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Success Stories

View success stories about how #GrantsWork for other organizations below.

The Waterfront Botanical Gardens project in Louisville, KY
Paula Swope


Grants have played a fundamental role in bringing Louisville, KY's first state-of-the-art botanical gardens to life! The Waterfront Botanical Gardens is being built on a 23 acre site that was once a landfill. Through revitalization efforts partially paid for with grants, Louisville now has a new green space for the community to enjoy. The Waterfront Botanical Gardens strives to be a net zero energy site filled with net zero buildings. On September 15, 2017, construction begins on the site's first building - The Graeser Family Education Center.

The Graeser Family Education Center is the cornerstone of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens project. It is not only our vehicle for providing environmental education to the community, but it is also the primary means for sustainability for the project. This net zero building has a $6,505.000 price tag. 1,900 individual donors and 15 grantmakers have contributed to construction costs to ensure this building is open by 2019. Louisville is the only city of its size to not have a botanical gardens, but because of grants this is about to change.

We have worked tirelessly to create a new green space for residents of Jefferson County and Southern Indiana. The site of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens was once a municipal landfill ridden with environmental issues, and virtually useless to anyone. After working with state and local officials to revitalize this 23-acre brownfield site, we are turning it into a world-renowned environmental education complex. Since we are building this project in a community plagued by chronic disease, concentrated poverty, and an overall lack of environmental educational programming, there is a need for the Waterfront Botanical Gardens. Grant dollars are not only being put to good use, but they are being used to modify years and years of damage caused by unhealthy behaviors.

Due to the fact that there is an overall lack of environmental education in our service region, the impact of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens is undeniable. The Waterfront Botanical Gardens is not officially open and it has already impacted nearly 500 students. When the Education Center opens, we can serve over 5,000 kids annually, use 250 volunteers, serve 100 teachers, create 50+ jobs, and attract 100,000 visitors. The desired change in the community is brought about through the environmental education programming, which has been empirically shown to modify unhealthy behaviors.

Specifically, the project provides STEAM curriculum for school students, internship opportunities for college students, adult learning programs for all ages, a multitude of educational and experiential fairs and festivals, and cross-cultural events and performances. Measurable outcomes include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Decreased juvenile diabetes rates
  • Decreased obesity rates
  • Job creation – improving lives
  • Increased resiliency against climate change
  • Increased sustainability
  • Healthier eating habits
  • Adjacent neighborhood revitalization
  • Increase quality of life in this region
We could not be doing this valuable work without assistance from like-minded funders. The Waterfront Botanical Gardens project is a true example of how grants are being used to better the lives of people living in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Words cannot describe how thankful we are for our funders!
Encore Bridge Grand Opening
Amanda Day, GPC

My biggest grant award ($4M) came to life today w/ Encore Bridge Grand Opening. So proud of @alpharettagov @NorthFultonCID!



At @CentroNia #GrantsWork by ensuring all children in our region have access to high-quality early childhood education. 

Founded in Washington, DC in 1986, CentroNía is a multicultural learning community with a pioneering approach to bilingual early childhood education (ECE) that promotes school readiness, provides comprehensive family support services, and is a leader in ECE best practices and professional learning. Our research-based whole-family approach ensures that the most significant influences on a child, their parents and their teachers, collaborate to provide healthy and successful futures for students. We recognize the far-reaching, multi-generational benefits of high-quality early childhood education programs, however access is a challenge for many families in the Washington region. The grants we receive provide critical funding for our high-quality comprehensive programming costs and allow us to offer affordable services for the low-income, working families in our community. With access to high-quality, full-day childcare, parents are able to remain employed, gain education and skills training, and overcome a variety of challenges with the help of our comprehensive supportive services. The impact of our grant funding is reflected by the success stories of the many young people who were once our early learners.

Brian’s Story: 
Brian is a CentroNía alumnus. His parents emigrated from El Salvador at a very young age and made their home in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. When Brian and his three siblings were born, they all attended the CentroNía program starting off as infants through their adolescent years. Both of Brian’s parents worked long hours in order to afford rent and other expenses. They desperately needed affordable and trustworthy childcare for their young children. Brian was enrolled in CentroNía at three months and continued on to complete Pre-K and then enrolled in the out-of-school time program throughout elementary school. He describes his time at CentroNía as amazing, energetic, and playful. This past summer, while most students were enjoying their summer vacations and spending some time with friends, at age 16, Brian was working hard to achieve an important goal: “give [his] mom a better life”. Brian, is currently a junior at Woodrow Wilson High School and this is the second summer he returned to volunteer at the place he calls home, CentroNía. “CentroNía taught me that play and discipline can go hand-in-hand” Brian says. “Without CentroNía, life would have been more challenging and difficult for my mother. While she worked to provide for me and my brother, she knew I was in a safe place. She didn’t have to stress out.” he says. Today, Brian is preparing for college with the plan to study software engineering. Dedicating his summer to support younger students’ education and growth is extremely important for Brian and his vision for being a successful and contributing community citizen.  


