William E. Jeffries III, MCP, will be teaching Grant/Proposal Writing at Purchase College Continuing Education this spring. Jeffries has more than 14 years of project development and grant writing experience, mainly in the performing and visual arts sectors. He has secured more than $3 million in grants and administered another $3 million in funded projects. Here are some insights from a recent interview with him:
What got you started in your field? When did you discover your passion for it? Like many grant writers, I stumbled into the profession by accident. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked for a Public Housing Authority as a Youth Coordinator and part of the job involved making grant reports on the state funded youth programs that I was charged with implementing. It turned out that I had a real gift in this area and decided to get more experience. I later went to graduate school and obtained a Masters Degree in Community Planning. While there, I really learned how to put together and evaluate projects that could be submitted for grant funding. During graduate school, I secured a job with the Appalachian Regional Commission and learned about grants from the perspective of a grantor and grant reviewer.
After working for an orchestra and arts and science center for the past decade, I now specialize in informal arts and science education grants and arts funding in general.
I also served as a President for a contemporary dance company and learned a great deal about how arts nonprofits work and don’t work.
What question do you wish an interviewer would ask you, and what is the answer? What are some general traits that successful grant writers share?
- The ability to balance strong attention to detail with the ability to maintain a broader perspective and long term view
- The ability to take in and condense large amounts of data and information and rework it into more general terms
- Knowledge and applied experience on how to break down problems, projects or very large assignments into smaller, workable pieces without diluting or compromising the original intent or goal
- The ability to maintain a strong ethical and professional code
- The ability and patience to educate people in a continual basis about the grant writing field
The Grant/Proposal Writing course will be held Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. and runs from February 16-March 16, 2011. Click here for information about the certificate program in Fundraising and Board Development in partnership with the Association of Development Officers (ADO) and here for more information about the Writers Collective.