The course is six weeks long and is delivered in the classroom via video conferencing and teacher facilitation. Each learning module is 20-30 minutes so that it allows the teacher to provide additional instructions for weekly course assignments. At the end of the six week course, teens submit grant applications for projects they want to implement. Mini-grants are awarded to the top teams of teen grant writers. Students that have participated in The Growing SMART Project over the past six years have won more than $200,000 in student grants to address problems like bullying, academic failure, teen pregnancy, childhood obesity, rural blight, environmental degradation, and other issues. Co-developers of The Growing SMART Project are Jan Mitchell Johnson and Beverly Santicola.
Jan Mitchell Johnson is the energetic founder, President, and Lead Writer for Grantsformation, Inc., a highly successful and experienced grant writing, training, and consulting firm located in Houston, Texas. In only three years as a Grants Coordinator in the largest school district in Texas, she helped schools earn over $20 million in funding for education projects and programs. Since January 1, 2003, her company has earned another $110 million in state and federal grants, bringing her total to more than $130 million. In 2010, only 49 of the 1,698 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant applicants were awarded funding. Two of these were hers. Jan has written winning grants for numerous public and charter schools all over the United States, from Alaska to California to Texas and even Arizona’s Navajo Nation. She loves to share her secrets, tips, and techniques with interested educators everywhere. Passionate about what she does, Jan is skilled at helping others overcome their fear of the blank page so that they, too, can “turn words into money.” One Texas school district used what they learned in Jan’s intensive coaching sessions to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in less than one year, even earning the highest score on an extremely competitive grant as one of only six winners in the state. Jan holds a B. S. in Elementary Education, an M. Ed. in Educational Administration, and two lifetime Texas teacher certifications. A teacher at heart, she speaks the language of education and educators and is grateful for a career that makes a difference.
Beverly Santicola, President and CEO of US Government Grants (USGG) is a national training consultant with expertise in grant writing, grant administration, nonprofit leadership, project management, and community development. Since 2001 she has trained staff and volunteers from more than 6,000 nonprofit organizations throughout United States and Puerto Rico, including government agencies, educational institutions, health care providers, churches, faith-based organizations, other nonprofits, and Native American Tribes. Her work in rural communities led to recognition by Civic Ventures as a 2010 Purpose Prize Fellow.
Beverly has led several projects that won national awards for excellence, including AFL-CIO National Labor Management Award, the Work in America – Search for Excellence Award, the Best Practices Award from the US Department of Education and Labor, and the Governor’s Award for Team Excellence. She helped create and lead the CROPS Rural Health Network between 2007 and 2010 in Indiana; helped establish the Asian American Health Coalition and HOPE Clinic in Houston, Texas which became a Federally Qualified Health Center; and partnered with Jan Mitchell Johnson to win a $12.8 million (2 year) grant for the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project in 2010-2012. Santicola is a highly sought after public speaker that remains active in the field of grant administration, and grant writing, working with a team of affiliates that have generated more than $450,000,000 in grants for their clients.