A Small Grant with Big Results*
Zoe Garvin

From 2010-2012, I worked as the Development Director of a community-based organization in San Francisco that provides residential behavioral health treatment for American Indians through a holistic, culturally specific approach. Each year, the development department was responsible for conducting an agency-wide evaluation on client demographics, needs, outcomes, and service usage. It was designed to be more comprehensive than a typical grant report by identifying trends across all agency programs.

In 2011, we found out about a capacity building funding opportunity from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to support HIV/AIDS related training and education among behavioral health service providers. One of the grant requirements was to promote the use of the NLM electronic library as a resource for client information and referrals. We knew that the behavioral health issues and socioeconomic status of our clients were major risk factors for HIV/AIDS, and
that the number of HIV+ clients in the program was steadily increasing. So we decided to pursue this grant as part of a capacity building project for increasing computer literacy among staff while also responding to the emerging need for increased HIV/AIDS education.

We received $10,000 from the NLM and embarked on our capacity building project. We developed a culturally relevant HIV/AIDS training curriculum and used a portion of the funds for on-site computer training for staff, where they used the NLM library to practice retrieving information to incorporate into client treatment plans.

The impact of this small, one-time grant was huge and paved the way for subsequent capacity building through technology. In just six months, all agency staff had participated in culturally tailored prevention trainings on HIV/AIDS risk factors, transmission routes, and debunking myths and stigmas. The computer trainings increased their technical competencies and exposed them to reliable sources for HIV/AIDS information. They became more knowledgeable about
HIV/AIDS while also improving their computer skills, which increased program capacity by streamlining clinical processes.

*Excerpt from blog.


Creating Change in Communities - A High School Lunch Program*
Micki Vandeloo, GPC

The High School Lunch program was started by the then-new pastor of the church, who has a very strong mission to integrate the church into the community. In 2011, the pastor met with the church board (on which my father has served for years) and asked them if they could offer lunches to high school students once a week with transportation to get the kids to and from school safely and on time. The board agreed, and the High School Lunch Program was born.   

In 2013, my dad asked if there would be any grants available to help support the program, as it was getting very expensive to run it and they really wanted to get a used bus or van to use instead of the personal cars that were transporting the kids, which was a liability and safety risk.  I did some research and found a grant program through Pioneer Seed to fund community food projects and felt, based on initial discussions, the High School Lunch Program was a good fit. I decided to do this work pro bono, as I try to do at least one such grant a year in my or my parents’ community.

So, in the spring of 2013, I worked with the church leadership and volunteers from the program to help them design a program to incorporate nutritional counseling and meal planning from the local health department into the Lunch Program and request funds for the purchase of a used van.  The grant process was very new to all the members of the grant team, but they were great to work with.  We submitted the application in May of 2013, and received word in the summer that we had received funding to support the program!

While it was great to receive the grant for the church, the most rewarding part of getting grant funding and seeing it in action has been watching this program grow.  They got a used van with the money and one of the church members (not my father, thank goodness as he is in his 80’s) now picks up and drops off kids using the van, not personal cars.  My dad says it took the kids awhile to accept the healthier choices, but the people preparing the food at the church do a great job of including at least one sweet item to keep them coming back! 

*Excerpt from blog.


A Collaborative Rain Garden*
Julie Johnson

I had heard of rain gardens. I had an inkling that they helped the environment. I didn’t know any specifics. When my local food co-op store had a rain garden proposal for a community-wide contest, I became involved as a volunteer. Now, thanks to the work of many hands, we can see a rain garden in action.

The grocery store wanted to solve three problems: 1) rebuild the adjoining municipal parking lot to eliminate huge, standing water puddles near its entrance, 2) capture rain water in a garden to clean pollutants before flowing directly into the Mississippi River, and 3) incorporate more plants in the plethora of downtown impervious surfaces.

The store didn’t win the initial community contest, but city leaders said they liked the proposal and, if the store could, “find the money,” it might be a doable project. I found the money. A state pollution control agency grant called for clean water partnership proposals. The store manager linked the RFP to city leaders, and they agreed to submit an application. I had done so much research about rain gardens, watershed districts and government programs while looking for a matching grant opportunity that the port authority (owner of the parking lot) hired me to write the proposal.

The rain garden grant was awarded. Now the parking lot water runs to a central garden, which slows the flow and filters it before it enters drain pipes to the Mississippi River. The port authority has a brand new lot at a 50% match of the cost. The city gained experience in implementing green infrastructure. The store gets a safe, dry entrance and a large garden to plant. All the stakeholders have a central, visible garden to serve as an educational tool. And our state invested public money in a project with mandated environmental benefits.

Through a collaborative process, our community gained a parking lot with green infrastructure this fall. The new garden is tucked in for the upcoming winter and ready for an intensive spring planting. Let it rain and snow! We’re ready to capture the run-off.

*Excerpt from blog.


Save the River*
Diane H. Leonard, GPC

As a grant professional, we are often at our desk behind the computer monitor (okay, monitors plural!) working on the next application, focused on the upcoming deadline and not necessarily seeing our grant funding in action. Sounds familiar, right? I think you will agree then that it is a wonderful treat when we are able to step away from the computer and to be reminded of why we do this work. I had the privilege to have such an opportunity this past week.

I am honored to work with Save The River, a wonderful organization in the town where DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services is based, that is the Riverkeeper for the St. Lawrence River. They have been running a program, Save The River In the Schools for the past SIX years. Hundreds, and now thousands of youth from around the region have been educated about the environment, the natural environment of the St. Lawrence River, and how it is that they can impact the health of the River.

The programs that my team and I have the privilege to support through our grant writing are incredibly varied. From multi-million dollar i3 scale-up projects to basic need grants for a region’s largest daily hot meal provider to programs that directly touch my own children’s lives like the Save The River “In The Schools” program. Each program is incredibly important to those that are served.

Departing from the boat that afternoon, waving to the kindergartners excitedly talking about their experiences for the day as they climbed on the bus, my heart was bursting with pride of what “just” a few small grants can do to make a difference in the lives of 50 small children in Upstate New York. 

*Excerpt from blog.


Dancing With Sea Lions project of the Friends of the Florence Events Center
Susy Lacer, GPC

This public art project gave 20 regional artists the chance to turn life-size, fiberglass Steller Sea Lions into unique art; then allowed thousands of rural residents and visitors to literally explore the result. We celebrated 20 years of the Florence Events Center and the growing ripple effect of arts. Dancing Sea Lions were displayed April-October, from Newport to Reedsport, Oregon (72 miles).

Survey results showed 100% of respondents believed the project increased their exposure to public art. "Florence is becoming known for the arts and this was a great event to showcase talented artists!" "Our three year old always points them out as we drive by them on our streets. She loves them all so much. Learning about art forms, and appreciating them needs to be started early for children to continue that into their lives, and this is a great project!" "I love public art, and the sea lions gave me a chance and the awareness to see more of it."

Once Dancing Sea Lions began appearing, the community buzz was palpable. The project engaged people who don't normally view or enjoy art, it linked artists with the public, it enhanced local business, and created a sense of unity and camaraderie.


Olmsted Center for Sight
Colin Fleming

Via NY state grant, folks w/disabilities can now receive career training at the @Statler_Center (program of @olmstedCenter)!


South Puget Sound Mobile Search and Rescue
Deanna Brown

Grants have impacted our Search & Rescue Organization tremendously making our VOLUNTEER jobs safer & much more efficient we have improved our services we provide over the past 5 years by creating impacting grant projects that have allowed our organization to purchase much needed Search & Rescue equipment from a wheeled litter for transport as well as helmets, life jackets and Hi-Viz clothing just to name a few. #GrantsWork #SAVINGLIVES

South Puget Sound Mobile Search and Rescue (SPSMSAR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ALL volunteer ran Organization that specializes in providing various forms of Mobile Support, (4x4, ATV, Mountain Bike, K9 & Mobile/Base Support) to the official agencies responsible for search and rescue operations in Washington State, as well as the Department of Emergency Management in time of need, such as disaster or inclement weather.


White's Residential & Family Services
Kelley Renz

Empowering a foster family to open their home to an infant in need was one accomplishment of a grant we received. Many foster homes struggle to make ends meet financially; and, when faced with the need for car seats, safety gates, high chairs, electrical plug protectors, fire extinguishers, and a second-story escape ladder, some just may not be able to extend themselves and accept that baby. With the Keeping Kids Safe grant, we were able to provide these items for more than a few families! White's Residential & Family Services thanks the Community Foundation of Wabash County!

Phipps Carr Consulting
Susan Phipps Carr

Over 3,000 elderly and disabled people in Southern California are living and thriving in affordable, accessible housing because of 200 grants written by me on behalf of 40 nonprofit agencies. 

Kim Theva

See impact through the clients words... stories under AIM's 'news,'

C2Hills Consultancy
Danielle Maltman

Grants have made a significant impact in the rural areas of our the clients. Grants change lives and improve our local communities. Businesses thrive, schools, sporting groups and not for profit organisations are equipped to grow.

One successful C2Hills Consultancy project was delivered in our home town, thanks to a fantastic collaboration with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council & the Federal Government. Danielle Maltman wrote a successful application securing a $540,000 grant for this project in the Commonwealth's Building Better Regions Fund. Now everyone will be able to have improved access to our historic Tacking Point Lighthouse, thanks to matched funding from Council in delivery of a $1.08 million project which includes a range of road upgrades planned from Matthew Flinders Drive to the Lighthouse including kerb and guttering, stormwater drainage, footpath from Davis Cresent to the Lighthouse and a formalised car park.

Port Macquarie Primary School P & C secured funding to create their new " Inclusive, Sensory Space" for the Port Macquarie Primary School Special Education Unit. Today Port Macquarie Primary School was presented their funding at the Port City Bowling Club 2019 Club Grants presentation. Congratulations to Chris Bawns for securing funding that supports education & inclusiveness in our regional NSW schools and to the fantastic team at Port Macquarie Primary School.