DePaul Grant Writing Partnership: Spring 2020

Build Your Nonprofit’s Capacity for Grantseeking and Grant Writing

If your nonprofit is ready to apply for grants, but could use support or a jump-start to do so, consider joining a service-learning partnership offered by Professor Lisa Dush of DePaul University.

Go directly to the Partnership Interest Form.

This partnership will connect your organization with a team of graduate students in a Grant and Proposal Writing course offered by DePaul’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse. Over approximately ten weeks, your student team will help you develop grantseeking materials appropriate to your organization.

The partnership will run from April to early June 2020. Up to five organizations will be invited to partner with the course.

NOTE: Because DePaul has shifted to online delivery of courses for the spring quarter, this partnership will be coordinated remotely, using Zoom for face-to-face meetings and a Basecamp site (project-management software) provided by DePaul to coordinate document exchange and messaging.

What Will Our Organization Get From this Partnership?

Your team of 2-3 students, with your input, will complete tasks such as the following:

  • Research the Foundation Directory Online to identify foundations that are appropriate funders for your organization.
  • Start or update a spreadsheet for tracking grant opportunities and deadlines.
  • Write template or actual Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) to potential funders.
  • Develop a logic model to explain an organizational program.
  • Write a template grant proposal, to be adapted for a range of funders, or write an actual proposal to an identified funder.
  • Write or update key components of grant proposals, including leadership and Board Member profiles and a mission statement.
  • Gather and synthesize current facts, statistics, and stories that can argue for need in grant proposals.

You will work with your student team to identify the deliverables that will be most useful to the organization, and the team will submit these materials to you by early June.

What Time Commitment is Required by this Partnership?

Your organization should assign 1-3 people to this partnership, who are familiar with the organization’s strategic priorities, fundraising methods, and grantseeking history. In prior partnerships, participants have included staff members and, occasionally, board members.

Organizations should plan to devote an average of 1-3 hours per week to the partnership, from April to early June. We ask that you host members of the student team at least once at your organization (if feasible), and that you respond to their requests for information.

Prof. Dush will also share key grantseeking resources with all partners, so that those new to the process can build capacity.

The total time commitment and key dates for participating organizations are as follows:

  • By M Mar. 23 (priority date, Mar. 18): Submit the Partnership Interest Form.
  • Before Sa Mar. 28: talk on the phone or via Zoom with Prof. Dush about your organization’s current grantseeking practices and your priorities for the partnership. This discussion will help Prof. Dush to orient the student teams.
  • Tu Apr. 14, 6–7:30 pm: Attend a synchronous online meeting (via Zoom) with Prof. Dush’s class, to meet student team and discuss project priorities and plan of work.
  • W Apr. 15–Tu June 2: Spend approximately 1-3 hours/week on the project, responding to requests for information and giving feedback on draft documents.
  • Tu June 2, 6–8:00 pm: Attend a synchronous online meeting (via Zoom), to hear all student teams’ final presentations and celebrate completion of the project.

How Do We Sign Up?

If your organization is interested in this partnership, please contact Prof. Lisa Dush at or simply complete the Partnership Interest Form. Note that we often have more organizations express interest than can be accommodated.

Additional details about past nonprofit partnership courses are available online at