Sitting “Shoulder to Shoulder” with Community Grant Reviewers

Adeatoyshe “Ade” Heru, Instructional Designer/Trainer

Recently, I had the pleasure of getting to meet and instruct some of our community’s most civic-minded and forward thinking members. Family League of Baltimore recently kicked off its review process for the Summer Funding Collaborative. This meant setting a lot of wheels in motion, specifically training and onboarding our community reviewers. These are the youths and adults who will decide which programs and activities should be funded through the Summer Funding Collaborative, which includes Family League.

For my part, it was a great opportunity not only to polish my skills as Family League’s new Instructional Designer and Trainer, but to also sit shoulder to shoulder with a lot of folks that have the same hopes and concerns for the City of Baltimore that I do. I was able to meet a great cross-section of men and women, including involved mothers and fathers from the community, and, most encouragingly, the young men and women (aged 14 to 18) who stand poised and ready to take on the reins of leading their city in the very near future.

The one-hour training was very simple and straightforward. I explained that each reviewer would be using FUNDINGtrack, the grants management system that Family League relies on for the creation, management, and awarding of grants, and that they already had all of the skills they’d need to conduct reviews and contribute to the effort. If they knew their way around Facebook, they were already well qualified for using our system. It turns out, the hardest part of the review process is deciding which programs to recommend for funding!

Since we had already broken the ice and everyone knew they were forearmed for the tasks ahead, we logged in to the system with the iPads Family League provided for the on-site, hands-on workshop, and we were off to the races. We made our way through the FUNDINGtrack user interface, making sure we paid close attention to site features, access to tech support, and the process for assigning scores and comments to review forms before submitting them. Each attendee was attentive and got the hang of the process without a single exception. I wish I could take all the credit, but I think it’s a testament to the sweet simplicity of the review process, and the dedication and focus of our community’s reviewers.

Thanks to their hard work—and the generosity of our funding partners—summer is going to be a great experience for a lot of Baltimore’s children!

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