Monday, June 24, 2013

Love, Mountains, Psytrance, War...

She said, “It’s deep and intimate.” And I said, “What more could anyone want?” 
Chops WanderWeird, an artist and Jeff - generations, at NET

I’ve been planning on hiking the Elk Park/Chicago Basin loop in the Weminuche Wilderness this summer. It’s a little over 40 miles and close to the end the trail passes the Chicago Basin, a beautiful alpine area surrounded by some of the biggest mountains in Colorado. I’ve been wanting to do it, but not inspired. This morning I thought, why not just hike the other way and get to the basin in about 9 miles? Hang out in the rock and tundra and snow and wind for a few days and suddenly I’m inspired. I realize I don’t have to do epic hikes. Whew, what a lightening. Why would I want to do an epic hike? Because I can, or maybe because I could, and because the rewards are so great, e.g., Northern Wind Rivers. But I don’t seem to have the push now.
The stage Friday night. Saturday night the lights really came on.

Last weekend we had the annual Atrium Obscurum psytrance gathering (New Era Transmissions) in the deep woods of East Texas. It was a deep experience for many of us – a transformational gathering. There were just over 200 people camping, talking, dancing, in an amazing sparkling now – together. The music started about 9pm Friday and continued without cease until 1 pm Sunday.

We worked hard setting up, keeping it going, and taking it down. Happy to say that cleanup was close to zero – a few cigarette butts was about it.

From my Facebook post: I want to say that I am proud to have worked with AO on NET – not in a prideful sense, but in a humbled sense of having helped create something beautiful. I’m grateful to be part of this good work. And I had a really good time. Big respect and appreciation for all the AO crew.
Sometime Saturday. Rope, one of the people I camped with in green shirt

Leslie, Sometimes we meet in the hall or somewhere and it’s almost unreal. Like in a dream.

From the book The Hill Fights: The First Battle of Khe Sanh, p. 94-95 (This section is about a Marine named Montgomery): “When he came to… blood flowing from shrapnel wounds. ‘I looked around. No one else was there. Mortar shells still exploding… I crawled on all fours to a bomb crater. I hurt too bad to go any farther so I started calling for help. Two Marines hiding in another crater answered. As soon as I told them I was wounded, they crawled over and patched me up.’ (Montgomery asked them to take his photo.) With mortar shells crashing behind them, the man took Montgomery’s picture.”
Part of Atrium Obscurum crew at Friday morning meeting
Willa, person I don't know, Nick, Kitty, Laura, Luis, Jessica reading,
and Dawn standing

I was the one who took his photo. What he didn’t mention was that he was covered in blood, smiling (going home – if the medevac isn’t shot down), and shooting me the finger – so long, sucker. I’ll think about your dumb ass out here in the boondocks while I’m laying up in a hospital eating ice cream and checking out the nurses

This was written in 2005, on what I thought was my last trip to Hong Kong: On what I thought was probably the last Star Ferry ride of my life I'm staring across the harbor, feeling the engines throbbing under the deck, feeling nostalgic ... a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, sitting right behind me in her Dad's lap - starts singing over and over again, first in English and then in Chinese ...
"Row row row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily merrily merrily,
Life is but a dream.
Another grace note for the trip.

The AO DJ set-up. Sunday about noon
On the last day David and I went to Big John's cafe on either Lock or Hankow Road, parallel to Nathan Road. Big John's is a small place serving Chinese and western foods - including salads that seem safe. Always good vibes in Big John's. This last time the music included the song from long ago...
"Those were the days my friend,
We thought they'd never end,
We'd sing and dance forever and a day.
We'd live the life we'd choose,
We'd fight and never lose,
Those were the days,
Oh yes, those were the days.

Of course I'm thinking of Leslie - talk about nostalgic - yet thinking, yeah, that's pretty much how it's turning out. These are the days.

Rode that big 747 to Taipei, on to LA, and then Dallas. Home. 
Charles Kemp, working on decos

The other day someone said (rationalizing giving up his dreams), “You can’t change the world.”

Reality, when I experience Leslie…
© What I see now
© What I remember
© What is real/50+ years of loving


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Money for changing the world

For KLS, who recently got a job in grant-writing and for BR, who is carrying the vision forward – and for anyone else who can use the information. What follows is a slightly edited version of a handout for a presentation I made at a Temple University conference on Primary Care for the Underserved. The focus is on grass-roots organizations, naturally, and is based on 30+ years of grant-writing and millions of dollars in grants received. This is a distillation of pretty much everything I learned along the way. As always, thanks to Professor Al Shapero at UT Austin School of Business Administration.

Thoughts on Program Planning and Development
Estevan Garcia, MD, Children's Medical Center ED and
Charles Kemp, FNP, Baylor University Community Health
Volunteering at the Agape Clinic


1. Provide real services to people: As noted elsewhere, too many people spend too much time planning and talking. A good idea is the essential first step, but many steps remain. Few grants are awarded on the basis of a good idea or even a need. Granting organizations want to know if you have the ability to provide services that make a difference in people's lives.

