Why read this newsletter:
- At some point, an organization or church that you are affiliated with may need a good example of how to write a grant; I do write a good grant request – even if I do say so myself!
- Each of us has unpaid obligations to society that demand time, attention and, on occasion, our money.
- In our communities, we each have social service obligations that we need to address through the local not-for-profit sector.
– Also –
- This grant request is unique in that it points out the high price of making assumptions!
- First: this newsletter deals with sensitive issues of race. If you do not want to read about issues related to race – don’t read this newsletter.
- Second: I’m going to ask that you consider making a contribution to a worthy organization. If you do not want to hear a charitable appeal – don’t read this newsletter.
We need a little help!
Recently, while in the process of writing a grant request for the West Alabama Food Bank, I learned some amazing things! Take the time to read this newsletter; it is enlightening.
This grant request was written, in part, because the West Alabama Food Bank, of which I am apart, is rapidly running out of cash.
We frankly need help to continue our mission. My appeal to you is this: if you will, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the Food Bank; send your checks to:
West Alabama Food Bank
3160 McFarland Blvd,
Northport, AL 35476
“When I was hungry, you fed me.”
Recently a friend and a client asked me to join the board of directors of the West Alabama Food Bank. I thought it would be a good way to pay my civic dues. Wow! I had no idea.
I have stories; every good grant request has stories. I am going to tell you only one. This is the first case that I was exposed to as a member of the board of directors; it is one of many cases that made me realize that what I thought was a good idea was very much more.
This case is about the University of West Alabama. It is an excellent school and a part of the University of Alabama system. It is designed for a student of a bit lower economic capability when compared to the more expensive University of Alabama. As you would expect, it attracts a larger percentage population of minority students and first generation college students. Also, as you would expect, with minority students, you will have a higher percentage of drop-outs. All of which is 100% true; and, of course, we all know why it is true. Minority students (black students) do not have the solid academic training and instilled work ethic that white students have;
Except that assumption is 100% untrue!
A professor at the University of West Alabama ignored the common assumptions and asked the crucial question: Why do our black students drop-out of school at a much higher rate than white students?
Like any good professor, he designed a study; here is what he found:
- White and minority students have basically the same week-by-week grades for the almost the entire semester; tit-for-tat. Unexpected!
- The last four to six weeks of the semester, minority student’s grades drop precipitously.
- Lower semester scores lead to higher dropout rates, or financial aid package cut because of low grades also forcing dropouts.
This study, like all good inquiries, led to more questions: why do grades drop towards the end of each semester? This good professor designed a follow-up study.
- He interviewed a large sample of minority students weekly through the semester to evaluate their grades.
- When, at the end of each semester, the grades dropped, he asked them why.
- The overwhelming answer which, in hindsight, is so obvious; by the end of each semester as students of lower economic capabilities, they ran out of money.
The follow-up conclusions determined that:
- When these economically less capable students ran out of money they stopped eating three meals a day.
- When they did eat, they ate poor quality junk food because it’s cheap.
Again, a good study raises new questions: what would happen if they were able to eat well all semester?
In steps the West Alabama Food Bank. A food bank was established on the campus of the University of West Alabama and, in such a way as to not stigmatize the students who took advantage of the program, ensuring that a large population of economically less capable students had quality, nutritious food all semester.
The follow-up study showed:
- With proper nutrition, the grades at the end of each semester for minority and other economically less capable students did not drop.
- The student retention and graduation rates shot up. Initial finding show a 25% increase in student retention!
Twenty five Percent! This is huge!
The 25% percent is huge. Wow! Wow! “When I was hungry, you fed me.”
I learned so much from this. When it comes to the social issues that most commonly afflict blacks – thinking that you already know why removes your ability to ask the right questions. The assumption that blacks drop-out of college because they are not academically prepared is simply not true. The college drop-out rate is much more tied to economic capability and the related issue of food.
A high minority graduation rate will create a new generation of black leadership that is larger, better educated and much more aware of the real social issues afflicting black families. The West Alabama Food Bank has made a significant investment in the future.
I am 100% sold of the mission of feeding the hungry!
This is only one story; there are many. We have a similar program for school children: “Secret Meals for Hungry Children”; we have programs for the aged, the infirm, and for poor people who simply cannot afford to eat nutritious food.
In 2015, we distributed 2,729,677 pounds of food in nine west Alabama counties; in 2016, we will distribute 3,500,000+ pounds of food. This is a big operation. All of our financial resources go into the purchase, storage, transportation and delivery of food. We rely on special grants to take care of other items. In 2015 and 2016, we installed energy efficient lighting using a grant, we repaired the roof with a grant, and we reorganized storage with a grant.
Our goal is to be distributing 6,000,000+ pounds of food in nine West Alabama counties within five years; we can do it, but we need your help!
I do want to point out what has been implied but not clearly stated: this food is high quality and very nutritious; this is the kind of food you would be proud to have in your home.
Please help: make a tax deductible contribution to the Food Bank; send your checks to:
West Alabama Food Bank
3160 McFarland Blvd
Northport, AL 35476