Grants for Disabled: San Antonio Day Program Fills Void for Adults with Special Needs

When their autistic son who was also born with Down Syndrome had outgrown the public-school system, Cindy and Bryan Boynton were confronted with a dilemma. They needed to find a place where Drew could go every day that would not only meet his needs, but give him a sense of joy and purpose as well.

Cindy Boynton didn’t look very far. Earlier this year, she used her predicament to create the SA Life Academy, a day program housed in St. Andrews Methodist Church where Drew and adults in San Antonio like him with disabilities can gain fulfillment through continuing education and community service.

SA Life Academy offers disabled adults a variety of activities – from visiting San Antonio Botanical Garden to baking cookies for city firefighters. The students have also visited museums, seen movies, gone bowling, watched the ballet perform, boarded the boats on the River Walk, pitched in at the San Antonio Food Bank and helped prepare food for Meals on Wheels.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, SA Life Academy relies on grants, private donations and fundraising in addition to program tuition.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, said the recent introduction of one-year-old Lucas Warren, the first Gerber Baby with Down Syndrome, will raise greater awareness about the plight of children with the condition and attract corporate support. Foundations, corporate sponsors and state and local governments are a good source of funding for nonprofits that engage adults with intellectual disabilities in meaningful, social, vocational and educational pursuits.

“With so many in need of services, nonprofits have only scratched the surface for providing advanced educational, housing and employment opportunities for adults with special needs,” said Hikind.

While not widely publicized, Hikind said there are numerous funding opportunities from private and government sources posted on to help the disabled as well as their families and care providers with financial obligations, medical expenses and even equipment.

“Adults with special needs have the capability of learning,” said Cindy Boynton. “They need that opportunity. They have so much potential to unlock. I don’t think we should give up on them.”

The curriculum at SA Life Academy is structured around academics, building relationships, community service, creative expression and teaching healthy habits. Through routines and role-playing, the students learn social skills and other life lessons. SA Life Academy has three teachers on staff who have backgrounds in special education.

Currently, SA Life Academy’s program serves a maximum of 12 students each day. Once students enter the program, they are welcome to stay indefinitely. There is a waiting list that Boynton hopes can soon be turned into a second class. Doing so would require hiring additional special education teacher to oversee the class and purchasing a second van.

Eventually, the staff would like to move SA Life Academy into a physical space of its own, likely within the next two to three years. That would allow the program to accept even more students.

About the Author: Staff Writer for


Government, Foundations Offer Grants to Nonprofits to Curb Violent Crime Among At-Risk Youth Populations

As his family celebrated Thanksgiving this year, Abdel Bashiti played games with his cousins and made s'mores. Less, than 24 hours later, the 12-year-old boy was killed by a bullet that strayed from a gang dispute outside his father’s beauty supply store in Cleveland.

The shooting left his family in shock and city leaders and law enforcement agencies scrambling for ways to suppress youth violence and eradicate gangs from Cleveland’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance knows the challenges and has been tackling the city’s problem for the past decade by mediating disputes and mentoring at-risk teens and adults. An $800,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation will help support the Alliance’s projects and programs.

Nationwide, nonprofits like the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance are seeking to expand sorely needed services to empower at-risk youth, keep them active in programming and provide a foundation for making healthy choices.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, says government agencies and private foundations have committed to fund programs that support law enforcement strategies and expand programs for at-risk youth populations.

New York State has proposed spending $11.5 million on Long Island to thwart gang recruitment by expanding after-school programs, vocational training, and educational efforts. currently lists funding opportunities for similar programs that respond to the needs of hard-hit local communities, especially at-risk youth and adults who are economically or physically challenged. These programs can support to initiatives focused on athletics, the arts and other educational projects.

The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance will use a portion of its grant money to fund Pathway to Resilience, a career-training program that combines instruction with extracurricular activities, such as athletics and music. Pathway to Resilience, launched last year, is a partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland and Resilience Capital Partners.

Research has shown that after-school programs can help lower school drop-out rates and reduce youth crime. Toward this end, lists RFPs for nonprofits that can develop programs to encourage at-risk youth to participate in sports, high-quality after-school programs and in-school academic activities. Funds can be used for community events, academic tutoring, sports camps, school and youth-group athletic programs and coaching leadership and development.

