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Student grant writing projects turn into real world ministry funding

Posted: Jan 09, 2013

Ashley Miller ’14 has seen the face of rural homelessness. She has opened the door to a safe place for people who had been sleeping in their cars. She has served them food and led a VBS for their children. She has heard stories of addiction and prayed for God’s forgiveness to change lives.

This year, she found a new way to help the more than 600 people served each year by My Father’s House Community Services (MFHCS), Paola, Kan., and Jay Preston, its founder and director.

As a student in Olivet’s first offering of the course “Fundamentals of Fundraising,” Ashley applied what she learned about grant writing to her class project. The result provided a total of $60,000 for MFHCS — a grant of $10,000 from Nazarene Missions International and a matching grant of $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ashley is from Spring Hill, Kan., majoring in social work and intercultural studies and minoring in business. Teaching the course was Dr. Houston Thompson, chair of the Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice and director of the doctor of ethical leadership program in Olivet’s graduate school.

“As part of the semester-long course, students spent six weeks learning the fundamentals of grant writing,” Dr. Thompson says. “For their projects, each identified a not-for-profit ministry or organization he or she wanted to help fund. Then, with help from class members and me, he or she identified a potential funder, wrote the grant and submitted it to the funder.”

Results of these grant applications continue to come in, and six of the 25 submitted have already been funded. In addition to Ashley’s success, other grant proposals funded in response to the applications that students wrote and submitted include:
• Bibles for a Youth for Christ after-school program from The Gideons International (Paige Maldonado ’14, social work major, Joliet, Ill.)
• Sporting equipment for a church youth sports league from the Chatlos Foundation (Seth Rattin ’12, business major, Beaverville, Ill.)
• Women’s care program needs from Omni Credit Union (Ariel Rock ’14, social work major, Livonia, Mich.)
• Encouraging student philanthropy on campus from a private donor (Jean Martin ’72, Olivet’s director of annual giving)
• Preschool literacy from the Ohio Literacy Foundation (Caylee Wagner ’13, business administration major, Merillville, Ind.)
• Community outreach to the homeless in Kankakee, Ill., by Olivet’s Capitol Hill Gang from Walmart (Abby Borland ’13, political science major, Peoria, Ill.)

“Seeing my hard work pay off was encouraging,” Ashley says. “I set my mind to getting this grant, and I accomplished it. God used me at just the right time when My Father’s House Community Services needed it most.”

Cadets enrolled in Olivet's Roaring Tiger ROTC Battalion