Infant Hearing Screening

Finding Funding: The Secret to Service Success

Quotarians from Flint, Michigan, U.S.A., learned about the value of infant hearing screening during a Quota International convention in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. When they returned to Flint, the club members discovered that three of their local hospitals had no equipment to provide this important diagnostic test for newborns.

So, the Flint Quotarians decided to make a difference. The club accepted the challenge of purchasing equipment for each hospital, a project that would require about U.S.$45,000.

Fund raising was the first hurdle to cross. Club member Jacqueline Oatman suggested applying for a grant from the Flint Community Foundation, then two other members, Joy Cramer and Susan Schneberger, both experienced in writing grant proposals, formed a committee with her to spearhead the project.

Past Flint club president Jane Kromer says the club was “very excited about the proposal because we knew that a large grant award was really going to speed up what we could accomplish as a club.”

The next step was informing the hospitals that they could have the equipment of their choice on one condition—that all newborns receive a hearing screening test.

Meanwhile, the grant committee worked on the foundation’s application, which required plans for program administration, budgets, community education about infant hearing screening, and publicity. Although such a task seems daunting, an experienced proposal pro like Susan Schneberger says it requires nothing more than commitment to the project and the ability to find the information needed.

“Any foundation you approach will have specific guidelines about the type of information it requires to consider an application,” Susan says. “Keep it simple. Give them exactly what they need.”

Susan says the key to their success in obtaining the grant was organization and structure. “We had a very specific series of timelines and objectives that we followed to the letter. It kept us on track, so we always knew what had to be done next,” she says.

Two months after submitting the grant proposal, the Flint Quota club was awarded the full $45,000 from the Flint Community Foundation to provide infant hearing screening equipment for the three hospitals. In addition, the club secured a $3,000 donation from Early On Children’s Services, a local government agency, to provide education about the new equipment.

Within one year of installation of the equipment at the hospitals, seven newborns in Flint were diagnosed with profound hearing loss. Many others were found to have less severe hearing impairment. Most importantly, all of the families were referred to places where the babies could get the help they need.

“It was such an amazing accomplishment,” says Jane Kromer. “We were completely charged up! It made us realize that our ability to impact people’s lives was infinite. There is so much we can do.”

Another past president, Connie Rau, adds that the grant was “a step out of the box for fund raising. The entire club is enthusiastic. Quota pride is alive and well in Flint!”

In fact, the grant writing success encouraged the Flint club to try it again: a private foundation recently awarded the club a grant to provide video interpretation equipment to hospitalized patients.

“You don’t have to be a sophisticated club to successfully apply for a grant,” adds Susan. “Just be smart in matching your club’s aims with foundations that hold similar interests; then follow the guidelines they set for you.”

WHAT ARE FOUNDATIONS LOOKING FOR?

According to the Foundation Center, a non-profit organization in the U.S. that educates the public about foundations, a foundation usually looks for the following criteria in an application:

  • That the purpose of the applying organization matches the foundation’s own civic interests
  • Evidence that the applying organization is well known in the community for addressing similar needs
  • Demonstrated fiscal management and a realistic project budget
  • A strong board of directors and committed volunteers
  • Qualified people to carrying out the project

For more information, visit The Foundation Center’s web site at www.fdncenter.org or call, in the U.S. and Canada, (800) 424-9836 or (212) 620-4230.

For more information on Quota’s hearing screening program, please send your request, including your address, to cindy@quota.org.

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