Stephanie Soliz saw a need for skilled grant writers throughout her dedicated volunteer time to nonprofit organizations so she decided to take on the challenge herself. After earning her grant writing certificate, Stephanie has helped nonprofits she genuinely cares about win over $150,000 in the last year through recurring grants and securing new grant funding. The best part? She’s grown just as much personally as professionally in her journey.
Salisbury, North Carolina
Crisis Care, Human Trafficking, Mental Health, Veteran
Motivated to Uncover the “Elusive” Skill of Grant Writing for Nonprofits
Stephanie Soliz’s heart and passion lies with organizations working against domestic violence and sexual assault. Throughout the past five years, she’s put in nearly full-time job hours volunteering with various local nonprofit organizations.
In all her experience working with nonprofits, grant writing seemed to be a giant, elusive skill that either no one was equipped or available for. “It was this giant secret skill. So, I thought, well, why not learn how to do that?” Stephanie said.
A bit of research later, Stephanie found herself plugged into the Learn Grant Writing community (and we’re so happy to have her!). We definitely don’t keep grant writing a secret and she’s been able to hone her grant writing skills in the short few months she’s been part of the Collective.
Since joining the Collective, Stephanie has won over $150,000 for the non-profits she works with.
In addition, her grant writing work correlates directly with her husband’s consultant work for emergency services and emergency planning for nonprofit organizations. Together, their work meshes well and they are able to provide a more rounded service offering depending on client needs. Check out this YouTube interview with Stephanie!
Becoming a Grant Writer
As a freelance grant writer, Stephanie continues to find herself drawn towards her primary passion of helping organizations stop domestic violence and support survivors. Her first client was a brand new mental health organization focused on providing mental health care in a different way.
“It’s not just a sit in the office and talk to somebody approach, but take it outside, learn new skills in the process, and make it more of a comfortable place to really find healing,” Stephanie said. “I do tend to find myself more drawn to mental health and the domestic violence survivors and things like that. My heart is wholly toward the survivors and mental health.”
This type of work also allows Stephanie to think creatively about how to help survivors. She recently submitted a major league baseball grant and is waiting to hear back on award notification. The kicker is that major league baseball has donated millions of dollars in the past few years to support the work of domestic violence nonprofit organizations. Stephanie’s grant writing skills are both directly and indirectly helping the people her heart is on fire for.
Alongside her husband who does a lot of work with a performing arts center, Stephanie has also assisted with grant writing in the arts realm, further expanding her expertise.
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Building Connections with Nonprofit Leaders
When thinking about her proudest moment of learning grant writing, Stephanie highlighted reaching out to various nonprofit organizations as her primary accomplishment.
“I'm very introverted and I don't really care for social situations. Reaching out to nonprofits for the informational interviews, being able to send that email, being able to make that call, and then sitting on a video is not something I would have done before,” Stephanie said. “The fact that I was able to cross that hurdle and conquer that fear of talking to people is my biggest accomplishment.”
She’s also incredibly proud of the grants she’s been able to help secure for organizations as well. Stephanie has celebrated winning grant renewals (critical to the continued success of an organization) and new grants—one for $40,000!
Building connections with nonprofit staff has also presented unique opportunities to have coworkers of sorts in a world of Zoom meetings and phone conference calls. “I've been working with another person in the office to write the grants,” Stephanie said. “He and I were able to build off each other, proofreading and editing each other’s work. It’s great to have that buddy.”
Her Learn Grant Writing Review?
Stephanie’s experience with the Collective has been more than she ever expected it to be. The process of learning the skill has been attainable, fun, organized, and highly informative. “It has made it go from this overwhelming idea of a super secret grant world to taking it step-by-step with so much information. It just makes it a lot less scary,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie has firsthand experience with a university grant writing course and has found the Collective to be much more in tune with the real world of grant writing. “I got way more information from the Collective and way more help than I ever received from the university,” Stephanie said. “They don’t even compare and the Collective is more affordable. It's incredible. I love it.”
Moving forward in her grant writing journey, Stephanie is grateful to have continued support in the form of a “whole pile of people to cheer me on and help me out”.
We’re so happy to be part of your journey, Stephanie!
Grant Writing Resources
If you’d like to learn tips on grant writing for nonprofits, check out our free grant writing course on the 7 Steps to Write Winning Grants.
Also, if you’re looking to hire a grant writer for your nonprofit, find your match here.
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