Some grants listed that are region specific are:

Grants to Tennessee Agencies to Reduce Delinquency Among At-Risk Youth

Grants to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Nonprofits and Schools for Sports Programs for At-Risk Youth

Grants to Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Nonprofits for Education, At-Risk Youth, and Social Welfare Programs

According to the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College, taxpayers save roughly $3 for every dollar spent on high-quality after-school programs. If benefits from crime reduction are factored in, each dollar invested in an at-risk child saves $8-$12.

Child advocates also say adult role models can push at-risk youth to make better choices and become productive citizens. At-risk young people who had mentors, according to “The Mentoring Effect” report, are 76 percent more likely to aspire to enroll in college and are also more likely to hold a leadership position in a club, sports team, school council and other groups.

Rise Up For Youth started in 2005 as a mentoring and gang prevention program. The local nonprofit is fighting to keep kids alive in Wichita, Kan., where four teens were murdered last year. On top of that figure, seven teens have been arrested in homicides that have taken place in the city in 2017.

Even one life lost, the organization says, is one too many. That’s why Rise Up For Youth has expanded its program to four Wichita high schools, where volunteers mentor at-risk youth. Part of that job means helping the students pick their careers and visit colleges. The group boasts a 100 percent graduation rate among its high school students and 70 percent went on to enroll in secondary education or military service.

About the Author: Staff Writer for


Penn Medicine Hospitals Receive $1.35 Million from PA Department of Health to Establish Safe Sleep Program for Infants

PHILADELPHIA – Penn Medicine, its affiliates Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), and faculty from the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania received a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to design an innovative and replicable program for promoting and evaluating safe sleep practices for newborns.

The Philadelphia Safe Sleep Awareness for Every Well Newborn (S.A.F.E.) Program is being rolled out to hospitals, ambulatory care settings, communities, and homes to address the population-specific problem through nurse, parent and community education, development and dissemination of practice and education resources, and a community partnership with Maternity Care Coalition (MCC).

“In Philadelphia, 45 healthy babies die unexpectedly every year – a rate that is significantly higher than in other major cities,"said Marilyn Stringer, PhD, WHCNP, FAAN, a professor of Women's Health Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the principal investigator for the program. “Research shows these tragic deaths can be prevented by following safe sleep guidelines. By promoting safe sleep, and educating healthcare providers, parents and community members on Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) risk reduction strategies, we can help keep infants safe.”

The specific aims for the S.A.F.E. Program are to:

  • Develop a Safe Sleep Model Program for the hospital environment
  • Recruit all birthing hospitals within the City of Philadelphia and other birthing hospitals across Pennsylvania to participate in the Philadelphia S.A.F.E. Program
  • Facilitate and support the implementation of a comprehensive Safe Sleep Model Program at the recruited hospitals.
  • Increase population awareness of safe sleep practices, address emerging uses of products or behaviors that do not conform to safe sleep practices, and target diverse ethnic populations.

To achieve these aims, Dr. Stringer has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of nationally recognized leaders and researchers in obstetrical and neonatal practice; influential nurse leaders, educators, and scientists from Penn Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; and partners from Maternity Care Coalition with an impressive record of community-based education and engagement using social media venues. During the first year of the project, the team developed nursing policies, assessment and evaluation tools, in-depth online training modules for both professional and support staff in hospitals as well as patient education materials based on the current safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

A PASafeSleep collaborative was established with the clinical directors to facilitate the program implementation.  The team also recruited and trained a group of professional nurses and lactation consultants from each hospital to serve as Safe Sleep Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).  These SMEs collected pre-implementation data and facilitated the roll-out of the model hospital program at the unit level.  Moving forward, the SMEs will serve as a resource for the SMEs at the other recruited birthing hospitals to facilitate implementation of the program.

By partnering with MCC, the team has expanded the reach and impact of the project into the communities served by these hospitals. MCC has launched a Multi-Media Marketing Campaign to increase community awareness of safe sleep practices including extensive advertising on public transportation and social media and will soon include radio and waiting room videos. 

All advertising efforts direct consumers to the program’s website, which serves as an extensive resource for healthcare professionals and community members alike.  All components of the program can be accessed and downloaded directly from the website.   

During years two and three, the team will be facilitating implementation of the model hospital program at birthing hospitals in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. The advertising campaign will continue throughout the duration of the project. 

To locate grants for your hospital  or nonprofit visit GrantWatch.

