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The Seven Deadly Sins of Grant Seeking

Alan Silver’s book, How to Win Grants: 101 Winning Strategies, lists seven deadly sins of grant seeking. Has your organization committed any of these sins? 1. Don’t ask for money from people who will never give it to you;  Do ask potential investors who believe in your mission and are passionate about your cause.  2.  Don’t shotgun cookie-cutter proposals to long lists of funders; Do customize your proposal or case statement to show that your services support the funders’ mission and priority areas. 3.  Don’t contact funders until you have learned about their funding priorities, types of projects and grantees, geographic preferences, and all other things you can find out about them; Do your research before you contact a potential

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Guidance for Creating Promise Neighborhoods

  A new report from The Urban Institute, Measuring Performance: A Guidance Document for Promise Neighborhoods on Collecting Data and Reporting Results, provides recommendations on data collection and strategies to track progress over time and ensure program efficiency and effectiveness.  Other place-based initiatives and organizations working to improve schools and early childhood education programs in their communities may find these recommendations useful for measuring the progress of their efforts. Promise Neighborhoods is a federal place-based initiative intended to turn neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity by providing a continuum of school readiness, academic services, and family and community supports for children from early childhood through college. The initiative seeks to improve kindergarten readiness, proficiency in core subjects, high

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New PBS Play and Learn Free App Helps Engage Parents in Their Children’s Education

  PBS’ first app designed specifically for parents, “PBS Parents Play & Learn” provides more than a dozen reading and math games parents can play with their kids. PC Mag gives the app an Editor’s Choice Award, calling it “a dream come true for parents.”  The app is bilingual (English/Spanish) and makes it easy for parents to seize upon those daily “teachable moments” through theme-based interactive games and simple hands-on activities that connect math and literacy skills to everyday experiences. Each game comes with a parent note that provides information about the math and literacy skills woven into the game and suggestions for effective ways to interact with a child while playing the game to maximize the learning experience. The

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Nomination for Indiana’s Governor’s Service Award

  The Governor’s Service Awards are the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives’ most prestigious award for volunteer service.  The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is currently seeking nominations for the awards to be given in the fall of 2013.  The 2013 honorees will be recognized for outstanding volunteer contributions to causes that include health care, neighborhood revitalization, youth and senior activities, the arts, education, justice, housing, nutrition and social services at the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building Awards ceremony (date to be announced). Any Indiana resident or Indiana based organization (or Indiana office of a national or regional organization) is eligible and any individual or group may nominate one or more individuals or organizations.

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$474.5 Million in New Grants Available for Career Training Partnerships between Community Colleges and Employers

  The U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, announced the availability of $474.5 million in third round grants from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (“TAACCCT”) program to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers in high-need fields. Institutions or consortiums that are interested in applying for funding can visit www.grants.gov for more information on this grant program. This latest round of funding will invest in innovative and evidence-based training models that include strong partnerships with local employers and employer organizations, including sector-based strategies. Funds will also encourage community colleges to better track data on the employment and earnings of students after they

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Proposed 2014 Federal Budget Tightens Funding for Nonprofits: Emphasizes Program Outcomes, Innovation And Stretching Existing Resources

  Recently, the Obama Administration announced its proposed 2014 Federal Budget, which included several key funding elements for programs relevant to nonprofits, philanthropic, faith-based and other community organizations.  The President’s 2014 budget replaces the sequester that went into effect in March 2013, which if approved by Congress would alleviate the federal belt tightening that has trickled down to the state and local level. Nevertheless, while some programs such as Head Start would see increased funding, other programs would receive less funding in order to help meet the President’s goal of another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction.  The Administration emphasizes that it wants to encourage investments in program outcomes, not just outputs; enable nonprofits to support innovation and scale what works;

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5 Steps to Create SMART Goals

  Goals provide direction and focus for our organizations.  Goals unite stakeholders around a common mission and provide a pathway for moving forward, or do they?  We know that is the intention and purpose of goals.  However, we often see organizations use general language for their goals that does not differentiate their organization from the next one. There is a simple test that we use to determine the strength of a goal – S.M.A.R.T. When your goal can pass the five steps listed below, then you are well on your way to having quality information that you will be proud to share and your stakeholders will be excited to receive. 1. Specific – Explicitly state what you want to happen,

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Newly Established Councils Will Provide Job Skills Training for Hoosier Students

  New bills creating Indiana Works Councils and the Indiana Career Council were signed into law Monday, April 15th by Governor Mike Pence after both measures received unprecedented unanimous, bipartisan support in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly. These new Councils are designed to increase coordination between the state’s educational, job skills and career training systems to help prepare Hoosier youth for college and the workforce. Indiana Works Councils will be established on a regional basis across the state, bringing together local employers, workforce development officials and educators appointed by Governor Pence. By November 1, 2013, these councils will provide comprehensive reports identifying career, vocational and technical employment opportunities in their regions, including high wage, high demand jobs. The

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Involving Youth in Your Evaluation

  Evaluating your organization, its services and impact is fundamental to create sustainable and transformational change in your community.  Where is your organization in the process of evaluation?  Has your organization included youth, or another stakeholder group, in the evaluation process?  How did you use their input to inform decision-making? The Minnesota Youth Work Institute recently held a symposium on Putting Youth Participatory Evaluation into Action: Lessons Learned and Innovations.  In this presentation, Professor Katie Richards-Schuster, assistant research scientist in the Michigan Youth and Community Program at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, shared lessons and innovations from Detroit, Michigan and other cities utilizing youth participatory evaluation, and the implications of this evaluative practice in local communities and the field

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2013 Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) Grant Competition

  The U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $150 million 2013 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition.   The i3 program aims to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare every student to succeed in college and in their careers. The i3 program includes three grant categories: Development Validation Scale-up The first iteration of applications is for the Development grant category, which funds grantees with promising but relatively untested ideas.  The deadline for the pre-application is April 26, 2013.  Selected applicants will be invited to apply for the Development competition and complete their full application. The Department plans to announce applications for the Validation and Scale-up categories later this spring. This year’s priorities for the

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