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RADC Offers Grant Writing Expertise

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Nonprofits and small municipalities often rely on grant funding to accomplish their missions and keep up with important infrastructure and public works projects.

Pat DingelsSince 1990, the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) has offered grant writing services to area towns and nonprofits. Pat Dingels, grant writing specialist, was the person hired to start the program.

Dingels is now a seasoned employee with a wealth of experience in winning a range of grants. She writes about 10-20 grants annually. In her 27 years, Dingels says she’s tackled “every topic you can think of,” from parks and recreation upgrades to farm to table initiatives for school food programs.

“In a way we’re a little bit different in our approach since we don’t focus on a certain subject area,” explains Dingels. “Our approach is that the entity is the expert in the subject matter, and we’re providing expertise to help them be successful with the grant application process.”

The small town of Seaforth benefitted from RADC’s grant writing services a few years ago when it needed funding to build a municipal water system.

Seaforth residents had long depended on individual wells and septic systems. But when flooding combined with the town’s proximity to a river resulted in citations from the Minnesota Pollution and Control Agency for health and safety threats, upgrades had to be made.

The town needed to build expensive infrastructure but didn’t have the staff or expertise needed to apply for funding. “That’s where we come in and partner with them to help come up with solution,” says Dingels.

With Dingels’ guidance, Seaforth successfully won a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Small Cities Development Program, which is very competitive.

Seaforth also received a combination grant and loan from the USDA’s Rural Development program. This funding allowed the town of less than 100 residents to build the critical infrastructure it needed.

Over years, RADC has also helped write a number of federal grants for rural fire departments to purchase needed equipment such as vehicles, hoses, nozzles and personal protective equipment such as breathing apparatuses.

The towns of Wanda and Darfur have received funds to buy new fire trucks with Dingels’ assistance. Tanker trucks cost about $150,000. But small towns don’t have enough tax dollars to afford such an expense.

The Darfur Fire Department was also awarded a $55,000 grant for new turnout gear last month, thanks to Dingels’ help. This essential gear protects firefighters in the line of duty.

Volunteer fire departments aren’t usually well funded but they’re critical for fire protection and a swift emergency response. “These grants have been huge for our local fire departments to obtain what they need to keep providing services,” says Dingels. “For a small community of 100 people, this has an incredible impact.”

Dingels is available for hire at an hourly rate. She assists with all aspects of the grant writing process, including research, proposal writing, administration and reporting.

Services are tailored to each client and their specific needs. Dingels can guide clients through the entire process, from grant research to budget development and proposal writing. After a grant is awarded, RADC can administer the grant if needed.

Initially, RADC’s grant writing service was available only to its member communities, but that has since expanded. “We’ve decided that our grant writing service is not just for member communities. It’s available for anybody that needs assistance,” says Dingels.

Learn more about RADC’s grant writing services: http://www.radc.org/radc/community-development/grant-writing-services

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