Feb 23 2012

Joanne Taylor of Boise writes grant to train and help employ Shoshone-Paiute tribe members


Joanne Taylor of Boise: Federal grant applications aren’t so bad. Especially when you consider the number of people you could help, and the impact on a community when the government funnels $5 or $6 million into it.

I’ve been working on a “Workforce Innovation Fund” application for the Employment & Training Administration of the Dept. of Labor. The lead applicant is the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The idea behind our grant proposal is to reduce dependence on government assistance programs by providing tribal members access to workforce training programs that are proven to result in jobs and long-term employment prospects.

Our approach is a cure to lasting unemployment and poverty, rather than a band aid. And, it addresses the needs of the local construction industry, currently challenged by a lack of trained, skilled workers.

The training will be conducted by the Heavy Equipment Operator School of Idaho (HEOSI) and will consist of two programs: Heavy Equipment Operator and I-CAN (International-Construction Academy Networks) training. Both programs offer industry-recognized certification, and boast a 99% graduation rate.

We hope to put 200 tribal members through HEOSI training programs and, eventually, to work. This would have a significant impact on a segment of population currently dealing with a 47%+ unemployment rate. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Sep 12 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise: Why allow comments to go unchecked?


Joanne Taylor of Boise takes on rogue commentators and those who give them license to operate.

People who have nothing to do, no originality, and no ability to think and express themselves rationally can be found online, lurking in the comment section of your local newspaper.

Most of them are faceless because they lack the courage to show themselves or identify who they really are. They complain about the world’s ills, about the way people are doing their jobs, about government injustice. They make false accusations, and speak hurtful untruths. Yet, they have no solutions or meaningful suggestions. Most likely, they rarely even leave the house.

So why is it that we and, worse yet, online news editors allow them to persist? It’s not that difficult to monitor comments and filter them out. News sources that view themselves as credible, and want others to do the same, should either monitor their comment sections or turn them off.

Aug 19 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise writes winning grant for Cynthia Mann Elementary School


Joanne Taylor of Boise comments on most recent grant win:

I wouldn’t want to get in the habit of writing about every grant I win, but I’m really excited about the most recent one. Maybe it’s because the grant funds will benefit the school that my daughters attend. Or, perhaps it’s because I wrote the grant as a volunteer, and there’s something satisfying about doing something just for the sake of doing it, and affecting change, even if in a small way.

Feeling frustrated and wanting to do something to help Boise schools in the wake of budget and staff cuts, not to mention rash legislation that serves private interests, I volunteered to write a few grants for Cynthia Mann Elementary School.

I have always been impressed with the teachers, staff and principal at Cynthia Mann, and have often thought about what the place would be like without them, should their jobs be eliminated or they decide to seek a new career. How would other kids acquire the love for reading and math that my girls acquired without first grade teacher Wendy Leadbetter? How would they discover that learning can be fun and teachers can sometimes be silly without Tina Kambitsch? How would they learn that at school, like everywhere else, kindness and respect towards others is essential?

Those thoughts led me to action. I asked some of the teachers at Cynthia Mann what they needed most in order to continue to progress and/or keep up with current teaching methods.  Interactive whiteboards were mentioned most often. I worked with Cynthia Mann PTA President Amy Stahl and Principal Rick Bollman to complete two grants in hopes of raising enough money to cover the costs for 5 whiteboards, 5 wireless adapters, and installation fees.  Total amount needed: $9,836.80.

We were awarded $4,836.80 from Boise Public Schools Education Foundation and are waiting on word from Micron on an additional $4,000.  Cynthia Mann’s PTA helped out, raising $1,200. In addition, the school received two used whiteboards from the Boise School District—all-in-all, a fantastic return on our efforts, thanks to teamwork and determination.

We made a difference. A small difference, but it’s a start. Please think today about what you might be able to do to help kids, teachers and staff at public schools.

“Most students enjoy interacting, manipulating, and working with the whiteboard. It is quite impressive to see reluctant learners, who have previously been hesitant to interact during class discussions, are now more excited to “come to the board” and share their results, style of learning, or process in which the solved the answer.”

-Kimberly Amburn, 5th Grade Teacher at Cynthia Mann and interactive whiteboard user


May 9 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise is Development Manager at Children’s Home Society


Joanne Taylor of Boise has taken her grant writing skills, mixed them with 20+ years of experience in marketing and PR, and taken on the role of development manager at Children’s Home Society of Idaho. The Children’s Home provides emotional and behavioral health counseling and therapy to children, and the families that care for them, regardless of ability to pay. As development manager, I am responsible for grant writing, fundraising, and community relations.

The Children’s Home used to be the state orphanage. One of the first projects I got involved in, way before I actually started working at the home, is the historic preservation of the Children’s Home adoption records. An in-depth story about this appeared in the Idaho Statesman today. Click here for more. Since the story was published, I’ve received several notes from people who want to help, donate money, or retrieve their adoption records.

Silver locket left at Children's Home Society in the early 1900s for "Baby Johnson." Photo taken by Darin Oswald at the Idaho Statesman.

I can’t say I haven’t loved the work I’ve done as a PR and marketing person in the for-profit world, because I have. But this work, and those who are affected by it, have changed my path forever more.

Mar 14 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR to donate $3,500 worth of BSU merchandise


What do you do when a friend calls from Vegas and says he has six large boxes full of Boise State merchandise left over from the Maaco Bowl and asks you to sell it for him in a place where more people would be interested in buying it–a place like Boise.  Makes sense, right? And easy enough to do. Turns out, though, that not that many people are interested in BSU football gear once the season is over and, in this case, the bowl game is history.

Out of six boxes, I still have four. Great looking, high-quality hats, t-shirts and hoodies. I didn’t want to ship it back and my friend wasn’t too enthused about taking up space in his warehouse. So, I bought it for one lump sum, on behalf of Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR, so I could donate it to a local, youth-based non-profit.

My first thought was the Treasure Valley Boys and Girls club. There didn’t seem to be much interest there, though, and I started to think that it would be better to give it to a group that is less visible but in just as much need. The merchandise, worth about $3,500 at retail, could either be given away to the kids that the non-profit serves or sold to help fund programs.

I’m still working through this so let me know if you have any suggestions…

Jan 12 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR to specialize in grant writing


Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR has added grant writing to its list of services.  This is the result of much heartache over the loss of state funding for public schools and libraries, and tough times for non-profits that serve underprivileged youths and their families across the US.

It took a friend of 30+ years to fire me up and get me to do something to try to help. She writes grants for the Washoe County School District in Reno, and it’s not unusual for her to bring in $6-8 million in one month for the district. In September of 2010, she raked in $27 million. The day I found that out is the day I asked her to be my mentor. She agreed and has been teaching me the tricks of the trade for the past three months. Certainly it’s going to take me a lot longer than that to get it down, but I’ve made a start. The first step is most important, right?

I’m currently working on my 6th formal grant. It’s interesting, and somewhat surprising, how closely the grant proposal process aligns with PR planning. You start with research in order to grasp an understanding of  the situational landscape. Then you define your mission, state your goals, outline your strategies, and determine how to evaluate success. The proposal is the pitch. It’s much longer, of course, but our knack for keeping it brief and to the point makes us a rare commodity among grant writers, and makes our proposals stand out.

Once I tackle private grants, I’m going to turn my attention toward federal grants. This is where the real fun begins….