Spending money to make money

by Rhea Purvis

President John Byrd has recently announced that Simpson College will hire a full-time grant writer to look for money from various foundations and government entities.

One way colleges raise money is by asking for funding – requests formally referred to as grants. Grant writing is competitive in a sense, because while the grant writer will be looking at hundreds of possibilities and striving for a match with Simpson’s internal needs, there are countless other institutions doing the same thing.

According to Byrd, this is not a newly created position, but rather a position that has been vacant for about nine months. He’s looking forward to filling it again.

“We are glad to be able to refill this position,” Byrd said.

Byrd said while the college could survive without more funds, it has regained balance and will need more money in order to grow.

“We are doing very well financially in a sense that we are balanced,” he said.

According to Chris Goodale, the vice president of college advancement, the previous grant writer at Simpson was Carmen Bratz.

“She did a wonderful job of working with the faculty in efforts to secure grants for programs across campus,” Goodale said.

The position became open when Bratz decided to stay home with her child.

According to Goodale, Simpson expects to have someone hired for the position before May 1.

“We have some very strong candidates who have applied and been recruited,” Goodale said. “The next step is to bring them to campus for interviews.”

Goodale said the benefits of having a full-time grant writer again could be impressive. He said between corporate foundations, other charitable foundations and competitive federal grants, there’s a great potential for significant amounts of money to be secured.

By hiring a grant writer, Simpson is literally spending money to make money. Freshman Melissa Markus isn’t sure it’s worth it.

“It seems spending money to make money is a little unnecessary,” Markus said.

According to Byrd, the grant writer will likely be making several times more for the college than what he or she is being paid to do so.

“The end result of this position will be stronger programs,” he said.

According to Goodale and Byrd, hiring a grant writer is a logical move for the college at this point. Goodale only sees one challenge in the future – actually getting the grants.

“The challenge will come in matching the funding priorities of these entities with the needs we have at Simpson,” he said.