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Snacks by Maria Leyva


An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Collaborating with communications

By Maria Leyva

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the latest installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a blog series by the development team at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs.

As fundraisers, we know that projecting the best information about our organizations is a key way to win new supporters and keep existing ones. The right messaging strategy can bolster support from donors and funders, and establish and increase your organization’s credibility. A close partnership with your organization’s communications team can make that happen.

Here’s a few ways collaboration with communications professionals can bring keep your fundraising strategy sharp or bring it to the next level.

Consistency is key

When writing a grant application, an annual letter of appeal to donors, or an email to a prospective new donor, it’s crucial to produce fundraising messaging that is consistent and aligned with the overall language and messaging of your organization. Delivering clear, consistent, and accurate messaging builds interest and trust in your organization while keeping current donors connected and loyal to your mission.

Because effective fundraising materials aim to inform prospective or current donors about the work of your organization, make an effort to coordinate with your communications, media, or quality control team to review your content. These staff are skilled in message framing, proofing, and polishing, and can review the accuracy of the information you’re presenting. Additionally, they can ensure your fundraising materials use the organization’s color palette, images, and logo. Details like visual branding and effective copy are foundational to conveying the best possible impression of your organization to prospective funders and external audiences.



Step up your STEM programming with $25,000+ from GM

By Maria Leyva

General Motors (GM) is investing in education programs that improve the presence and persistence of students studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—and they are offering grants of $25,000 or more to do just that! GM is committed to “high-quality and relevant [STEM] learning, both inside and outside the classroom.”

Proposals should help scale strong evidence-based, innovative solutions to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Increase the number of students who earn a degree in STEM that matches market needs
  • Increase the presence, achievement, and persistence levels for underrepresented minorities in STEM field
  • Increase the supply of qualified teachers for teacher training in STEM-related subjects

Review the STEM Education RFP for more information.

How to apply

Applicants must first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by May 12, 2017. Invitations to submit a full proposal are based on the merit of the LOI. Only 501(c)3 nonprofits are eligible, and all applicants must take an Eligibility Quiz. Find more information and application instructions on GM’s website.  

Don’t forget, the Afterschool Alliance has many resources that can help you write your LOI and proposal! See our general research page and the Afterschool STEM Hub for STEM-specific messaging and supporting data.

More about General Motors' philantropic giving

GM is committed to fostering smart, safe, and sustainable communities around the world. Through its community investments, GM provides grantees with the tools and resources to push for meaningful change and find transformative solutions to make progress towards shared outcomes. Overall, philanthropic giving is guided by the following principles:

  • Support for recognized local, regional, national, and global charities who provide unique programming and/or community outreach initiatives
  • Broadening strategic partnership opportunities directed toward GM giving focus areas
  • Supporting work that leverages GM’s commitment to empowering underserved communities around the world
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learn more about: Digital Learning Funding Opportunity


Meet Maria Leyva, our new Development Operations Associate!

By Maria Leyva

Greetings, everyone! I am Maria Leyva, the new Development Operations Associate at the Afterschool Alliance. What a privilege it is to join such a stellar team. I will be working alongside passionate and dedicated individuals to advance the importance of afterschool and summer enrichment programs.

My interest and background in afterschool and summer programs stem from my own experience as a working parent. Thanks to afterschool and summer programs, my kids not only received homework help but were also exposed to music, interactive science activities, sign language, theater, comedy improv, and so much more.  So yes indeed, we must work together to support the critical work of the afterschool programs that nurture and strengthen our kids while supporting working families.

Prior to joining the Afterschool Alliance, I oversaw the development activities at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). This included grant writing, prospects tracking and research, and maintaining and nurturing foundation relations. In my time with CHEJ, I helped launch its annual fundraiser event, which convened a record-breaking number of supporters. Additionally, teamwork and diligence paid off when we secured the largest grant in CHEJ’s history. Prior to CHEJ, I held various positions with organizations including the county health department in Phoenix, Ariz.; Concilio Latino de Salud, a nonprofit agency dedicated to Hispanic health promotion; and the National Council of La Raza here in Washington, D.C.

As the Afterschool Alliance Development Operations Associate, I will work in collaboration with all staff to support the progress and timely submission of all foundation and corporate grant reports. Additionally, in collaboration with the Director of Development, I’ll be doing outreach and follow up to prospective donors, develop grant applications, and maintain a fundraising tracking system. Other priorities will be to research and identify new donor prospects while continuing to educate funders and the broader community about the value of afterschool and summer programs. I look forward to collaborating with everyone and contributing to the strong and steady growth of the Afterschool Alliance.

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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance