Week 8: A Very Short Week

         Unfortunately, due to illness, my work week was very short.  I got sick during work on Wednesday and had to stay home on both Thursday and Friday with a high fever.  At the beginning of this week, however, I did manage to complete several projects.

        The first thing I did this week was complete the application to the Clifford Chance Foundation.  I only had a little more work to do and it mostly consisted of adding in some updated numbers about IBJ’s successes and tweaking some language to help the application appeal to Clifford Chance’s values and mission statement.  After I had a completed draft, I gave a copy to Sanjee to review and eventually submit.  This is basically the process for all applications and proposals that are written because of Sanjee’s vast experience and inside knowledge about many of the organizations that we write to.  Sanjee will always suggest better word choices, add the most recent numbers, or delete entire sections and, at the end of the day, everyone knows that all of these changes are for the best.  Sanjee often speaks directly with the founders or other members of the various organizations and as a result, he will have very important insight on how to best appeal to their interests.  For example, some organizations hate it when someone uses the term, “legal aid” and instead they prefer “legal representation.”  It is seemingly small changes like this that can mean the difference between a successful proposal and an unsuccessful one if it comes down to the wire.

        After finishing all of major projects that I had started, I began to research two new proposals.  The first was a proposal to the United States Department of State for an Access to Justice program in Syria.  Syria is one of the many countries that IBJ is seeking to become involved with and this grant would offer IBJ $500,000 to begin the development of training programs for local lawyers, judges, and police officers.  After researching the requirements for this grant however, it became clear that the US Department of State was really trying to restrict this grant to a special few organizations.  The amount of restrictions on who could apply was very specific and unfortunately I found out that IBJ was ineligible.  The grant required that an organization be registered as a legal entity in both Turkey and Syria but IBJ is not registered in either country.  This is why it is always important to do extensive research before starting any proposal or application.  If I had not put in this extra time and instead just started writing, as many other interns do, I would have ended up wasting days of hard work on a proposal that would never be considered.

        With the proposal to the US Department of State off the table, I started researching the proposal opportunity to the MacArthur Foundation.  I had mentioned this proposal several weeks ago on another blog entry because the grant amount was abnormally large.  MacArthur just announced their 100 & Change initiative that would offer $100 million to one organization for three years.  This presents a huge opportunity for IBJ.  With $100 million IBJ could fund all of its current programs for years and start many new programs as well.  Even though this proposal is not due until October of this year, it is important to begin the writing process as soon as possible.  Even though I will not be here when this proposal is submitted, it is amazing that I am going to be the first to work on such a large project.  In the upcoming weeks I look forward to combing through the details of this proposal and starting the writing process.  I hope to finish a large portion of it before I have to leave in early August so that the staff and new interns at IBJ will have plenty of time to polish and perfect it.  While this will be a highly competitive application both do to the amount of money offered and the very broad limitations that MacArthur set, I know that IBJ will set itself apart from many other organizations and will give us a fighting chance to win.