We recently experienced the most significant grant win for our business, and the satisfying personal grant win that I’ve ever had in my career. I just received the news last week and I’m still reeling from it.

Last December, we received a call that one of the organizations who we reviewed a grant for, had missed a financial statement requirement, which deemed their grant application ineligible. The youth organization which works with marginalized young people had submitted an application for $15,000 for a mentorship program.

Upon looking into the matter further, we realized that the issue was subject to interpretation, and that the applicant was treated unfairly. They did provide two years of financial statements, and the financial statements were within the requirements, but there was a loophole which would have deemed them ineligible. The only way they could have met the strict requirement was to submit new financial statements, a costly affair.

I indicated that they should not accept this as a decline, as it was not a clear requirement. Instead, we expressed how they should reach out for the funder, and how to approach the issue, which provided them with guidance. Then, I spoke to a colleague in the accounting and finance world, and requested that if there was any way possible to get it done, we needed a financial statement produced within a week. This is unheard of.

The funder then changed course in response to our request. Now, they would allow the organization to apply, but they needed new financial statements. This cannot be provided overnight, as it can take weeks to prepare the audit. So we advocated to a more senior contact within that funding body, and finally, after writing a draft letter and asking our client to submit it, they were granted an extension.

We provided some funds to help cover the cost of the financial audit, and indicated that if there was a successful grant outcome, we would request those funds back, but if not, that would be our financial contribution to try to troubleshoot this issue.

We patiently waited for months for the news, and today we are more than thrilled to share that the organization was able to successfully overturn the automatic decline, by acting quickly to submit new financial statements and submitting a strong Grant application.

Within this process, I learned that our company does have a strong role in advocating for the work of nonprofits. We are uniquely positioned and I hope that we can continue to help more organizations to be treated fairly by funders, and to be able to put their best foot forward to apply for funding for the important work that they do in their communities.