Behind the grants

Illustration by Abbie Lancaster

In 2019, MCCC received $330,000 from the DTE Energy Foundation for STEM Scholar Program and for PASS (Program to Accelerate Student Success).

The Native American Heritage Fund gave the college $199,000 to better teach and interpret Native American culture.

Another grant of $10,000 was given by Fifth Third Bank to support the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).

The college’s grant writer, Cajetan D’Cunha, said the grant writing process starts off as a proposal submitted as a request for proposal document from federal, state or foundations, offering to provide funds for specific areas and causes in an institution.

Whether a grant goes to the welding or nursing program depends on the stipulations of the grant.

D’Cunha said finding a grant is more simple with grant search engines like the GrantFinder, which allows a grant writer to search available grants and see what criteria must be met to be eligible.

Reading newsletters from foundations and nonprofits also play an important part in searching for available grants.

In the search, D’Cunha said he keeps an eye out and communicates with leadership and faculty to understand what needs have to be met as well as new possible opportunities for the students and the college.

For any grant awarded, there needs to be a written proposal submitted.

This proposes what would be done with the grant money, outlining a detailed budget as to where the money would go and outcomes of how it could help students, programs or the college infrastructure.

The needs of the college can include the purchase or upkeep of equipment, tech, facilities upgrade, as well as certain programs or events that would need further funding.

The possibilities of grants are varying, though not all grants are pursued.

Other departments also submit grant proposals. The federal work-study program, which is a source of financial aid is submitted and administered by the Financial Aid Office.

Various other grants that are heavily involved in certain departments like the welding grants, are searched out from their respective areas on campus.

The STEM grant from DTE that the college currently has provides $300,000 for three years to help students, providing a student success coach to aid students with staying motivated in their endeavors.

A grant D’Cunha has just applied for is the TRIO Student Support Services grant for $250,000 per year for five years.

This grant was put together by a team lead by Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services, that took several months to complete.

Students, in addition, can still play a big role in identifying grants for the college.

Reading self-interest newsletters can lead to various grant opportunities that can be brought up to someone like your faculty or D’Cunha who can look more in depth on offers.

This could show possible funding opportunities that they may not have known of otherwise.

D’Cunha says that being aware is key.

“Something might come up at work, in a family chat,” he said. “You never know.”

Those interested in pursuing grants could contact D’Cunha at cdcunha@monroeccc.edu.