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Pathways to Growth President, Julé Colvin presenting the first Give Back Initiative quarterly grant to University Area CDC.

It has been an exciting year at Pathways to Growth! In 2018, we expanded our grant writing and management team, served 44 clients through grant writing and capacity building, taught grant writing to 50 students, and helped organizations from 8 states and 3 countries to find funding to sustain and grow their work. We are blessed to work with such a great group of grant writers and nonprofit organizations. Because our writers often work “behind the scenes,” we thought it would be fun to spotlight their favorite moments from the past year of hard work at Pathways to Growth.

Alicia Regan

“The highlight of my year was having the honor to write a grant for University Area CDC that spotlighted the local community hero, Angelo Russo (also known as “Papa Russo”).  In the course of the application, I interviewed Papa Russo and was truly inspired by his selfless nature and commitment to making a better future for the youth in his community. In just three short years of volunteering, Angelo’s donations have created a soccer league, baseball league, hockey league, and, starting this past October, a basketball league at the UACDC. For most of these children, the athletic programs the UACDC offers are their only opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities and socialize outside of school. The equipment collected is worth so much more than its monetary value. Its true value is the ability to offer these children the opportunity to be active, healthy, and stay out of trouble.”

Sarah Bonema

“The highlight of my year was finding three new funders for one of my favorite clients — A Brighter Community. Since 2016, we have raised almost $450,000 in grants big and small to support the work of this preschool that has provided affordable early childhood education to children from low-income households in Tampa Heights since 1922. As a parent of preschool-aged children, I understand how much A Brighter Community’s work impacts the lives of these children and their families. It has been my joy to be a small part of their mission, to achieve tangible results that keep their work going, and to show my daughters how we can use our gifts to uplift others.”

Sharon Fennell Kennedy

“My best Pathways to Growth moment comes every time I receive word that a grant I wrote has been won, especially when it is fully funded. This ‘reward’ is validation of the time spent researching, writing, re-writing and ultimately submitting a strong, winning proposal. I am ecstatic for my client and Pathways to Growth when I can deliver a positive result.”

Diane DiGiacomo

“In 2018, like each of the four years since I’ve been consulting, including grant-writing, I took great satisfaction in learning about something new and important. This year I did grant writing for the Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS), and I learned about the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in people of all ages. For instance, I learned that every 13 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a TBI, most often through a car accident, fall or sports injury. I also was reminded what an important role nonprofit organizations in our country play in addressing all kinds of issues we face.”

Ellen Stone

“My best moment of 2018 was working with a small nonprofit to write template letters of inquiry and proposals. As we were writing the grants and gathering the documents in the Toolbox, the organization didn’t have several of the documents funders were likely to require. I created templates or pulled samples from online and sent them to the client with directions for what needed to be included. The client wanted to learn so his organization could be successful, and was very appreciative of the additional information. By working together to build the background documents, I was able to write better grants that are more likely to be funded, and the organization now has better documentation that sets it up for success in future grant writing endeavors.”

Chrissy Bond

“I attended the Tampa Bay Lightning game and watched our client, Herb Schluderberg of Fresh Start Mentoring, be recognized with the Lightning Community Hero Award for his years of sacrificial service to those who truly need someone to care. While watching his beaming face on the jumbo screen, I thought about how beautiful it was to see him finally recognized for years of unrecognized service to man, and how grateful I was to be a small part of it. I thought of Laura, who helped me navigate our writing tools, Julé, who answered any question I had, and Sarah, who dissected and refined my writing to make it a better, superior product. I was truly grateful to be part of a team – one that strives for excellence and cares about helping others succeed.”

We want to thank every client, referral partner, friend, and cheerleader who has helped us achieve such a successful year! Later in 2019, we will share a more detailed annual report about our accomplishments on behalf of our clients and the communities they serve. For now, we wish you a happy 2019—full of uplifting moments like these!