Pursuing funding is a complex endeavor. Application materials can be dense and ambiguous. And the effort can sometimes fall on the shoulders of overtaxed staff who need help carrying application materials over the finish line.
But the possibilities unlocked by funding are too significant. SOAR is excited to announce the launch of a grant writing program in partnership with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI). Together, we’ll provide hands-on guidance to help you locate relevant grants and increase your chances of winning funding for digital entrepreneurship projects and businesses.
There’s a wealth of available resources to help you get funding proposals off the ground. But sometimes, you need a little extra help with taking those first steps — especially when you have the chance to receive help from leading grant experts who regularly work with rural teams.
This program is an unmissable opportunity for grant seekers in Eastern Kentucky. Whether you’re just starting out — or could use some fresh advice to reinvigorate your grant program — this opportunity is for you.
Meet the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI)
With its mission to advance economic prosperity in rural America, CORI is a major asset to our region.
CORI partners with rural leaders to build digital economies that support scalable entrepreneurship and lead to more tech jobs in areas like Eastern Kentucky.
CORI has also been a major player in broadband expansion in Appalachia.
Nearly 60% of rural adults have expressed interest in working for tech companies. But national employment studies show a significant underrepresentation of rural adults in tech positions. While the rise of remote work opportunities is helping to turn this around, there is an urgent need for more homegrown entrepreneurship and tech startups to fill this gap.
That’s why CORI founded the Rural Innovation Network, a community of change agents and local leaders working to advance the economic future of small-town America. Collectively, they’ve impacted more than 1.9 million individuals, supported 125+ tech startups, and launched over a dozen incubator and accelerator programs.
As part of their services, the Rural Innovation Network provides targeted technical assistance for rural organizations and startups seeking funding.
CORI has partnerships and credibility with funders and key players in rural startup communities. And as investors themselves via the CORI Innovation Fund, CORI is an ideal partner to lean on.
With their help, over a dozen rural communities have secured more than $17 million in grant funding.
How the SOAR-CORI program can help you with grant applications
As you already well know, the most valuable grants are highly competitive.
Eastern Kentucky counts on a wide range of worthy organizations pursuing sustainable, digital economic solutions. So do many other rural communities throughout the US.
National statistics indicate you can expect an average 30-40% success rate when applying to new grants and a 50-60% success rate when applying to a mix of new and existing funders.
These rates tend to skew lower among organizations with less grant application experience. But with CORI’s help, we know it’s possible to turn these numbers around.
Nathan Willingham will be leading the program. As the Federal Grant Writing Lead for RISI, he’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has worked in rural community planning and economic development since 2004.
Become eligible for grant feedback from CORI
Perhaps you’re a first-time grant applicant and don’t know where to begin — or how best to direct your grant strategy. Or, maybe you’ve been around the block but haven’t received the results you want just yet.
Either way, CORI can offer practical tips to help strengthen your grant writing and concept paper development skills.
The program will focus on how to develop a standout concept paper that will grab funders’ attention, plus how to locate grants that align well with your organization. It’ll also be your chance to receive direct input from CORI’s team of experts.
Each program participant will have the chance to submit an existing concept paper on behalf of their organization. The content doesn’t have to be in tip-top shape, but it should represent a leading idea that your team wants to pursue.
CORI and SOAR will provide high-level feedback for every proposal we receive.
The value of this service tops several thousand dollars — so run, don’t walk to be a part of it. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via our online form to submit a concept proposal. We’ll be in touch with next steps.
CORI’s help will enhance your capacity to manage the writing process, identify potential matching partners, and effectively bring all the pieces together. And the lessons learned will increase the quality of your grant proposals and build durable capacity for future application development.
CORI is responsible for millions in grant awards. Don’t miss this opportunity to receive their hands-on feedback.