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My First Grant Proposal for $25K and the Amazing Road This Lead Me To (The Road To Getting Funded)

grant writing Apr 20, 2022


Here's a vlog I did with the entire transcription on this page with some additional resources to help you.  

Hey guys, Rodney here, Grant Central USA, you know, one of the questions I get all the time is like "Rodney, how did you get started? What made you want to do grants? And how did you end up doing what you're doing with Grant Central USA all over the U.S.?" And so what I've decided to do is just to kind of document and share with you some of my journey. Some of the things that I've done to get to where I'm at. To share with you some of the challenges that I had in getting to where I am and doing what I'm doing and even to share with you some more about what I'm looking to do on this journey. 

So why don't you do me a favor and let's go for a little ride? I'm going to take you to one of my favorite places that I enjoy going to in the greater Pasadena area. And I'm going to take you over for a ride. I'm going to go over to... I'm not going to tell you where I'm going to take you, yeah. I'm just going to surprise you. I'll take you over to this place. But it's a place that's very popular that a lot of people know about and that a lot of people have gathered. I will give you a hint. And the hint is that it... 


The Road Of A Grant Writer

Let's just put it this way, different people have Coliseum's of courage places where they go in and get strength and courage, renewal. This is one of those places for me. And in addition to that, not only is it one of those places for me, it's a place that umm.. 

I'll give another clue, the color that I'm wearing kind of is representative. That's all that I will say for right now. But here's the thing. I want to go over and to take you. We're going to go for a ride. And as we go for this ride, I'm going to share with you more about my story and how I got started with grants. 

Now, grants are fascinating to me. And I first got involved with them when I was back in Texas. I'm originally from Texas, originally Dallas, Texas. But when I first happened upon grants, I was in Austin, Texas, where I went to undergrad, University of Texas, hook them horns.

And I had some amazing experiences there. But what I'm going to do is this. I'm going to tell you about my story. I'm going to tell you about some of my failures that I had. And I had some failures in trying to figure out how to get funded, you know. 

There's never one of these where you used go straight to the top. There's never that. And anybody who's trying to it's always too up, down, up, down. I'm going to share with you some of the real ups and downs that I had in trying to learn and acquire this knowledge. And I'm going to share with you, actually, kind of like what it took for me to be able to do this at the level that I'm doing right now.

You know, sometimes we see just the end result. We see the success that a person has been able to acquire, but we don't get a chance to really hear the journey. And the beautiful thing is the journey is probably the most important part because it's in that journey. 

It's in that struggle. It's in that time where you're trying to figure things out when you don't know if you really have what it takes, but you feel like you have what it takes. But it's all kind of figure it out as you go on the journey.

So that's been my little piece. Let me figure out how I get my little keys around here and then have you hop in with me and we're going to go for a ride in Brooklyn. And I don't know about you, but I like to name my cars. I have one car named Sierra. The other car is Brooklyn and I call Brooklyn. Brooklyn because Brooklyn's blue. So Brooklyn blue. 

And so let's do this. Let's hop on it. I get this door close. They make sure you get your seatbelt, okay? I want you to be comfortable, but I also want you to be safe, all right? 

So we're going to do is this. We're going to go for a ride. I'm going to take you over to one of my places that I really enjoy going. 

And it's a place for me that is a place of rejuvenation, okay? And what we'll do is we'll go for this little ride. I'm going to get my seatbelt. You get your seatbelt on and buckle up and let's just hang out for a little bit. And hopefully, this will help you to kind of see some of my journey, what is this going off/on? Okay, I got some stuff I need to take care of here.


What It Takes To Be A Grant Writer

So with that being the case, let's go for this little ride. And what am I going to do? I'm going to share with you some more about what it really takes to be a grant writer. So it's almost like you get a chance to hang out and go on this journey. I'm going to call this journey the road of a grant writer, okay? A day in the life of a grant professional. All right. So let's do this. 

Let me see where I want to start off with this whole journey of telling you. My grant journey started, as I said earlier, back in the city of Austin... Austin, Texas. And I was working at the time for an organization. And the organization that I was working for was an organization that had multiple departments. And it was the Urban League. It was the Austin Urban League.

And I was at the time as a director, I was the director of Youth and Education Development, and I enjoyed that role is a great role, got a chance to work and help a lot of young people. And they had come to me because at the time I was a consultant and they approached me about possibly overseeing this department and I started doing so. And when I did so, we eventually had a contracted grant writer. Now, this grant writer that we hired was a very sharp lady. 

And she at the time was, if I remember correctly, was a stay at home mom. But she would come and she would do grants for our organization and she would come around to all the directors like myself. And she would ask us questions about the proposals that she was putting together in about our programs. So, she would then take that information and she would compound information and she was going to put that information to a proposal. She did.


Learn From Your Experience

And then she submitted that information to a funder. And in about two or three months, the next thing you know, we were getting funded. And I was like, to be honest with you, I was blown away. I was like, how did this lady just come and take my words and other directors' words and write down some words on some paper, and then somebody in turn around and give her paper... Green paper, money, moolah, the president. And so I was just fascinated with that. 

And I never forget I asked her, I said "Hey, you show me show me how to do this grant thing." And I just had to be young and naive. That's what I blame it on, being young and naive because she did not share any information with me.

And I was thinking that, okay, well, why should I share the information when I was young and naive, not realizing that she was probably thinking that, hey, I'm going to secure my gig here getting grants and I can't be sharing with you all my secrets. 

And so a lot of grant writers, just in case you don't know if you're thinking about trying to learn this great thing, a lot of grant writers sometimes tend to be that way with the information. They're really guarded. And that was my experience when I first started out in this in this field. People were really guarded. 

Now, I did have one or two people, really, one that I remember that tried to show us some information. But the information was just so thin. It wasn't enough to really help me. It was so vague that I didn't get the insight that I really needed to really do it well. 

And when I started this was around 2000, I want to say around two thousand two-ish. So the Internet wasn't what it is today in terms of like just information. But there was some information piecemealed and pulled together some information and tried to put this proposal together.

And I never forget it took about a month and a half to get everything prepared. And then the proposal was finally submitted. I submitted the proposal to a foundation that was in the Austin area and that the name of it, of the foundation, was submitted to was the Hogg Foundation. 

Now the Hogg Foundation. It seems like it's the appropriate name for Texas, right? The Hogg Foundation, just imagine, you know, I'm not even going to go there. But you think about Texas in the form and in the cattle and everything, but it's called the Hogg Foundation.

So we submitted to the whole foundation. This proposal was submitted for twenty five thousand dollars. And I was excited because I just knew the difference that the twenty five thousand dollars was going to make in the lives of some of the young people that I was working with. And we were doing all kinds of really amazing things to help these young people to be more successful in their journey. More successful in their experience. 

And so that's what happened, you know. That's exactly what happened. And with it all, I decided I said, great, let me try to do some things to make sure that I learn this at a very high level. I didn't know what I was doing. So my first experience was just pretty much me diving into the process. Now, here's what happened. That proposal was submitted to this funder. And I want to tell you exactly what happened in the next part of this video because you want to know what happened, I'll tell you. So stay tuned.


Rodney Walker is today’s leading expert in Grant Development Systems™ and President of Grant Central USA - Grant Writers Association. Learn more about his online grant writing courses today.

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