To Lend a Hand with Hands-On Skill


By Alexandra Desaulniers '11

Though they received no academic credit for meeting two evenings each week, 22 students completed a Jan Plan enrichment series on how to research and write grant proposals for nonprofit and community-based organizations.

Students said the presentations by employees of local and state nonprofits offered them new options for civic engagement. “There is so much happening in Waterville. It would be great to help there,” said Jena Hershkowitz ’12. She said that working for a nonprofit in New York last summer showed her how difficult it can be to find someone with experience writing grants. “Now if they need a grant writer, I know I can help.”

Presenters came from the Maine Philanthropy Association,, the Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, and other organizations. They spoke about researching and writing grants and about initiatives they have been able to support through successful proposals.

As he looks to graduation and a career, Brian Wadugu ’09 sees grant writing as an important skill. “It came at just the right time,” he said. His interest in learning a valuable skill convinced him to enroll even though the course carried no academic credit.

The Jan Plan workshop series was a collaboration between Community Outreach Coordinator Marnie Terhune and Associate Dean of Students Barbara Moore. Moore considers grant writing an essential skill from a career perspective, while Terhune sees the potential for students to give something back to their communities. 

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