Community leaders and REV Birmingham are working together this spring to strengthen our collective grant-writing skills, taking advantage of an opportunity to learn best practices from the experts right here in our city. Because, yes, grants equal money – but in the non-profit world money equals IMPACT.
REV works in Birmingham’s historic urban commercial districts, following the Main Street Four-Point Approach to community revitalization: Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Vitality. The Organization phase involves identifying stakeholders in the commercial districts and defining a common set of goals and strategies. As REV builds relationships and works with each community through the Organization phase, we develop strategies and project plans that require funding. Securing that funding, in a community with great need, is a highly competitive process.
Fortunately, Birmingham is a place where expertise is also plentiful, especially with the extra grant-writing brainpower concentrated at UAB. REV, as well as citizen partners from Woodlawn and Five Points West, are participating in The Gulf States Community Research Fellows Program, a 16-week grant-writing program designed to empower citizens to do the research required by some grants to better the communities where they live and work. The classes are led by a new instructor each week. Some lecturers are community members from Birmingham, the majority of which are doctors, professors or employees of UAB Medicine.
The program is free and is open to anyone passionate about a community-based cause. Twenty members are participating in the weekly class, representing several communities across Birmingham. The class is sponsored by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Gulf States Health Policy Center, and the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center.