How Did This All Begin?
One day in early 2006, I was working on-site for a client - a youth services club. I was fine tuning their accounting system and setting up a reporting process for their OJP grant. I saw a print newsletter listing available grants and started flipping through it to see if there was anything useful for the Club. Unfortunately, none of the grants were a good match for their programs. Many were restricted as to the geographic location and a lot of the application deadlines had passed anyway. I already knew that the Club’s staff was frustrated, trying to find funding for their awesome programs and not having time or resources to dig into research and track available grants.
hey, that's me! ~ Rachel
An Idea Was Born
Driving home, ideas started popping through my mind like a popcorn machine about to explode. It’s a wonder I didn’t drive right off the road! I still remember that afternoon like it was just a few hours ago. Pine trees were flashing by, it was still light out, and the landscape colors seemed extra bright because I was so excited. Searching databases and newsletters was so time consuming! There must be a way to set up a tracking system so my clients could get timely email notifications about new grants. And even better, those emails should list grants closely matched to what the organization was looking for. On that same drive, I daydreamed up the name “Grant Gopher” to signify a hard-working little guy behind the scenes digging up these grant opportunities.
Like All Births, Labor Ensued But It Was Worth It
After a lot more brainstorming, research, piles of wadded up pieces of chicken scratched paper, and lots of learning, GrantGopher.com was launched in September 2006. After the site found some success from the get-go, I realized the potential this had, not just to assist nonprofits with locating grants, but to provide a valuable employment and training program. We are located in a rural area where job opportunities are scarce and employment skills fall behind due to the lack of available training. One challenge for rural residents is that the cost of commuting for employment or ongoing education makes doing so almost impossible. I found that parents in particular were hit hard by these circumstances due to the added cost of child care, if they could even find a trusted provider. I added a social responsibility component to our mission.
So here it is, the Grant Gopher mission that we strive for every day:
#1 To knock your socks off with an affordable service alerting you to available grants WHILE they are open for application. This desire sprang from years of working in the nonprofit sector and knowing first hand that most organizations struggle to stay on top of these opportunities.
#2 Provide jobs for stay at home parents, allowing staff members to work from home with flexible hours so our team can put family first. We are based in a rural area where jobs, childcare, and other basic resources that most take for granted are scarce. Our training programs include website data management, copy writing, traditional marketing, and social media. I also personally believe that a parent as the primary caregiver is very important to a child’s development.
#3 Facilitate an ongoing conversation between us and our readers (you!). We want to know how we can better meet your needs in the grant research and writing arena. We’ve received a lot great ideas so far like a library of sample grant proposals, a system that lists grant recipients, and more detailed categorization of the program funding areas.
#4 Give back. We donate time and resources to our local nonprofits, with a goal of 10 volunteer hours per month per staff member.
In 2017, our team maintained our average of 20 hours of volunteer time per person each month! I put my time where my mouth is too and serve as President and Treasurer of the Board for several area nonprofit organizations, and have served as our local Chamber of Commerce President for the past seven years.
Thank you for twelve great years and we look forward to many more – serving you and our community!