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September/October 2001Vol. 2, No. 5Grantwriting for Children's Advocacy Centers

"Get back to basics"—that was the main message at a workshop on writing successful grants for Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs). Presenters Jenna Mehnert and Benjamin Murray, grant reviewers of the National Children's Alliance advised participants to focus on determining their primary goals and objectives for the grants they pursue.

The workshop took place in Washington, DC, in June at the ninth annual colloquium of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). Mehnert and Murray said that to find funding, CACs should explore all avenues with foundations, corporations, local associations, and government. They also recommended the website of the Foundation Center ( as a resource and suggested that participants subscribe to mailing lists of organizations that fund programs for children.

Mehnert and Murray also offered the following tips:

  • Budget like it's your own money. Research real costs, explain in detail, and be realistic about equipment. If you don't need it or will not be able to spend it, don't ask for it.
  • Follow directions. Understand the application and what services the funder will fund. Follow the given format--reviewers will receive many proposals and they don't want to hunt for information.
  • Words matter. If you want money to solve a problem, you need to effectively articulate the circumstances. Demonstrate your knowledge of the facts, and connect the solution to the problem. Your tone should be positive and proactive, exhibiting excitement and commitment.
  • Planning pays. Include the process by which tasks will be accomplished for your project goals, and demonstrate your knowledge of the effort required.
  • Get to the point. Identify the problem, strongly state your commitment, and be realistic and concrete in what you propose to do with funds.
  • Remember that "no" is not always negative. Ask for constructive criticism, keep your agency on their radar for newsletters and event invitations, and ask for suggestions or guidance with other funders.

For more information on the National Children's Alliance, including grants and proposals, contact:

Jenna Mehnert, MSW
Director, Program Management
National Children's Alliance
1319 F St., NW
Suite 1001
Washington, DC 20004-1106
Phone: 202-639-0597
Fax: 202-639-0511

To purchase a copy of the audiotaped presentation from the 9th Annual APSAC Colloquium, "Grant Writing Fundamentals" (program #210620, session #240), contact:

Audio Archives International, Inc.
3043 Foothill Blvd., Suite 2
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Phone: 800-747-8069
Fax: 818-957-0876

Related Items

Visit the funding information area on the website of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information for information about Federal funding sources for projects that address the problems of child abuse and neglect (

A special issue of the Connect for Kids Weekly compiles funding resources to help you plan a project, write a proposal, and get funded at: