Words Create Impact: Islanders Improve Community through Grant Writing

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Words are powerful. Not only do they convey concepts, thoughts, and feelings but they also translate into real world change. This was a lesson learned by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi graduate and undergraduate students recently enrolled in grant writing courses as their hard work contributed to the mission of local nonprofits and organizations.

“When students write grants for agencies in their community, the stakes are real. They put forth their best effort, and they go the extra mile,” said Dr. Charles Etheridge, professor of English, who taught the graduate version of the course. “I’m proud as a papa of each of these students.  Because of them, children will strengthen literacy skills, firefighters will be safer, children in foster care will get more support, and the homeless will receive more services. That’s quite an ‘honor roll.’”

Writing a grant is a long and laborious process – one that takes many hours of research and collaboration. Over the duration of the class, students honed their grant writing skills while working with classmates on a grant for the Coastal Bend Food Bank, or another local nonprofit. Then, after gaining experience, each student chose a nonprofit or organization with a mission close to their heart – allowing them to utilize their new skills and work with clients in a real-world setting.

The four students whose grant applications recently received full or partial funding include:

  • Gabriel Cuellar wrote a grant application on behalf of the Friends of Corpus Christi Public Libraries, a nonprofit organization that enhances resources and programs for the Corpus Christi public library system. The $2,000 grant will fund multiple tiny libraries to provide developmentally appropriate literacy materials to children in at-risk neighborhoods.
  • Kenneth Erben wrote a grant application on behalf of the Corpus Christi Fire Department (CCFD). The $7,086 grant will allow CCFD to replace inventory shortage in batteries used for cardiac monitoring, pacing and defibrillation devices.
  • Catarina Murphy wrote a grant application on behalf of A World for Children, a nonprofit foster care organization for abused and neglected children. Funds from the $2,500 grant will allow A World for Children to send children to a camp that will teach them skills to navigate life after being in the foster care system.
  • Monique Treviño wrote a grant application on behalf of the Mother Teresa Shelter, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that provides services to homeless members of the community. Funds from the grant will allow the Mother Teresa Shelter to better serve the homeless population of the Coastal Bend.
Along with these grants, the group grant written by the spring 2018 undergraduate grant writing class, taught by Dan Riechers, senior research development officer, was funded as well. The $5,000 grant, courtesy of the Ed Rachel Foundation, will benefit the Coastal Bend Food Bank.