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Sample Grant Proposal: AIDS HIV Prevention (Oakland, California)

2009 September 15

Today’s sample proposal takes us to Oakland.

The project had to strike a delicate balance. We needed to document both:

  1. my client’s street credibility (since we proposed outreach to sex workers and injecting drug users, groups that are extremely skittish about police and other officials), and
  2. my client’s medical chops (since the project included blood draws and STD HIV testing)

My client’s staff included former sex workers and injecting drug users, who were already doing AIDS HIV awareness outreach in the target neighborhood. They brought back first hand reports from the field, which I sprinkled throughout the proposal. That took care of issue 1.

To tackle issue 2, I made sure the budget included ample time and detailed job description for a phlebotomist. And we partnered with a local hospital with a lot of experience in AIDS HIV prevention and treatment. The hospital provided a letter that documented cash and in-kind support. I put that in bold to stress that, in general, support letters are a dime a dozen. But one that pledges material support…that’s gold. And grant proposal reviewers sit up and take notice.

Incidence of STDs Alameda CoThis federal proposal was awarded $150,000 for each of three years for a total of $450,000. The granting agency was the Office of Minority Health. So, to win the grant, it was essential to document the number of minorities not only in the target population but also on the client’s board of directors and staff.

One last lesson from today’s sample proposal: Initially, we weren’t funded. We did get a glowing letter praising the project, with an apology to say they’d run out of funds. But we kept in contact with the funder. When they got an additional appropriation a few months later, we were at the head of the line.

Moral: Don’t give up, especially if you’ve gotten some positive feedback. A relationship with a funder is like any relationship. It’s based on keeping in touch. So don’t be shy about picking up the phone and calling a program officer!

Summary of the grant proposal: The 3-year project uses street level outreach to bring information about HIV and STD risk reduction to minority (emphasizing African-American) sex workers and injecting drug users (IDUs). The project also provides access to treatment at local medical/recovery facilities. Names of individuals and grantees have been altered to protect privacy. The narrative section of the proposal is attached. (Assurances, certifications, budgetary pages, and appendices have been omitted. For this reason, the attached materials are paginated from 19 to 51.)

If you have any questions about the proposal, just post a comment below. (No need to subscribe to the blog.)


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