Hi, I’m Elaine. I started my grant-writing journey in 2009 when my new boss, the Executive Director of a 25 plus year-old arts organization (#bosslady), thought she would hand the fresh intern a project grant to write for a new event that the organization was hoping to present. Spoiler alert, I was that intern. Being qualified as I was *insert sarcasm here*, I gave it a go. After all, I had always loved writing. English and writing were my jam in elementary school. In fact, one of my current work colleagues, with whom I attended elementary school, still to this day vividly remembers a descriptive story I had written in 5th grade about the enormous pile of stuffed animals that I had on my daybed. Later on in interior design school, the concept statements that I would craft for each of my design projects were regularly used as examples for the rest of the class to attempt to emulate (this was much to my dismay before I learned how to take a compliment.) I digress.
O.M.G. - IT WORKED!
Long story long, I wrote the grant I referenced eons ago in the above paragraph with zero guidance and zero clue. And incredibly, we were awarded the funding. My boss was thrilled - parades were thrown in my honor - the whole shebang (semi-kidding.) But truly, that was all it took for "grant writer" to become the primary component of my career during my nearly 10 years with said organization. I secured grants from private foundations, county coalitions, state agencies, and federal arts grantors. I collaborated with other departments and nearby city jurisdictions, writing grants to support multi-faceted and multi-year projects. It was exhilarating, sometimes heart-breaking, but something I grew to master and to love.
PASSIONATE ABOUT PROMOTING THE ARTS
Since then and up until present day, my time has been focused on the grant-making side of the equation. I currently serve on two arts, culture, and tourism boards focused on capacity building, operating, and event/project grant support for nonprofits and cultural facility operators. I am forever grateful to my former boss who saw my potential long before we secured even a cent of funding. Most of all, I can't wait to get to know you and your organization so that we can start collaborating, cultivating, and creating a long-lasting and fruitful grant seeking strategy.
Just Look Left comes from an epic mother/daughter adventure in Europe back in summer 2017. My mom and I were meandering through the streets of Barcelona, London, and Reykjavík and continued to stumble upon these amazing little gems off the beaten path, tucked away in quaint neighborhoods. These finds were not your average tour guidebook recommendations and ended up being some of our favorite memories from this trip. We would find these places, more often than not, by “just looking left” down alleys and side streets when we were walking around the more populous areas of town. When we got home, I purchased the URL justlookleft.com with the intention of starting a unique food and beverage guided tour in my hometown’s downtown core. Instead, I sat on the URL for a few years and then struggled to find a name for my grant consulting business. Then, it clicked. Although the subject matter for Just Look Left is entirely different from what I first envisioned, the intent is the same – work with an open mind and desire to discover and you never know where you might encounter the most incredible opportunities.
Passion fuels passion. If you’re excited about your idea, then odds are, I will be too. I want nothing more than to help others who are doing amazing things bring those ideas to fruition.
So, if you have an existing project, event, or program that you want to grow, or a new idea that you are passionate about, and you don’t know where to start, let’s have a conversation and see how we can make it happen.