted to talk with us, and see first-hand our products. My board members, Jennifer Horres, Roxene Bacon, and myself, talked for about two hours. I have to say, they put us at ease immediately, and it was such a wonderful experience.

I can’t tell you how humbling it was to open the letter of approval for our Grant. We were literally down to our last 2 pound bag of pellets. Moving forward we will be ordering another 1,200 pounds of pellets on July 20th.

I would like to say from the bottom of my heart how grateful we are to the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina and the Webb-Croft Endowment for their very generous Grant money. Special thank you to Richard Hendry, the Interim President/CEO. Thank you for your kindness, and for believing in a brand new non-profit. You were encouraging in every way and we are so grateful.

To Ali Titus, Program Officer, I thank you for putting us at ease right away with our home visit. I felt like I was visiting with an old friend. You made us all feel so comfortable.

We are now beginning the process again with another Grant. This will be our new normal. For without Grants and donations we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

Thank you and God bless,

Sue Desautels