Originally Published: July 14, 2016 6 a.m.
Sandra Clark is a matchmaker of sorts – matching volunteers to grant money needed to benefit their favorite charity or social service agency.
The 30-year educator who works in the Humboldt Unified School District honed her matchmaking skills a decade ago after enrolling in a course offered through the then-local Grants To You chapter.
Launched locally in 2002, Grants To You’s mission was to train volunteers to research and then write grants to benefit their charity or nonprofit agency of choice. The sessions were short and inexpensive –$25 for two, four-hour sessions – with each individual selecting a nonprofit to benefit. The instructor would then notify the nonprofit that they now have a qualified grant-writing and research volunteer working on their behalf, said founder and President Paul Baskin.
Clark recalled receiving a $10,000 to host a “Courage Retreat” for middle school and high schoolers in Prescott Valley. The two-day retreat focused on character education and promoting diversity appreciation within the school culture. She also obtained grants to help launch a scrapbooking club and to buy underwater cameras so students could chronicle their field trips.
The program operated until Baskin moved to southern California in 2013. Grants to You also has chapters in Ventura, California, and Sarasota Springs, New York. In those years, 421 students graduated from the program and obtained some 122 grants worth $1.3 million. All of the chapters together obtained some $3.6 million in grants, Baskin said.
Baskin said he wanted to relaunch the program here, but needed someone to be its cheerleader.
He found that in Clark. She has volunteered to be the area coordinator and class instructor.
“This will be a great thing for everybody,” Baskin said of this outreach to the quad-city area’s nonprofit community.
“I feel this is a calling,” said Clark, a mother of three who is committed to helping people make a difference in their hometown.
As of now, Clark said she plans to offer two, four-hour consecutive Saturday sessions of about 12 students in the fall and again in the spring. If there is adequate demand, Clark said she will consider offering the two-session courses once every three months. The classes have not yet been scheduled. To learn more about the classes, dates and times, visit the website: www.grantstoyou.com
“This is a way for me to give back. We’ll see how I do. Hopefully, I’ll do well.”