HCDE’s Center for Grants Development Team Acquires Funding for New, Current Programs During Pandemic
With a staff of six, HCDE’s Center for Grants Development (CGD) team prepares proposals to create new HCDE programs and expand existing ones. Since the pandemic’s March arrival in Houston, the center’s work has not slowed, and the team continues to meet deadlines. Staff members prepared 20 grant and bid proposals totaling $14.6 million. While many are still pending, a half million in funding has been awarded for proposals submitted during trying times. “It’s been an intense time for everyone, including the grants office,” CGD Manager Joyce Akins said. A bulk of CGD proposals help continue services critical to Houston-area families such as federal funding for Head Start/Early Head Start, adult education and afterschool. Headed by CGD Director Gayla Rawlinson Maynard, three other grant professionals, a funding researcher and a support staff apply their expertise. Their knowledge also benefits area school districts and their respective grant specialists.
“We host a District Grants Network which is comprised of grant specialists and others assigned to work on grants,” Maynard said. “This network offers the districts opportunities to share best practices and grant opportunities.”Innovative services are made reality because of partnerships between community stakeholders. New programs come to fruition as grants provide funding. An example is the CASE for Kids grant from Houston Endowment. The $500,000 grant funds a new 2020-2021 online program for youth in afterschool as students investigate new hobbies and careers. In the process, students will earn badges in collaboration with local companies, nonprofits or foundations. The SuperMENtors Read program will receive funding this school year from a $7,020 Bank of Texas grant as male mentors adopt a pre-k class for the year and share books with the children. “We partnered with Educator Certification and Advancement and two school districts on a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education Teacher and School Leader Incentive Grant,” Maynard said. “We also worked with Center for Safe and Secure Schools and the Teaching and Learning Center to prepare bid proposals to area districts.” Staff also connects with funders and assists with sponsorships like the upcoming virtual School Safety Summit and Scholastic Art & Writing Receptions. Maynard would like HCDE employees to benefit from CGD services too. An e-newsletter called “Funding Opportunities” published weekly helps divisions find grants and opportunities to collaborate with other organizations. “Grants for Educators” provides opportunities to school districts and teachers. What are the qualities it takes to make a top-notch grants team? Director Maynard says excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential, along with top-shelf research skills and impeccable organizational abilities. It’s essential to understand the agency needing the funding and the organization offering the money. A good grant specialist also understands and executes complex instructions with fine-turned attention to detail. CGD Division team members are available for advice and questions through email during the pandemic. The team includes: Gayla Rawlinson Maynard, director, firstname.lastname@example.org; Joyce Akins, manager, email@example.com; Dr. Vida L. Avery, resource development specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sharvon Pipkins Kamaya, development coordinator,mailto:email@example.com; Kristal Johnson, development associate firstname.lastname@example.org; and Illiana Gonzalez, secretary, email@example.com. Source: HCDE