Each year, Northern Development provides a $7,500 grant to over fifty approved municipalities, regional districts, incorporated improvement districts, and First Nations bands from the Grant Writing Support program to spur employment of locally-based grant writers across the region. This has been a funding partnership of North Peace Economic Development Commission, Northern Development, City of Fort St. John, District of Hudson's Hope, District of Taylor, and Peace River Regional District
Did you know that most communities in Northern Development’s region have a dedicated fundraising professional focused on helping community groups write grants and develop projects? The returns continue to improve every year and in 2010 alone, grant writers applied for over $53 million in community-based projects in the region.
Northern Development’s Grant Writing Support Program is designed to assist municipalities, regional districts and First Nations to build grant-writing capacity and expertise that leads to a direct increase in funding for projects and programs in central and northern BC. It pays a significant portion of a grant writer’s full time wages for the first four months, or a minimum of 400 hours of employment for a grant writer position each year. The program dramatically increases the success communities have in applying for grants from community funding sources.
Since its inception, interest in the Grant Writing Support Program has grown considerably, demonstrating the highest return on investment of any community funding program offered by Northern Development.
Andy Ackerman is contracted by the North Peace Economic Development Commission (NPEDC) to devote approximately 20 hours a week to grant writing for non-profit organizations and municipalities. To date, Andy has written 529 proposals totaling approximately $29 million in applications. These have resulted in $478,000 in actual funding with another $400,000 expected in the fall of 2011. While diverse in scope, the projects supported through this funding all help to improve the economy and quality of life in their communities – from display upgrades at the Tumbler Ridge Museum, a major tourism draw in the region, to support for Fort St. John’s ‘Citizens on Patrol’ volunteer program.
Through various positions held during his 37-year career with the BC Ministry of Environment, Andy developed strong project management, team building and negotiation skills and gained extensive knowledge of local industry, First Nations, trappers and guide outfitters in the Peace region. On retiring from the Ministry, he started his own consulting firm, providing a range of services including grant writing. He is constantly ‘on the hunt’ for funding sources to benefit the 40 organizations he already works with.
Experienced grant writers like Andy provide non-profits with exceptional value in several ways: they know the appropriate funders to approach for specific types of projects, the kinds of projects they are looking to support at a given time, and the format applications should be submitted. In the course of developing an application, Andy says he may also work with a non-profit in other areas such as refining their strategic plan or budget.
Andy’s volunteer interests include a number of projects that indirectly support successful grant applications, including his role as Chair of the North Peace Non-Profit Network of Professionals (NP3).
"At the end of the day, I’m able to tell the stories of these organizations in a way that will earn them funding to grow their community. I’m part of the team that’s making a difference."Andy Ackerman, Grant Writer, North Peace Economic Development Commission