Walking across Highway 61 had never been a pleasant experience for locals, but the tragic death of a 17-year-old boy who was struck by a car on a stretch of the Minnesota roadway near East Lake Boulevard, shed light on the danger.
That’s also when one concerned Winona local decided to apply for a grant that would fund an estimated $3.5-million pedestrian walkway to connect the east end of Lake Park to East Lake Boulevard, at the base of Sugar Loaf, a bluff on the Mississippi River that overlooks the city.
The grant proposal, endorsed by the Winona City Council, requested funds from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, which makes recommendations to the Legislature on how to spend the lottery proceeds placed in Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, established for the preservation and enhancement of Minnesota’s natural resources.
Anyone could apply for the grant. Lynn Carlson, a resident of Winona, did just that! Carlson had never written a grant. But, she believed her attempt would be a great way to improve the city.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWriterTeam said grant writers who have successfully written and been awarded grants can apply and join our team. They are hired by nonprofits and individuals to research and complete grant applications that meet the needs of the client. Many of these applications from local, state and federal government agencies, corporations, and foundations can be found on GrantWatch.com, a search engine for grants, awards and other funding opportunities.
A good grant writers should possess a solid command of the written word and efficient research skills to craft a successful grant proposal that matches the interests of the funding source. The grant proposal is a document that makes a case for the request for money following all the requirements of the funding source. The task for the grant writer is to convey what the money will accomplish, who will benefit and why the funding source should support the work.
Hikind said the website GrantWriterTeam.com receives a high number of requests from organizations that seek qualified grant writers. Nonprofits, without the funds to hire a full time in-house grant writer often turn to GrantWriterTeam. They complete a form to request a grant writer and the grant writers bid on their grant writing opportunity.
Winona City Council members appreciated Carlson’s grant proposal and were glad she took the initiative. In the city’s 2017 walking and biking plan, pedestrians and cyclist pointed to crossing Highway 61, in general, as one of the most troublesome areas.
Carlson began the research process by observing pedestrian bridges in neighboring cities, before turning her attention to writing a proposal. And while writing is only a small part of developing a proposal, Carlson said she relied on advice and feedback from funding organizations and agencies to articulate Winona’s problem.
“I would go through these little towns and see these beautiful recreation bridges,” she said. “I thought, ‘Why can’t Winona have that?’”
Libby invites Lynn Carlson, if she is interested and others, to pursue a rewarding career in grant writing. After Lynn gets two more grants awarded, she would be eligible to join GrantWriterTeam.
Libby Hikind said, "Passion to solve the need and a lot of spot-on research, speaks volumes to grant reviewers and is the advantage that propels one grant to be funded over any other."
Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal should sign up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.
About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch.com