A Loving Heart Youth Services in Dayton, Ohio, believes that the circumstances of at-risk youth should not dictate who they are or what they become. And in many ways, they stick to that thinking when it comes to their own organization, too.
As is the case for so many nonprofits, time and money is often in short supply. But A Loving Heart doesn’t let that affect their work. They know that if they need money, they can secure it with grants. If they don’t have time to find and win those grants, they have a partner who can help.
A Loving Heart, which originally started as a daycare two decades ago, has provided residential, structured group home and foster care services for girls ages 14 – 18 since 2013. In addition to providing a caring and productive living environment, A Loving Heart offers youth support and programming to teach the skills necessary to live successfully at home or in an independent living environment. These programs include mentoring; anger management and conflict resolution counseling; mental and emotional skills building; and career and life training.
A Loving Heart strives to be a catalyst for positive change in youths’ lives and help at-risk girls overcome challenges to attain higher education. The organization already offers services around academic skills enhancement. Now it aims to add after-school programming to its supports. “We want to expand into after-school programs to work with schools on the emotional issues a child might have that could get in the way of learning,” says William Peterson, M.Ed., Business and Operations Manager.
A Loving Heart needed grant money to help them fulfill this mission and the assistance of a grant-writing firm to find and secure those funds. In 2015, they began their search. Grant-writing firm Resource Associates stood out from other grant writers because of its deep knowledge of education and ability to match A Loving Heart with the right grants for accomplishing their goals.
Resource Associates first compiled a Grant Research Opportunity Report for A Loving Heart. “We really don’t have the time to spend hours looking for grants,” says Peterson. “Resource Associates was able to bring the right grants to us. They were able to say, ‘These are the things you do, and these are the grants that would be beneficial for you.’” One of the opportunities identified was a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.
From there, Resource Associates created a grant proposal, handling about 80 percent of the writing with input from Peterson and his team. Through that process, Resource Associates built a convenient template that A Loving Heart can use to write and submit grant applications moving forward.
Perhaps even more valuable than the potential grant money was the time A Loving Heart saved developing the proposal — time that they could devote to their first priority: at-risk youth. “Once we connected with Resource Associates, it was like we had another sta person,” reflects Peterson. “They took a lot o my plate. They were able to identify the grants that made the most sense for us, and we now have a grant application we can work from.”
While A Loving Heart has not yet secured grant funds, they know it’s a process that takes time — which they now have more of thanks to the processes Resources Associates has helped put into place.