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Developing Empowering Needs Statements to Advance Equity


Join us to discover how to best make use of the needs statement to honor, uplift, and empower your organizations' constituents. We will discuss how to use strengths-based language that both shapes the perception of groups in high-need situations and respects their abilities and capacity for self-improvement. The presentation will consider how grant professionals can describe the communities they represent in a manner that will shift how funders understand the full social and historical context of their needs, using language to as another tool to support their target population. Panelists will provide context on the role of needs statements in grant applications, practical tools for using language to shape and reflect reality, and an understanding of how equity is shaping the future of fundraising. 

The learning objectives for this session are:  

1. To explore the role of cultural and historical context in shaping our understanding of need, 

2. To discuss strengths-based approaches to writing compelling need statements, and 

3. To convey how empowering language intersects with funding trends.


GPC Competencies Addressed:
How to craft, construct, and submit an effective grant application 
Nationally recognized standards of ethical practice by grant developers
Practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant developers 

Alison Hight's ten-year career has consisted of storytelling in varied media and is informed by an ongoing exploration of the intersection of social change with personal and community narratives. Their work has focused on violence against women, gender rights, supporting trauma, and mental health rights. 

LaTissia Mitchell brings a passion for social justice to her work as a grants professional. She has worked with non-profit organizations for eleven years in Washington, DC and in Berkeley, CA. She recently joined PFLAG National to coordinate foundation and corporate giving. She holds a master's degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and she earned a bachelor's degree with honors from Stanford University in Comparative Literature. 

Sierra has a longstanding passion for social justice, indigenous ways of knowing, and serving the youth of Turtle Island through storytelling. Prior to joining Elevate, she worked as a Youth Development Project Coordinator, where she served Native Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, providing culturally relevant program trainings, newsletter publications, and best practice resources for her clients. She holds her BA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.