2. Explore the problem and resources: This includes providing services – the best means of exploring the problem & solutions:
  • The problem itself (e.g., refugee health or diabetes prevention or whatever) and related areas such as infectious diseases, access problems, cultural issues, immigrant health issues, etc. 
  • Strengths and constraints of the organization primarily responsible for delivering services.
  • Community resources and attitudes.
This is not a literature review, but rather a problem and a dynamic community assessment that is only the first step in the planning process. Too often, a model or plan is fixed early in the process, e.g., we’re going to do parish nursing and this is what parish nursing looks like. Bad planning. Deciding on a plan of action before the problem is understood in its entirety is a mistake. The community assessment is modified as new data emerges and new funding sources arise. Throughout the planning process . . . (see #3 below)

3. Identify potential partners and funding sources; begin planning the project. Researching potential funding sources is an ongoing effort throughout the life of the organization. Funding sources to research should include foundation, corporate, religious, civic, individual, and government (federal, state, and local).

Plans must address the needs of the client population and the desires of funding source(s). Cooperation with other providers is a hallmark of successful proposals. Internally, plans must fit with organization funding development plans. Externally, plans must sometimes be adapted to funding organization constraints. Be flexible! Please note that plans are not yet set.

Write the proposal/finish planning. Creative, effective proposals evolve from a strong understanding of the problem, the community, and a lot of hard work. Proposals/plans must be clearly written, responsive to all requirements of funding sources, show the organization as businesslike and well-managed, and at the same time, be creative. If guidelines are given, plans must be responsive to the guidelines. Using evaluation criteria as a format for the proposal is sometimes possible.

4. Start over again. Rest for a few days and begin again. Successful research, planning, and writing are part of an ongoing process and for me, a lot of failure on the way to success.

Tip. In working on a specific project or a new organization I never sent the first proposal to the best prospect. The more times I reworked a proposal, the better it got. Responding to different sets of guidelines from different organizations taught me different ways of seeing and saying things.

Characteristics of Successful Grant Proposals
  • Responsive to all directions and requirements of the funding source.
  • Meet a specific and recognized (by the funding source) need.
  • Will be carried out by knowledgeable persons who have a history of success.
  • Directed at a population (vs. organization). Funding sources invest in programs to help people. Few give money to help organizations.
  • Innovative and well organized plan of action with reasonable dates for objectives to be achieved.
  • Workable management plan - business acumen is essential.
  • Evaluation plan that will measure and communicate outcomes or impact.
  • Reflect community support in the form of cooperative agreements for organizations to work together.
  • Realistic budget that is neither to high nor to low.
  • Will reflect well on the funding source.
  • Will not die when the current funding runs out - and it always does run out.
  • Carefully written abstract (when an abstract is required). Often the abstract or cover letter makes or breaks the proposal.
Tip. RFPs often have unrealistic deadlines. Tough luck.  That’s just one way of weeding out the unprepared/unqualified. All you can do is bear down and work smart. Everyone else is in the same boat.

Commonly Needed Supporting Documents for Grant Proposals (Start a file NOW - establishing a file of these is part of grantsmanship. Be sure none of this info is dated)
  • 501(c)(3) documents
  • Financial audit letter (if organization is 3+ years old)
  • Organization Chart, including volunteers
  • List of board members, including employment and committee assignments
  • Job descriptions for primary staff
  • Resumes of primary staff (grant-oriented, not employment)
  • Article of Incorporation
  • By-laws
  • Franchise Tax Certificate
  • List of person/agencies likely to support (for obtaining letters of cooperation/ support – which, of course, are about specifics of working together vs. fan letters)
  • Current organization statistics, especially outcomes
  • Listing of current contributors, including in-kind
  • PHS Grants Policy Statement
  • Federal Regulations, Title 45 CFR, Parts 74 and 92 (only if applying for federal grants – which is very complicated)

Steps to Forming a Nonprofit Organization

  • Provide services to clients: Too many people spend too much time planning and talking. Face it. Most of us have good ideas. Few grants are awarded on the basis of a good idea or even a need. Granting organizations want to know if you have the ability to provide services that make a difference in people's lives.
  • Decide purpose and structure.
  • Form initial board of directors.
  • Obtain IRS 1023 application – this document is a great guide to forming a nonprofit! Everything they require is a good thing and something you need.
  • File articles of incorporation.
  • Draft bylaws.
  • Set program plan (mission, goals and objectives, plans of action, and management plan).
  • Develop budget.
  • Develop fund raising plan.
  • Hold formal organizational meeting (elect board of directors).
  • Apply for liability insurance.
  • Establish a record keeping system.
  • File IRS 1023 application [for 501(c)(3)] designation.
  • File Charitable Trust Registration is required.
  • File Employer Registration (federal and state) for income tax withholding.
  • Apply for state sales tax exemption if necessary.
  • Implement the fund raising plan.
  • Register with state unemployment insurance.
  • Apply for nonprofit bulk mail permit (if sending several mailings of over 200 pieces in 12 month period).
  • Develop personnel policies.
  • Begin program activities.
  • Hire staff, obtain space, deliver services, etc.
Continue (1) documenting outcomes and (2) writing proposals and otherwise raising funds.