About the Author: Bonnie Renner Ohnishi, BSN, RNC-MNN, who has been caring for women and infants in Philadelphia for close to two decades, is the Safe Sleep Project Coordinator and active member of the Baby Friendly Task Force at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

2018 Chalk-Lit Festival: Murals, Music and More!

The 2018 Chalk-Lit Festival is a free, family friendly event. It is just one example of engaging a community with nonprofits, small businesses and public-service agencies.

Hosted by Broward Cultural Division and Broward Main Library, Ft. Lauderdale’s 2018 Chalk-Lit Festival will take place with a literary theme, as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read Community Reading Program.

The community is sure to come out for the food trucks, jamming live music, on-site murals, face painting, hands-on crafting and more! This artistic festival will provide laughter, pleasure and fun for the whole family, while introducing the community to local nonprofits, businesses and public-service agencies.

A community event can be the debut or launch of a community cause or fundraiser. Chalk festivals are easily adaptable to bring people out for community engagement. Add a fundraising page to spread the word and collect donations.

These art-infused festivities can be easily replicated in any town or city throughout the United States, with or without grant funding. With grant money, such events can be themed to capture the foundation’s vision that coincides with the focus of your nonprofit or a consortium of nonprofits.

Remember, these community events can come with a hefty price tag, but they can also serve as fundraisers for a cause. While the 2018 Chalk-Lit Festival is free to the public through grant funding, your activities may require purchased tickets or a strong encouragement for donations.

First, know your community – your audience: consider what special interests are shared by the individuals to whom you are trying to attract. Would a pop-up art gallery attract your community, or would a rock concert present the more desired result? Simply research your ideal market and create an event suitable to corresponding interests.

Create a community event: Attract your audience, engage the community and promote the mission and vision of the sponsoring organizations.

If you have some community-interaction ideas to share with your fellow business owners and nonprofit directors, pitch an article for publication on, the premier newspaper for nonprofit and business leaders.

About the Author: Kayli Tomasheski is the Copy Editor for


I Know #WhyIWrite – Why Do You? is always trying to foster creativity. Writing is a great outlet for drafting bright ideas and for sharing valuable information and, sometimes, it's just a great way to start a conversation or open an insightful debate.

There's a hashtag floating around trying to answer #WhyIWrite. Today is National Day on Writing, originally started by the National Council of Teachers "on the premise that writing is critical to literacy, but needs greater attention and celebration."

On a personal note, this holiday makes me proud to be a writer. In regards to the question itself, I write because I love writing, especially when I can help professionals enhance productivity and organization. I write because I took a creative writing class in college that changed my life. Finally, I write because writing lets us share just a tiny bit of ourselves with the world.

So, we want to know! Why do you write? 

Grants to Improve and Promote Literacy on

In-Kind Grants of Books to USA Nonprofits that Serve Low-Income or Underserved Children

In-kind grants of books to USA nonprofit organizations that assist underserved or low-income children. This program is intended to provide books to organizations in need of a small library, or that need to add to or rebuild a library. 

Deadline: Ongoing

Residencies for USA, Canada, and International Individuals in the Journalism, Nonfiction, and Documentary Fields

Residencies for USA, Canada, and International documentarians, journalists, and nonfiction writers working at the professional level about important issues.

Deadline: 05/31/18

Awards to USA Public Libraries and Schools for Outstanding Community Programs that Encourage Reading

Awards of up to $10,000 and in-kind donations of books to USA public libraries and schools to recognize outstanding work in implementing creative community-based programs. 

Deadline: 04/15/18

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Economic Literacy Projects for Youth and the General Public

Grants starting at $3,500 to USA nonprofit organizations for projects that will raise national awareness of the need for economic education.

Deadline: 02/15/18

Awards to USA Individuals to Recognize Emerging Talent in Writing and Illustrating Children's Books

Awards with an honorarium of $1,000 to a USA author and an illustrator to encourage and recognize emerging talent in the creation of children’s books. 

Deadline: 12/15/17

About the Author: Lianne Hikind is a staff writer for


Storms Prompt New Hires from SBA

In the last month, our nation has experienced multiple 500-year storms: Harvey, Irma and Maria. While the rising waters and ceaseless winds destroyed many small businesses, leaving doors closed and individuals without jobs, the demand for building trades has made contractors the most sought-after workers. 

Recovery efforts have prompted the need for new hires to fill jobs from the Small Business Administration.

 “The Small Business Administration is hiring temporary employees to assist with disaster relief efforts this hurricane season from September 1st to December 31st, 2017” (U.S. Small Business Administration).

