Guest blog by ALA member Jeri Brooks-Greenwell
This year, our Department of Maine fundraising focus was to raise money for the purchase of Stryker Transport Chairs to present to our U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital Volunteer Service Department.
Our small ALA unit wanted to participate in this project, but we wondered how we could. That prompted the idea to apply for a grant through the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation Veterans Projects Fund. Should we or shouldn’t we? We were aware of its existence and the purpose for which it was intended, so why not try?
I initiated the idea as unit secretary, with a great deal of nervousness. It was my belief that grant writing took a special kind of technique or writing ability, one that I felt terribly incompetent at. But, with the reassurance of National Headquarters staff and our Department Secretary Michelle McRae, I took a chance. And boy, am I glad I did!
This process could not have been easier. Once we determined that our proposal addressed a specific need which supported our veterans, we were off and running.
We downloaded the five-page application and could not believe our eyes. It was so straightforward and simple — requesting basic information about our unit, the project description and amount desired, an overview of our objective, action steps, and target completion dates, a basic summary section of our proposal, and the actual budget to completion. What was so difficult about that?
After completing the application, we were astonished to receive a prompt email that it had been received by National Headquarters. We anxiously awaited word on its acceptance and/or rejection. And guess what? We were approved!
The award letter contained an equipment use agreement between our unit and the VA, which was completed and signed by both entities and returned to National Headquarters. And, almost immediately, the grant request check was received and, with it, our unit was able to take great pride in its contribution toward this special project for our veterans.
Thank you, American Legion Auxiliary Foundation, for making this a reality!
To learn more about how to apply for an ALA Foundation grant, visit www.ALAFoundation.org/grants.