Grant-writing class benefits community

Writing and rhetoric students are reaching out to the local community using their newfound skills in grant writing.

In Dr. Driscoll’s WRT370 class, students are partnering up with local nonprofits to construct an application for a grant approval. This assists non-profit organization owners in earning funds.

“Oakland University has a lot of new leadership, and our new leadership is really encouraging us to make these campus-community connections,” Dr. Driscoll said.

The class also is combining its skills to write a $300,000 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for OU’s Student Organic Farm. The completed letter of intent was submitted to the USDA last week.

Writing and rhetoric senior, Julie Burlingame is volunteering to draft a grant proposal with True Identity Self-Esteem, a non-profit organization in Roseville that focuses on improving female self-value and character development.

“Every Friday I’ve been meeting with the owner to choreograph a two to three-thousand dollar grant,” Burlingame said.

Students are also passing on knowledge of the process to community leaders so that the familiarity can help in future promotions.

“Even if we don’t win the grants, however, we are also teaching our community partners more about the grant writing process and how to promote oneself to granting agencies,” Driscoll said.

Burlingame, for example, created a list of other grants the organization is qualified for and created a Kickstarter account for the organization to accept donations online.

Student Samuel Boyhtari is partnered with a social justice law firm that he interns for, writing a Mott foundation grant proposal. The law firm is a non-profit organization that takes on cases for workers in the area who may have been discriminated against.

“This final product is very unforgiving,” Boyhtari said. “I have to write exactly what is required.”

The grant writing class is a challenge for its participants, but the experience gained can help benefit the community in the future.

“The class is a very practical, hands-on class where students learn to write in a real world, and high stakes setting, but do so with a lot of support from me, their instructor,” Driscoll said.

Contact reporter Erica Marracco via email at [email protected].