BBAC offers second grant writing seminar

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

LIVINGSTON-Securing funds can be tricky for small communities. Today, The University of West Alabama and Gov. Bob Riley’s Black Belt Action Commission will team up for a second session of classes on grant writing for local leaders.

The purpose of the classes is to not only identify the needs for the area, or solutions to problems, but to be engaged in the implementation of those solutions. The BBAC has begun its vital work. What began as a broad vision to set the stage for success in Alabama’s Black Belt counties is now becoming more targeted and focused. Since the signing of the executive order formalizing the Commission; a need for grant seeking, writing, and administration education throughout the area has been identified. Today’s program is part of continuing that education.

Jessica Dent, Program Manager of the Science, Technology and Energy Division, said the goal of the seminar is to give leaders a basic knowledge of the grant application process.

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“We are basically trying to help people gain a knowledge for grant writing and how to secure state and federal funding,” Dent said. “We will be giving them information on the do’s and don’ts of finding funds.”

One of the greatest misconceptions for those seeking funds is that they have to do everything themselves. Dent said they would teach leaders the importance of having a professional to help with applications and what to look for when seeking assistance.

“We are also going to talk about seeking help from professionals and what to look out for,” Dent said. “There are a lot of things people need to be aware of when applying for grants because it is done competitively.”

Each participant will receive a package full of information to help clear up the process. Dent said they would find several useful materials that will help make grant application and seeking funds a smoother process.

“We will be giving them a grant toolbox to try to help them better prepare for grants,” Dent said. “Grant writing 101 will be included in that tool box along with several links to grant information sites and information on non profit state and federal sites.”

The classes give leaders a chance to take a more active role in securing funds. Dent said the classes could be liberating because leaders do not have to depend on other entities to find funding for their needs.

“This is important because so many time communities look to the state to provide them with information on economic development,” Dent said. “Many times they just don’t have the expertise to apply competitively for these grants. We will give them tips, ideas and examples.”

The meeting is the second of its kind in the Black Belt. In April the Commission presented a free grant education workshop and the success of the workshop has ignited an enthusiasm for grant writing across the Black Belt.