Grantwriting for Environmental Defense

Instructor Name: 
Lisa Jo Frech
Course Description: 

Environmentalism is a philosophy and social movement (some call it a revolution) involving both protection and improvement of the health of our natural environment. Environmentalism is an attempt to achieve sustainability so that both humans and the Earth thrive without compromising future generations. The movement in this country is credited as starting with Rachel Carson and her extremely popular book Silent Spring published in 1962, when it fact it was spawned in 1945 with the return of soldiers from World War II and the creation of suburbs that caused issues with sewage, storm water runoff, nonpoint source pollution, and inefficient energy sources. In recent years studies have revealed that the environmental health of a community is directly related to the economic health of that community. Environmentalism encourages land use reforms for preservation, restoration, and/or improvement of the natural environment, and is commonly seen at the local level in efforts to control pollution or protect plant and animal diversity. For this reason, concepts such as land ethic, environmental ethics, biodiversity, ecology, climate change, trophic cascade, and whole basin management feature. 

The environmental movement is making a difference - nudging greenhouse gas emissions down in states with strong green voices, according to a Michigan State University (MSU) study. 

Environmental advocacy or defense means working to influence public policy in social, economic, political, and cultural spheres in order to bring about justice and positive change in human rights and environmental issues. Environmental advocacy involves both protecting the public from environmental hazards and protecting the natural world. The need of environmental protection in the Pacific Northwest is not much different than the need anywhere else in this country. Some would say that if anything, it's greater here because we are rich in natural wonders and therefore we have more to lose. 

This service-learning class uses an experiential approach: students learn to research and write compelling grant proposals by engaging in the process of research and writing actual proposals to be used by our Community Partner in their pursuit of funding for projects they have selected and described for us.

Students in this Capstone course partner with a Portland based environmental nonprofit organization who advocates for nature, the wild, and the preservation of these special and vanishing places. The course is heavy on writing and your writing should be at the college senior level or higher. Numerous revisions of documents will be necessary. It will seem tedious at times (particularly if you're used to texting and social media communication and have forgotten what you learned about proper grammar and punctuation), but you will find it highly rewarding in the end. 

The grant components that students learn to write are a Cover Letter, Executive Summary, Organization Description, Statement of Need, Budget and Narrative, and an Evaluation Plan. This is professional writing, NOT academic writing, and some students struggle to make that adjustment. At the conclusion of the term, most students are very pleased with their new skills which are quite transferable to other areas of employment. 

The text book that we used for this class is a breeze to read - everyone likes and appreciated it. 

Community Partners so far have included Portland Rising Tide, Oregon Wild, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, the Columbia Riverkeeper, and the Willamette Riverkeeper. 

All sections of this course are fully online.