While these temporary positions cannot compensate for the severe loss of work, they provide an opportunity to accelerate the rebuilding process and a chance for others to contribute necessary skills and experience during the recovery period.

You can find the following job listings and corresponding application details on

  • Administrative Support Assistants
  • Attorneys
  • Business and Home Loan Officers
  • Construction Analysts (Loss Verifiers)
  • Cost & Damage Estimation/Damage Verification/Flood Zone Mapping
  • Credit Analysis/Loan Processing/Mortgage Underwriting
  • Document Preparation/Legal Review/Loan Closings
  • Information Technology Specialists (Customer Support)
  • Loan Processing Assistance/Clerical/Data Entry/Document Scanning

During this critical stage of restoration, it’s time to consider the effectiveness of current disaster-prevention procedures. GrantWatch offers a disaster-relief database of funding opportunities to implement adequate, updated prevention tactics and systems.

While repairing the damages, consider how this destruction can be avoided in the future. Find suitable grants and other funding opportunities to ensure such damages will not reoccur. Prepare for what lies beyond the horizon with

About the Author: Kayli Tomasheski is the Copy Editor for


Remembering 9/11

Everyone seems to remember exactly where they were on September 11, 2001. I remember being where I wasn’t supposed to be, which was school. I was seven years old, on the verge of turning eight, and, for some reason, I didn’t want to go to school that day, which meant my father, who happened to work in Manhattan in a building next door to the towers, didn’t go to work. I don’t remember everything about that day, but I do remember watching the towers fall on television.

I remember not knowing what it meant. As a child, it’s hard to understand what a terrorist attack is—hard to understand a day that I would, many years later, realize changed the United States forever. When I was in college, over a decade later, we watched a film depicting the response to the attack, the panic to evacuate and the ever-day Americans that rushed to save lives.

Looking back on that day, I can’t even imagine the devastation felt by the families of those lost in that horrendous terrorist attack. I cannot imagine the smoke inhaled by those on Manhattan island or the bravery of the first responders, who jumped on their boats and helped evacuate the island. The eleventh of September is a day of great tragedy, but also of great bravery, as well as true American strength. As we remember the horror that took down the twin towers and terrorists who sought only death and destruction, we must also remember those who rushed to preserve life, the victims and survivors of the attacks and the later rebuilding that took place.

About the Author: Lianne Hikind is a staff writer for

5 Advantages of Guest Blogging

Do you want your story to reach an extended audience of grantors, foundations, executives and industry leaders? encourages you, a nonprofit or small-business leader, to write the story that illustrates how your replicable program came to life (funding and all) and serves the greater good.

What are the advantages of guest blogging?  

1.    Enhance your grant application status.

Once your article is published on, you can cite the publication in your grant applications to demonstrate that your organization and/or project has been recognized by a newspaper.

2.    Share your successful, replicable idea with other organizations.

Support your fellow nonprofits and/or small businesses by allowing them to replicate your model program that attracts donations and contributors. “Charities and non-profits can extract important information from these findings that will help them serve their communities,” Dr. Cornwell says (Project Researcher, Artist).

3.    Share the successes and efforts of your organization to retain current donors and attract potential donors.

Thank your funding source and individual contributors in a way that will encourage repetitive contributions and encourage new ones. Include quotes from your donors to communicate to others how their funding was the key to accomplishing your goals.

4.    Use videos and photographs to inspire contributions.

The use of short videos or images may also inspire additional contributions and the replication of your program model. Visuals show current donors the power of their contributions, giving them the confidence and pride to continue their support, and inspire potential donors with the impact they could have. 

5.    Show off the face of your nonprofit to build a stronger bond with your community and raise more funds.

Personal impact has more influence on donating than ever before. Include yourself and the organization’s leader in your article and visuals. Contributors, volunteers, readers, supporters and potential future members of your nonprofit want to connect a face to your organization.

“Consumers are more likely to favor brands that incorporate faces into their visuals,” according to a recent study led by researchers from the University of Oregon and published online in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Submitting your guest blog is simple. There is no reason to wait! If you find yourself struggling with the writing process, our 7-Step Plan (a set of step-by-step instructions on how to write an effective news article) will help you out. When you’re done, send it our way.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

What’s on your Labor Day Weekend Short List?

It’s finally September! And with September comes that famous, three-day weekend cherished by US workers across the nation: Labor Day Weekend.

