“We came to the grant writing training, not knowing what to expect, but knowing we were in trouble. Our school serves the neediest of the needy in Kangra Valley, India. We have 500 children who are from extremely poor, low-caste families, where no one has ever graduated from school in generations. Dianne helped us take our vision of how we would help these children, their families, their villages, and ultimately all of India and turn it into a plan for the entire school and then into a grant proposal that we were able to send out to people all over the world. God bless her for what she did for us. She worked long hours, came to our school, met the children, and the teachers and made us believe we could accomplish this—something we, at times, had come to doubt. She is dreaming our dream with us.”
-Sr. Celia Puthenpura, Director of St. Mary’s School, Sidhbari, India
“When I came to Dianne-la’s workshop in Dharamsala, I had never spoken in front of people before, yet I had a big responsibility—we needed to raise money to build a retirement home for people who had worked hard their whole lives for the Tibetan government offices. Our refugee society was very poor, and so all employees were paid very little. Now these kind workers were old and had no one to take care of them. It was our duty to do so. The first days in the training, I was so nervous, my knees and hands were shaking. My English was very poor. Every day I learned more how we should write this plan. Dianne-la told us, “Tell the story from your heart and make sure you have the facts to support it.” We wrote everything by hand, and at night Dianne typed it out for us, so we could see it in the morning. In those days, there were no computers because it was still the early years for the Tibetan Exile Government.
At the end of the week, I read my project plan and proposal out loud to my colleagues. I told the story of these dedicated government employees who were looking to us for help in old age. I had even calculated the cost of every brick and board that would be used in the building. “Tashi,” my colleague, laughed afterwards. “Your hands were shaking and rattling the paper, but you spoke well for our old people.”
We have the Jampaling Old People’s Home now, just behind His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s temple, and 150 old men and women live there—it is administered by the Department of Home and was built and funded largely because of our proposal written in that one week.”
- Tashi Namgyal, Dharamsala, India
“I learned more in the first day of this seminar then I did in all the other seminars I have ever attended in my life put together, and that is no exaggeration. This seminar is like an educational boot camp- the information that the facilitators have in their heads and in their manual (which is a course in itself) would be overwhelming if they weren’t so focused, friendly, clear and relaxed in the presentation of it all. Every hour built on the hour before, and I found that I went out the door at night shaking my head, not because I couldn’t understand what was going on, but because for the first time I could. I was completely taken aback at the amount of one-on-one attention that I was given in this workshop, I had a hundred questions and they had answers for all of them, and led me through every snafu. My kudos to them.”
- Judith L. Robertson, Highland Oaks Family Support
“The Grant Writing Workshop provided training for six staff members who oversee programs at Napa Valley Adult School. The training was powerful in its approach, style and delivery. The facilitators are professional, talented, entertaining and provide a wealth of experience and information. These presenters have worked for Napa Valley Adult School in the past (As our grant-writers!), and have proven their abilities many times over, so I was already confident the training would be well worth the money. Of course, it was. Our program coordinators learned the ‘ins and outs’ of the grant money world and were empowered to seek funding for our various programs. They learned to successfully develop a project, write responsible budgets and seek funding from sources that are willing to support them in their roles as educators.
I watched coordinators go from having not a clue about grant writing to becoming near experts. Thanks to Dianne’s Grant Writing Workshop, the Napa Valley Adult School has received over $2 million dollars from federal, state and local funders over the past four years. We are deeply indebted to the talents and skills of Dianne Aigaki and the Funding Forum Workshop, for helping our school leverage its meager and dwindling state generated funds, and by doing so, become one of the premier, most innovative and educationally diverse adult schools in California.”
- Rhonda Slota, Principal, Napa Valley Adult School, Napa, California
“The grant writing training saved our program. We provide tuberculosis treatment for the very poor. We came to the seminar with no idea of how to raise funds or how to talk about our program. We were very discouraged and fearful for the care of the ill people in our community. We left with a proposal. Within a few weeks we had commitments from funders for our program and were searching the Internet for more leads. This was something we had never heard of before. Ms. Aigaki taught us how to be proud of the work we are doing and how to ask for support with our heads held high, with our good proposal in our hand.”
-Dawa Dhondhup, TB Safety, Bangalore, India