Albuquerque, NM: Bringing new, large-scale grants from national foundations and the federal government to New Mexico are the focus of The Grants Collective’s second Talent Academy cohort. The Talent Academy is a six-month professional development fellowship for nonprofit professionals who want to rapidly upgrade their grant seeking abilities, learn through a comprehensive and structured progression, and set up a robust grant program within their agency.
The first cohort of the Talent Academy, which ran from October 2016-March 2017, represented six local organizations. These six fellows submitted 70 grant applications during the program. Of those, 32 notifications have been received: 22 were awarded and 10 were declined, resulting in a success rate of 69% for the fellows as a group. The total funding from these awards is approximately $488,800 and there are outstanding notifications for another $1,918,000 on pending proposals. Approximately $410,500 of the total awarded came from out of state funders. The fellows represented the African American Community Economic Transformation Study (AACETS), National Institute of Flamenco, New Mexico Boys & Girls Ranch, Steelbridge, Street Food Institute, and The Grant Plant.
Ideal candidates for the Talent Academy are nonprofit or public-sector professionals who already have experience pursuing small and medium sized grants. Typically, this includes development staff in medium or large organizations, executive staff of smaller organizations, and program managers responsible for raising funds.
The project is funded by the City of Albuquerque, McCune Foundation, and Nusenda Foundation. Significant in-kind support is provided by The Grant Plant, which lends professional expertise to weekly professional development sessions and provides expert feedback and consultation on grant proposals in development to Talent Academy fellows.
“The most helpful experience was the great feedback I received. My proposal went from an okay proposal, to a very, very competitive proposal,” says Sarah Gonzales, Grants Administrator at the National Institute of Flamenco. Being part of a team that is building each others’ efforts in high stakes grant seeking was beneficial for Tina Garcia Shams, Executive Director of the Streetfood Institute, who states, “This team has really gelled together. The most memorable experience was the site visits we did, to see the work environment and amazing things people are doing.”
New Mexico nonprofits are often under-resourced as public budgets are strained and corporate and foundation philanthropic dollars are low in comparison to other states. New Mexico is a “philanthropic divide” state, which means it is in the bottom 10 states in terms of foundation assets. This is an important indicator of financial health and giving capacity, given that foundations typically rely on endowed and invested funds to fuel philanthropy. And it’s an important indicator of whether nonprofit organizations have the financial support behind them to do their work – grants make up an important piece of the funding structure of many nonprofits. The Grants Collective views its efforts as bringing additional out-of-state funding to New Mexico as both an investment in economic development and the social capital of our state.
“We believe New Mexico is a state worth investing in,” says Tara Gohr and Erin Hielkema, who share leadership of The Grants Collective. “We have compassionate, resourceful people who make a difference every day in the lives of all New Mexicans, including the most vulnerable among us. The Grants Collective is here to incubate talent among nonprofit professionals so that our vital nonprofit organizations have the resources they need to pursue their missions.”
Interested individuals and organizations can find out more and apply at http://bit.ly/ApplyTA. The deadline to apply is August 1, 2017.
About The Grants Collective:
The Grants Collective addresses the philanthropic divide that New Mexico faces by building nonprofit capacity for grant seeking through professional development, shared resources, and access to expertise. Programming includes: (1) Talent Academy, a 6-month intensive, project-based professional development experience to build the skills of grants professionals, specifically around seeking large scale grant opportunities; and (2) Cooperative Network, an online and in-person forum for grants professionals to find resources, ask questions and share advice, foster collaboration, and share efficiencies. The Collective also fiscally sponsors Grow New Mexico, a program developed to identify funding sources for transformative community projects. Board of Directors: Robin Brule, T.J. Cook, Eric Griego, Erin Hagenow, Debi Randall, Anna Sanchez, and Justin Zoladz.