While you’re lighting your grills, pitching your tents, enjoying your day off and ringing in the unofficial end of summer, GrantWatch doesn’t want you to forget what you’re celebrating.

This federal holiday is dedicated to US workers’ achievements and contributions to our great nation. You have contributed to society more than you think! Enjoy your holiday; you earned it. Spend your Monday off – relaxing and counting your blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Just in case you can’t quite figure out where to spend your holiday, Libby decided to give us her short wish list for Sunday and Monday. "Since I am not really in the mood for travel, I plan to relax and enjoy as best I can with my heart aching for Texas (and the surrounding areas)."

  1. The beach or a park or pool
  2. An outdoor concert
  3. The movies
  4. Visiting with my mom
  5. The mall
  6. Weeding through my closets to identify clothing to send to Hurricane Harvey shelters

And Praying that Hurricane Irma weakens and ends in the Atlantic Ocean.

About the Author: Libby Hikind is the Founder and CEO of

Seven Steps to an Effective News Article

Sharing news articles is an excellent method for gaining publicity for your small business, nonprofit, crowdfunding campaign or upcoming event. Publishing your article in a local newspaper is always ideal, as you want to promote your organization/project towards its surrounding community.

In addition to local publicity, you can gain national publicity by publishing your article in, the premier newspaper for nonprofit and business leaders. We publish articles that provide ideas and inspiration for other organizations and communities. If your article promotes a replicable business method, crafty solution to a common problem, invoking notion, etc., send it our way!

We have given you information regarding how to write an article for GrantNews, but we haven’t given you any information on how to write an article in general. Where do you start and how should you end? If you find yourself stumbling over your first few sentences or struggling with the final paragraph, we have created this list of steps just for you:

1. Select Your Topic.

The first and easiest step of writing your news article is picking the topic of discussion. Considering you decided to write an article in the first place, it is safe to assume you already have an idea in mind.

However, the subject of the article should be newsworthy. That is, the article shouldn’t simply be about your company. You want your article to function as a type of announcement, such as for upcoming events, new management or interesting employees, campaign launches, etc.

2. Conduct Your Research.

Now that you have your topic, you can begin your research. Depending on the article’s subject, you want to seek out answers to six main questions: when, where, why and how is what is happening and who is making it happen?

Feel free to be messy with your research, gathering as much information as possible. Conduct interviews with associated individuals, as direct quotations add credibility to news texts, and/or read published materials for relative information. While you may not use all the information, the extensive research will help you pick suitable details to create a well-rounded, knowledgeable article.

3. Organize Your Details.

Create an outline to organize all your research into a coherent, easy-to-understand news piece. Start by picking out the most important details from your research—information that must be used in the article. Organize your details into at least three separate sections (introduction, body and conclusion). Group the details that pertain to the same general subtopic in one section.

Note that the most important information (when, where, why, what, who and how) should be used in the first paragraph following your leading sentence. The miscellaneous and/or supporting details and interview quotations will fill out the body paragraphs and the details regarding the audience should be saved for the conclusion.

4. Establish Your Writer Persona.

Before you begin writing, consider your ideal audience. Who will read your news piece? You want to write in a tone of voice that interests that specific market. In addition to crafting your tone of voice, consider the appropriate terminology. For example, you would not use business jargon in an article announcing new playground equipment at a local park.

5. Write a Compelling Sentence.

The first sentence is the most important part of your article. It must grab the audience by the gut—make them want to continue reading. When creating an interesting leading sentence, consider simply saying it aloud to someone unrelated to the article. Does he/she want to hear more?

6. Fluff Out Your Outline.

If you have an effective outline, the article will practically write itself. With your established tone of voice, simply write each section of your article using your chosen details and smooth transitions. Read it aloud and ask yourself (or a friend) if anything sounds out of place.

7. Write a Conclusion.

As mentioned before, your conclusion contains information specifically for your audience. You want to end the article by giving the audience something to take away. What have they learned? Should they make reservations for an upcoming event? Should they donate to your new crowdfunding campaign? If so, why? Your conclusion is the key to generating good publicity; tell your audience why this information should matter to them. Then, tell them what they should do with this information.

Now that you know how to write an article, start publicizing your business or nonprofit with a news piece on Click here for more information on publishing your article. We look forward to reading your work!

About the Author: Kayli Tomasheski is a Copy Editor for