Client Spotlight: Merrick House

Merrick House achieves funding wins within one year of new grants strategy

For a grant seeking effort to gain momentum an organization must do more than grant writing: it must pursue a targeted grants strategy. Michelle Curry recognized this when she assumed leadership at Merrick House, a Cleveland-based organization with a 90-year history of service to the community. One of her first decisions as Executive Director was to enlist Grants Plus to help her devise a grants game plan.

She quickly found that the Grants Plus team challenged her to be a strong leader. “They asked questions that forced me to think about both my shortterm needs and long-term objectives,” she explains, “and coached me about the most important steps to take to be successful in getting grants.”

This coaching was critical when Michelle decided to apply for a grant from a funder who had declined Merrick House the previous year. The Grants Plus team crafted a Letter of Intent (LOI) that clearly aligned Merrick House’s programs to the funder’s priorities.

This LOI won Michelle an opportunity to host the funder for a site visit. “We knew this site visit was a crucial step to being funded,” says Michelle. “The Grants Plus team helped me prepare to lead an effective conversation.” This hard work and preparation paid off: following the site visit, Michelle was invited to submit a full proposal and the funder eventually awarded Merrick House a $25,000 general operating grant. “This was a big victory,” says Michelle, “because we all know how difficult it is to get general operating funds.”

This grant was just one of 15 grants that Michelle won over a year of partnership between Merrick House and Grants Plus. In total, Merrick House realized a 129% increase in grant funding compared to the previous year. “Working with Grants Plus has been critical to building our strategy, researching grant opportunities, and bringing new funds in the door,” Michelle shares, “not to mention helping me to feel a lot less stressed and so much more confident.”

Merrick House is a thriving neighborhood center with a mission to engage, educate, and empower people in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland and its surrounding areas. Over the last century, Merrick House has responded to the struggles facing the urban poor, continually adapting its programming to meet the needs of the community.


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