PA town, college partner to write grants for community projects
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
CLARIFICATIONS: Mayor Jaime Kinder was not the coauthor of the report mentioned, and her office was not the source of the interviews with 700 residents. Story has been reworded accordingly. (10:12 a.m. MDT, Nov. 18. 2023)
A small, rural Pennsylvania community has taken a proactive approach to an area many small towns struggle with: grant funding.
The City of Meadville collects property taxes, but needs additional resources for some projects.
Meadville Mayor Jaime Kinder sought assistance from Allegheny College, which developed a grant-writing course. The students hone their skills by working with organizations and government agencies.
Kinder, along with a student and the Family and Community Christian Association, penned a grant proposal aimed at screening for lead poisoning.
"The first grant we wrote in this partnership, we got it. We got $25,000," Kinder explained. "That also allows for $4,000 to $5,000, to go to administration, from the city. It's a beautiful thing, when the first one you go after is a win."
Kinder added before the grant-writing partnership, the city lacked the capacity to pursue a grant which could have provided up to $500,000 in assistance to homeowners.
Kinder assisted with a 2023 Rural Policy Action Report. It provided recommendations for the federal government to help eliminate barriers hindering small communities like hers from getting essential funding. She pointed out even when grants are accessible, having the funds to administer them is crucial.
"It's great to have the money, but if we can't find or pay a person to do it [go after the funding], we can't go after it," Kinder emphasized. "The federal government should be able to put in those stipulations -- 20 hours a week for six months, for somebody to write the grant; 20 hours a week to administer. We can use that same person to do multiple grants."
Kinder said before she was in office, 700 interviews were done with people living in Meadville, which indicated that residents there want transparent government and leadership. She said it's crucial to engage with those who are often unheard and amplify their voices in order to have stronger and more resilient communities benefiting everyone.
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