Stephanie De Los Santos, a Camp Resource Development VISTA with the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas (EFTX), wrote and submitted 6 grants asking for a total of $72,600 in July. Two of those grants, totaling $13,600 from the CH Foundation and CNS Pantex were approved. These grants will fund programs to send children with epilepsy to summer camp, provide free medication and diagnostic testing to adults, and education programs for school nurses and personnel to ensure safe environments for children attending school with epilepsy.
Stephanie De Los Santos, Camp and Resource Development VISTA serving with the Epilepsy Foundation Texas, began her year of service in March and dove right in to grant writing. Stephanie has been able to submit 3 grants for a potential outcome of $33,600. If awarded the funds will be used to send children with epilepsy to summer camp. The Epilepsy Foundation Texas camping programs provide children and youth with epilepsy a safe, structured, FUN and encouraging home away from home. In order to learn more about how epilepsy effects individuals and families, Stephanie interviewed a father and son. The son has a seizure disorder and the father was away at work while most of the testing/diagnosis process was ongoing. They told her about the fear, worry, and anxiety of having to go through the medical testing. They also told her about the relief of becoming involved with the epilepsy foundation and how the agency has helped them. At that moment, Stephanie felt like she was a part of something important.
The mission of the North Texas Performing Arts – Plano Children’s Theatre is to develop the character of youth through quality performing arts education and family entertainment. Plano Children’s Theatre offers full-ride scholarships to talented and less privileged children, provides complimentary tickets to charitable organizations, teacher groups, and school fundraising events and offers free programming at local community centers. Melanie Cheney, Resource Development VISTA, prepared and consolidated documents for an annual board meeting at North Texas Performing Arts. During this process, Melanie edited the documents for clarity, sorted the documents into easily understandable categories, and created binders for each board member in attendance (45 total). Cheney delegated some work to volunteers, so she was not only able to practice her editing skills, but also her leadership skills. In addition, Melanie played an instrumental role in raising $20,000 in private donations from patrons she met with in previous months. Monies raised will add to the current capital campaign for the Willow Bend Theatre and benefit low-income and special needs children through the agency’s programs. Melanie helps to solidify relationships with new and existing donors through prompt thank you letters of which she created templates for use by staff and volunteers. Melanie attended a meeting with representatives from the Hudson Foundation and established a relationship that will hopefully lead to consideration for future grant-giving.
In March 2017, Plano Children’s Theatre’s Resource Development VISTA, Melanie Cheney, helped source and collect auction items for North Texas Performing Arts’ annual online auction. She delegated National Honor Society volunteers to call businesses in Plano and inquired about potential donations of gift cards and services. Information was taken from interested donors and Melanie visited these businesses in person to make initial contact and collect donated materials. The auction, held at the end of March, earned Plano Children’s Theatre $6,911. The agency also benefited by collecting $5,500 in donations from a donor appeal campaign coordinated by Melanie. In addition to the work mentioned, Melanie found time to write and submit a grant application to the Junior League of Collin County for 25k. The funds would be used for our Therapeutic Drama program for actors/actresses with special needs.
In February 2017, AmeriCorps VISTA Melanie Kuriger was able to write and submit a grant application for $20,000 from the Andrea-Mennen Family Foundation. The grant money, if received, will be used to strengthen North Texas Performing Arts’ Therapeutic Drama program for children and adults with special needs. In the preceding weeks, she created an outline and wrote several drafts of the application. She also generated statistics based on information she was able to obtain from archived 2016 documents. Upon approval from her supervisor, she submitted the application in mid-February.
Tierra has taken on CCA’s grants Spring Cycle in full force this month. So far, she has completed and submitted a total of six grants for a potential of $74,000 to support CCA’s comprehensive services and programs to assist low-income individuals across North Texas. Tierra has already secured $15,000 in funding from CoServ Charitable Foundation to assist CCA’s CoServ clients with utility assistance, as well as $5,000 in funding from Direct Energy’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program to assist Direct Energy clients with utility assistance as well. But it doesn’t stop there! Tierra is already working on six other grants for CCA, including an application to the Texas Emergency Shelter Grant Program with a Denton County Collaborative, including Giving HOPE Inc., Denton County Friends of the Family, Salvation Army of Denton and Interfaith Ministries to reduce and prevent homelessness across the County.
Aleisha Tunstall is the Grant Research and Development VISTA at Our Daily Bread (ODB). ODB is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community soup kitchen located in Denton, TX, that provides nutritious meals, special services and referrals for other services to those in need. Currently, Aleisha is assisting the Executive Administrator to plan for ODB’s Volunteer Appreciation Event. Aleisha is assisting with organizing and developing event flyers, decoration themes, giveaway items, and scheduling. The event takes place on Thursday, April 27th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. There will be music, an ice cream sundae bar, and a gift giveaway at the event. The purpose of the Volunteer Appreciation Event is to ensure that all Our Daily Bread volunteers receive a personalized and meaningful acknowledgement for their efforts.
For the month of February, AmeriCorps VISTA Daisy Martinez has been focused on the Night of Hope fundraiser happening April 6th. Every year, Giving Hope, Inc. hosts A Night of Hope in order to raise money to assist the homeless and potentially homeless in Denton County. The event consists of a Dinner event, Cake Auction, and a Silent Auction. Last year, the agency raised a little over $20,000. This year they have doubled their goal to $40,000 and are putting in all their effort to reach it. So far the agency has been able to raise $27,250. Daisy has created master spreadsheets to track Sponsorship Sales, Ticket Sales, and Donations made to the Night of Hope Event. This way she is able to update the Board Members and Staff on their progress. In order to bring in more donations for the silent auction, Daisy recruited three volunteers from the University of North Texas who are eager to help a local non-profit. Combined, they will volunteer a total of 55 hours in the weeks to come. Along with all the work she is putting into Night of Hope, Daisy has completed two grant applications totaling $17,950. The grants are requesting funding for a variety of things such as a partial salary for their Street Outreach Specialist, and summer activities for the children of the parents involved in two of our programs.
February was the last month of service for VISTA Casey McCollum, and he focused his efforts on ending one of his larger projects. Through a grant awarded in the previous month, Casey focused on procuring a work van for his agency Denton Affordable Housing (DAH). Through research, he found a great deal on a used van in Ft. Worth. It is a 2011 model vehicle with 95,000 miles, in really good shape. The grant was awarded for $18,000, but the VISTA was able to talk the seller down to $14,000 which will allow DAH to use the remaining funds for signage on the van and an insurance policy. The remaining amount will be sent back to CoServ. This van will be a great asset to DAH by saving money paid out to contractors for mileage to their personal vehicles.
In January 2017, AmeriCorps VISTA Melanie Kuriger, serving with Plano Children’s Theatre, helped develop a spreadsheet for tracking and providing details about potential grants and their corresponding foundations/charitable organizations. She had noticed that the previous method of recording information about potential funders did not include a way of monitoring the next steps needed in the process. She developed a spreadsheet that took this into consideration, including a way to record important details that would help her organization become better at time management when it comes to grant-writing. The information in the spreadsheet is also very easily translated into a timeline or Gantt chart, as it includes a place to record due dates and suggested action/action dates. As she’s been working on logistics for submitting grants, Melanie was able to help submit a small grant to Texas Health Resources for $3,000. Her early work in January will hopefully prove to bring great rewards to Plano Children’s Theatre throughout the rest of the year!