The Grants Collective’s Talent Academy is an intensive fellowship program aimed at local grant writers and fundraisers.  This year’s cohort nearly doubled in size from last year, with 11 nonprofit organizations represented in the program. They represent new and established organizations including 516 ARTS, ABQ Volunteers, Barelas Community Coalition, Blackout Theatre/The Grant Plant, Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, Central New Mexico Community College, Fathers Building Futures, Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc., Mandy’s Farm, Nusenda Foundation, and Three Sisters Kitchen. The new graduates will be counted on to compete for and secure new funding from the federal government and large foundations.

“It’s the premier professional development opportunity for grants professionals in the state, probably in the Southwest,” says Carson Bennett, of CNM.  Many of the participants echoed similar sentiments and recommended the program to other nonprofit professionals in the community looking to take their grant writing skills to the next level.

Collaboration was a major theme for this cohort.  There was a breadth of experience as well as a diverse array of services represented in the community. This allowed for unique partnerships to develop over the course of six months.  “We wanted to create a setting where participants could get to know each other, not only through their programs, but also on a personal level,” says Program Manager, Robert Nelson.

“Connections with my peers, having a class of people who are in the community working on different projects is a great benefit to me being in the Mayor’s office because I get to see what’s happening in the community,” says ABQ Volunteers Coordinator, Sofia Sanchez.  Anzia Bennett of Three Sisters Kitchen reflected on those new connections, “We’ve really enjoyed getting to know each other, but also I learned so much about good work happening in Albuquerque that I didn’t know about. And out of the site visits and out of the relationships that emerged from working together every week, we’re already developing partnerships and going for funding together.”

Some participants had their first success writing a grant during this session of the Talent Academy.  Christopher Moffatt of Fathers Building Futures found first-time success during the Talent Academy. “I was extremely proud of it because it was the first grant I wrote from start to finish…and then got accepted for it, and we made it to the finals, and then we got one of the $20,000 awards. I was so proud of that moment.”

“I absolutely recommend this program for anyone who is working in the nonprofit world and is looking for ways to build skills and secure support for programming that they believe in,” says Anzia Bennett.

The Talent Academy will open up applications for the next cohort on June 1, 2018.  For more information, contact Robert Nelson at robert@thegrantscollective.org.