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Communique: WIN Has Money For Non-Profits With Education Projects

Jenny Callison

The Women's Impact Network, or WIN, is ready to endow New Hanover County non-profit organizations large and small grants for projects focused on education. Jenny Callison tells us how to apply for the money.

Organizations interested in applying need to start by emailing WIN4NHC@gmail.com. Type "Letter of Intent Request" in the subject line of the email. At that point, someone from the WIN grant committee will send the needed materials for application.

The last date to email WIN with this request is July 6.

Jenny Callison:  I'm here to communicate to the nonprofit community that Women's Impact Network, otherwise known as WIN, has a grant money available for this calendar year. Our focus this year is on education. What is education, you ask? Well, we are purposely defining it very loosely because we want to see what kinds of really creative and potentially impactful projects there are out there among agencies and nonprofit organizations that we could fund for one year. 

That would be something that would really make a difference. That's what we're after. We look at grants - we have larger grants and smaller grants - and grants of any size can really have an impact. How much are we giving away this year? 

Gina Gambony: That is the big question. What is it? What's the dollar amount this year?

Jenny: Well, I can tell you that we plan to give two grants of up to $20,000 each, and then we have $10,000 earmarked for up to three small grants. This past year we gave three small grants and each of them really did have a big effect on the capacity of those organizations to do what they do. So, we'll be looking for different kinds of proposals, but they all to be in the area of education - could be adult education, it could be community education, it could be a more traditional a child purpose education.

We just want to see what's out there, and we really want to get the word out. This is the first year that we have not been under the umbrella of the North Carolina Community Foundation, and they used to handle all the publicity for us. This year we must make our own. We must sound our own bugle. We need to hear from interested people, and they can do that by sending an email to win4nhc@gmail.com. In the in the subject line, put "Letter of Intent Request" because the first step in our grants process is getting people to submit letters of intent that they are interested in applying for funds. When you send that in, it will go to our grants people. Then they will respond with information about the whole application process.

The deadline for submitting that email is July 6th. We have to know that you are potentially interested by July 6th, and then it goes from there. The end of the process will come in September when we announced the recipients.

Gina: Let me just make sure I understand so far what's happening. So, folks out there who have an organization or maybe a project that involves education of some sort - whether it be adult education, community education or child educations for children, it could be a school, it could be an arts organization that has an educational component or a education -

Jenny: Correct.

Gina: Music education?

Jenny: Correct, but it must be a nonprofit organization or governmental entity.

Gina: So, it has to be a nonprofit or governmental agency.

Jenny: Right - that we can grant money to. We can't grant money to an individual or a non 501(c)(3).

Gina: But there are a lot of helping organizations out there, charitable organizations - like let's say Step Up Wilmington - I know they have some education initiatives.

Jenny: Correct.

Gina: Or let's say the Cameron Art Museum. They have education.

Jenny: Correct, yes.

Gina: Or let's say new Hanover High School. They have education going on.

Jenny: All of the above. The original email that goes to that address, win4nhc@gmail.com, is asking for information on how to submit the letter of intent. So, all you do is send us information on the letter of intent as the first step in your grant application process.

Gina: So, the first step is to say, "Hey, I would like to apply. Will you send me send the information?"

Jenny: Yes. That's very simple. Then the letter of intent is, in essence, a short application. It does not take all the information, does not require all the information that you would then submit as part of a full application. What happens is the grants committee will then look at the LOIs that come in as a result of this information, and we'll determine which projects they think will have the biggest impact and sound like the most cohesive, well thought through, impactful projects. Those organizations will be invited to submit a full application.

Gina: Basically, the steps go: 1. Request the letter of intent information. 2. If they want to give you the information, then the organization will write a letter of intent.

Jenny: There is a template for that. It's not like you have to figure it out.

Gina: And then they'll choose the ones that are really a solid, and those will do a next step.

Jenny: Yes.

Gina: Jenny, tell me about how long WIN has been around, about exactly what WIN does, and about who you have funded in the past.

Jenny: WIN has been in existence for seven years. It was founded in 2011. We have granted six years worth of grants. As our membership has grown, we have more money to give away. Our money comes from memberships. We have now over 100 women who are members. Each of us contribute $600 a year, and the vast majority of that money goes into the grant pool. So, depending on how many members we have, that's how much money we have to issue in grants. Each year our focus is different. As I said this year, it's education. The four areas are education, health and wellness, environment, and arts and culture. Last year, we funded a music program for Brigade Girls and Boys Club. Other recipients of our large grants have been DREAMS, Guardian Ad Litum, Carousel Center, WHAT (Wilmington Health Access for Teens), Sky Watch Bird Rescue, and then we started the small grant program last year because we finally had enough money that we could do both large and small. We found that very, very large grants are difficult for most organizations to handle. That's why we're doing two of up to $20,000.

Gina: Yeah, that's a good idea. Also, it's just fun to spread the joy.

Jenny: It is! It is so much fun giving money away to people who were prepared to do great things with it. There is also another women's philanthropic collective - which is what we are - in Brunswick County. They do things differently, but it's the same idea. Women getting together and deciding, "With this amount of money that I'm giving, I can't have a particularly big impact. But together, we can." And of course we vote. The grants committee comes up with its recommendations, and we vote on them.

Gina: Right. So, these letters are due on July 6th?

Jenny: The request for the LOI is due, yes. Do it now, folks. Don't delay.

Gina: If there's anyone out there who has applied before but they were not granted, should they apply again?

Jenny: By all means, apply again.

Gina: Tell me, Jenny, once again - when will these people get the money?

Jenny: The grants will be announced in September, and they will actually receive their money at our annual luncheon in early October. And at that lunch, we will also hear from the 2017 recipients as to what they did with their money and how it has advanced their mission.

Gina: Are you getting excited about handing this money out?

Jenny: I am.

Gina: And you could have up to five people this year?

Jenny: Yes, we could. We will have two large grant recipients and up to three small grant recipients.