Intern's project produces income for Portland Adult Ed

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PORTLAND — Samantha Collins, a 2011 Bowdoin College graduate, turned her internship with Portland Adult Education into a $30,000 grant for infrastructure improvement for the program.

Collins, who is now a graduate student at Emory University in Atlanta, worked with Rob Wood, the program director, to create an internship that focused on grant writing.

“(Grant writing) hasn’t been explored as much at Portland Adult Education,” Collins said. “There hadn’t been a formalized position (for it), so they thought that having an intern do it might be a good way to trial it and see how it works.”

During the course of her six-month internship, Collins worked on six grant proposals and created a system to keep things organized for the next generation of interns.

“A big part of my job was tabulating all of the grants and all of my research so they can continue using that in the future,” she said, “because I knew I was going to be leaving for grad school.”

Five of the grant proposals Collins submitted were rejected, but shortly after Collins left her internship for graduate school, Portland Adult Education received word that it was awarded a $30,000 grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation. The grant was flexible in its parameters and will allow the program to provide better support to its students.

Grants from the Gorman foundation typically fund efforts to improve the lives of disadvantaged and under-served Maine residents.

Portland Adult Education had previously applied for a Gorman grant, but was rejected. During this round of grant writing, Collins took a different approach to contacting the organization.

“Portland Adult Education really needs to work on its infrastructure, but that is kind of a hard sell because infrastructure is hard to fund,” she said. “(We wrote this as a) general support grant and it focused on why the organization should receive support.”

She said she believes pitching the grant in that way is what ultimately made the difference.

“It’s an easy sell because the work (Portland Adult Education does) is amazing,” Collins said. “But grants are so hard to come by so we were really, really lucky.”

Amber Cronin can be reached at [email protected] or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.