Kathy P. Riley - Grant Writer

Reproduced from the November/December 2010 issue of THEATRE ORGAN.

Hello everyone – I’m Kathy Riley, a professional grant writer and administrator working with ATOS. My services are available to ATOS chapters as well. I’m writing today to encourage you to add grants to your fundraising activities.

A little background—I have successfully written grants for the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Boys & Girls Clubs, various arts organizations in Florida and arts organizations in other states. I am a published author, working on a new novel in my spare time. I’m also a musician and singer, and play some keyboard instruments (not well) and many stringed instruments with some skill. My business, Literary Ink, also provides ghost writing services, editing and publishing services for authors outside the bricks and mortar publishing houses.

Welcome to Grant World, where we strive to significantly increase your bottom line on projects related to your chapter. Some previous projects include restoration of instruments, promotion of educational programming in local schools, or other needs related to the mission of your organization.

Here are just a couple of the grants I’ve undertaken for Ken Double, President and CEO of ATOS:

  • Grants for the production of DVDs teaching the unique technical skill-set needed to play the theatre pipe organ
  • Grants for funding the production of a 30 minute television spot on the history and significance of the theatre organ, suitable for PBS, HGTV and other educational channels

Future grant projects include:

  • Securing funding for consolidation of the ATOS archives and moving it to a single location
  • Securing funding for a librarian for the archive
  • Securing funding for a conservationist/archivist for the collection

There are three stages of grant-writing:

  1. Locating organizations and/or individuals willing to support the project
  2. Gathering all the facts of the project – time frame, beneficiaries, outcomes & budget
  3. Writing the grants in the formats required by each funder, i.e. online grants, letters of inquiry and actual written grants with pictures and other research where appropriate

The following pieces of information are required (not just by me, but by most funders) to get started writing a grant:

  • 2 years of audited financials
  • A copy of the 501(C)3 determination letter
  • Chapter budget for current fiscal year and past fiscal year
  • Project budget, including all sources of funding (grants are usually not more than 30% of the total cost of the project, because funders are leery of being the sole investor)
        1. List all other sources of funding – donations, etc.
        2. List all in-kind donations (with monetary value of the goods or services shown)
        3. List all costs for the project – I can furnish you a guideline
  • A current Board of Directors list
  • A complete description of the project, including who, what, where, when and why – with a list of the qualifications of the individuals involved, the expected outcome of the project, who it will serve, etc. I compile the above information into the specific funder’s format and include it with the grant.

Each source of funding will most likely have their own grant application formula, but many accept a common grant form, which I will use when I organize your information. This becomes a template for your grants, including every piece of information organized in a logical format.

As mentioned above, others require an on-line application. In any event, I will send out grants to the selected funders only after you have signed off on the grant content and the cover letter contents. Of course, I include photographs of the project when available.

Once a template is formulated, it becomes easier to create “boilerplate” models to send out to multiple sources. After that, we sit back and wait to hear from our funders.

Thank you for visiting me here in Grant World – I am available by email at literaryinkllc [at] gmail [dot] com. If you want to chat about your chapter’s needs and how I can help you investigate grant possibilities open to you, please feel free to give me a call at 941-416-0781.

My sincere thanks go out to Ken Double for inviting me to work with ATOS. I hope to have an opportunity to chat with some of you in the near future!