As a graduate of the weeklong training program from The Grantsmanship Center and as a Community Economic Development specialist, I highly recommend that every governmental entity and every nonprofit organization in the Kankakee River Valley, especially community and economic development agencies, invest in the training programs from The Center. Doing so will help our communities be better equipped to obtain, leverage, and successfully manage foundation, corporate, and federal grants. Personally and professionally, I believe such a coordinated strategy could be one of the best ways to leverage the $42 million of stimulus funds Kankakee County governments will receive.

• The Center offers two primary five-day training programs, one more general focused primarily for beginners and one focused on competing for federal grants:

• Competing for Federal Grants:

The next basic training programs are scheduled for June 14-18, July 12-16, and July 26-30. The next competing for government grants are scheduled for Aug. 23-27 and Oct. 18-21.

However, if there is sufficient interest and the requisite financial commitment, a special five-day virtual Competing for Federal Grants for Kankakee River Valley residents could be provided the week of July 12-16. Taking advantage of this extraordinary opportunity would give our communities a headstart over tens of thousands of other communities, and the fact that several local governments and nonprofits would collaborate in such a strategic manner could be a valuable demonstration of community unity, leadership and success.

The usual tuition for the competing for federal grants training is $1,300 per student. The total slightly discounted investment of approximately $30,600 would provide state-of-the-art training for up to 24 individuals. That total could be covered through grants, donations, and tuition paid by area individuals and organizations that want to take advantage of the earlier opportunity to complete the competing for federal grants training. This proposal could be implemented by one or more governmental entities such as Kankakee County, or it could be accomplished as an independent project with fiscal sponsorship, perhaps by the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley.

For more information, contact me or 760-212-9931. Thank you for your support of this opportunity for CAN-Kakee to get a jumpstart!

Charles Betterton