WHDC Updates

Resounding Acclaim of WHDC’s Grant Writing Workshop on Logic Model

June 3, 2013

West Harlem Development Corporation held a free grant writing workshop on May 20, 2013. Over 80 organizations filled the hall at Our Children’s Foundation located on 125st. Greeted with continental breakfast from local eatery Primo Cafe’ and packets filled with grant writing materials, the attendees participated in skill building exercises from 9:30 a.m-5:00 p.m. They were then awarded official WHDC grant workshop certificates of completion.

WHDC Executive Director, Kofi Boateng, introduced the workshop’s presenter, Dr. Ursula Embola Ph.D.,who got her start working from Mr. Boateng at the National Puerto Rican Forum. Later she was the the Director of Grants at WeAct in West Harlem.

Now with a Ph.D. in English from Drew University, Director of Corporate and Foundation Giving at The Westchester Medical Center and raising over 17 million dollars in foundation, corporate and government grants for various organizations, she has proven her fear of grants is long gone and as Mr.Boateng said, “passed her teacher”.

Dr. Embola opened the workshop with explanations of grant models, giving the audience mock grant proposals and scenarios to work with. She later created “community-need category” teams amongst the crowd in order to complete the logic models together. Dr. Embola believes logic models are of great importance when writing a grant. “I think it’s crucial; it forces you to think critically about your project as you are designing it, and to ask questions about how you see the project developing from start to finish,” said Dr. Embola. “This kind of thinking must be completed before sitting down to write. “

During the timed exercises, Dr. Embola circulated the room providing one- on- one assistance. The groups presented their logic models to the room. Haffe Acosta, of The Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center, expressed his gratitude for the interactive experience. “Bouncing ideas from others was very useful.” he said.

Chelsey Roebuck, president and co-founder of Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE Inc.), was grateful for the 8-hour workshop and absorbed the logic model concept to benefit his organization. “I thoroughly enjoyed spending the entire day in the grant writing workshop. The greatest takeaway from the day was understanding the logic model. It is helping me to better structure my goals so that they are directly aligned to quantifiable outcomes, indicators, and measures,” says Roebuck. “This formulaic approach will undoubtedly allow ELiTE to better track our impact and remain competitive as we seek increased funding.”

Grant writing requires a recipe of skills and logic to help articulate organizations’ perspectives to potential funders. Dr. Embola conveyed this to the crowd. “I would say being a good writer and being detail oriented are 25% of the package, while 75% involves having the ability to design a great project and articulate that design in a manner that is clear and concise. “ she explained.

Dr. Embola’s last slide had an illustration with the text “Go Forth & Conquer” encouraging the organizations to use their new knowledge of writing competitive grants. Five participants echoing each other in line to receive their certificates summed up the presentation as “better than best!”

For more information about competitive grant writing & logic models check out Dr. Embola’s recommended further reading.

Click here for the evaluation of the workshop.