Applying for the Center for Cultural Innovation’s Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grant

On May 31, more than two months after attending my first Look What SHE Did! event, I received an email from Julie Hébert about applying for the Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grant through the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI).

With the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CCI created this grant program to support new arts leadership in California. They were looking to invest in art/culture projects that would help address issues such as intergenerational leadership, multicultural leadership, inclusion and equity. The projects were required to be authored and led by diverse and/or junior-level leaders that are part-time or full-time employees or in some other way formally affiliated with the organization.

When Julie found out about the opportunity to apply for the grant, she thought of me and the Archer shoot that we had begun to talk about. Our idea was to approach the grant from an intergenerational point of view, because we wanted the shoot to be a mentorship program. Girls would have the opportunity to be mentored by a director, cinematographer, producer, etc. and then take on that role themselves. We also wanted to shoot to serve as a template for other schools in the future.

Since the grant writer was required to work for the organization, I became a youth blogger for LWSD! and wrote my first blog back in May then I began to work on the grant. I wrote about the project’s goals to encourage intergenerational leadership, foster new, diverse young female leadership in media arts and allow girls to improve their video making skills while introducing them to a large network of professionals. In addition to working on the writing portion of the grant, I helped create the budget. After a lot of drafting and a few revisions, I was really happy with the final narrative.

A few months later, we found out that we did not receive the grant. I spent so much time working on it during my summer vacation, so I was initially a bit disappointed. However, I know that everything happens for a reason. I still gained valuable knowledge from this experience — not many 16 year olds can say they’ve written a grant before!

Nevertheless, we continued planning the shoot.