Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the May 28, 2003 edition of U.S. 1
Newspaper, and a correction was made on June 4, 2003. All rights
How to Win That Foundation Grant
There are 65,000 foundations in the United States, and
nearly all of them share the same basic mission — to give away
money. "The trend is that the money is steadily rising," says
Research Associates. Founded in 1985, the company helps non-profits
of all kinds to craft grants that will pull in some of the cash to
fund their programs.
On Monday, June 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m., Research Associates gives
a week-long Certified Grants Specialist course at the Hasbrouck
Hilton. Cost: $659. For more information, call 803-750-9759 or visit
Research Associates was founded by
as a grants administrator for two South Carolina governors and seven
South Carolina agencies. In addition to training grant writers —
12,000 of them to date — the company writes grants on behalf of
non-profits. "We have over 90 percent approval on grants,"
says Pulliam. The grants, mostly written for elementary and secondary
schools in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, have totaled
$200 million so far, and the company is "looking to expand to
other states," he says.
A soft-spoken, low-pressure type of guy, Pulliam says his company
is unique in certifying grant writers, but he encourages anyone
in perfecting the skill to take training from competitors as well.
He says that participants in his company’s grant writing courses come
from state agencies, city governments, and all kinds of non-profits.
"There has been an increase in (participants from) faith-based
organizations," he notes. Anyone is eligible to take the courses,
which attract some freelance grant writers. While some participants
pay their own way, Pulliam estimates that about 80 percent are
by their organizations.
In studying students’ evaluation forms, says Pulliam, the company
noted that many participants wanted "someone to stamp their
In other words, they wanted some recognition of the fact that they
had received formal training in grant writing. As a result, the course
ends with a test. Participants must pass it to be receive a
declaring that they are "certified grant writers."
Success in writing winning grants depends on a number of skills, some
Research Associates can instill, and some — Pulliam admits —
out the applying-organization’s mission, discuss its programs, and
explain why it needs the money, and how it plans to use it to make
a difference. Laying out the facts in a compelling manner takes
focus, and a certain flair for making a case in a compelling manner.
The stronger the grant writer’s narrative skills, the better chance
he has of making the case. Such expertise can not be taught in a
together the narratives, but claims no prowess with numbers. It
take an advanced math degree to write the budget sections of a grant
proposal, but some facility with numbers is important. This is
true, says Pulliam, because "some grant reviewers do not even
look at the narrative; they just look at the budget."
course appears to earn the lion’s share of its fee. A grant, like
a resume, is a structured document. Not only does it have to contain
specific types of information, but it has to lay it out in the way
that foundation decision makers expect to see it. Pulliam says that
his organization has the format down to a science. Based on its
it is able to teach students, for example, just how many bar charts
should go on a page.
non-profits make in submitting grants, Pulliam finds, is that they
toss them together with too little effort. Often, a person who already
has a full-time job within the non-profit is assigned to knock out
a grant proposal. The resulting document may find itself "dead
on arrival," says Pulliam.
Like a resume written in pencil or a contract with numbers repeatedly
crossed out and re-written, a grant proposal with uneven margins,
blatant grammatical errors, and dog-eared pages will quickly be tossed
into the trash.
about to give in Hasbrouck Heights, Research Associates offers an
advanced course, senior certified grants specialist, which focuses,
says Pulliam, "on administrative issues and higher-level
concepts." It attempts to teach participants "how to jump
inside the reviewer’s head."
Information on the advanced course, as well as on books and software
to take some of the guesswork out of the grant application process
are available at the company’s website, www.grantexperts.com
In this current flow of business, we find ourselves
blessed, or cursed, with interesting times. An absolute
explosion has created market cravings for an dizzying array of goods,
processes, and services. The military, the healthcare industry, retail
— every sector is hungering for new, better, and more
technology. At the same time, the entrepreneurs with the wherewithall
to deliver have seen the flow of invention-breeding cash reduced to
Still, a number of new companies are somehow getting funded. Find
out how on Wednesday, June 4, at noon, at the Doral Forrestal, when
the New Jersey Entrepreneur’s Network (NJEN) devotes its meeting to
a discussion of "Leveraging Your Resources: Free Services from
a Variety of Sources." Cost: $45. Call 609-279-0010. Featured
of Viocare Technologies;
Harmon of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center.
Those venture capital funding corporations that once rented plush
office space and booked appointments with all comers are long gone
— burnt up in the E-commerce and stock market crashes. While
angels and government resources still exist, they are tougher to find.
Organizations such as the NJEN have stepped in to help out until the
venture taps revert to the open position.
Linking the person with a dream to the person with the cash is a
for NJEN’s founder,
+ Investors Network (www.oncallCFO.com). Boston born, Conley explored
every part of the country before deciding on New Jersey. His
information, and marketing degree from the University of
interlaced with service in the U.S. Marines, gave him ideal training,
as he puts it, "for the study of risk and business."
The current depression of virtually all business indicators may make
it seem as if startup capital is a thing of the past, but Conley
the cash has just shifted to different pockets:
for this forum, and at their organizations, to see that
networks are alive and well. The New Jersey Business Development
the Economic Development Authority, the Small Business Incubator
and other state programs, if low on funds, still provide excellent
links. But in reviewing these, Conley offers a strong caveat.
of the state business programs are broke," he says. "The New
Jersey Commission of Science and Technology, along with its $14
in business startup grants, has been eliminated. Everyone is getting
cut back." The mentoring services are still in effect, but state
funds are at a minimum.
firm up and running on investment capital like
Stepping out of the sales force of Motorola, he founded a one-man
corporation called Cellular One and became the grandfather of cell
phone distribution. He has since started three successive companies,
each financed with over $100 million. His latest firm, Accellerated
Care, will bring the doctor back into the home by digitally connecting
the physician with the patient in rural areas. The investors are
Quaranta insists that local venture money is beginning to creep back.
"Investors are rightfully risk-weary, but there are enough people
looking for projects." What has changed, Quaranta says, is what
investors are looking for. That new and great idea, which will catch
public imagination and take off, is just not shaking money loose from
the tree any more. Instead, he finds investors totally fixated on
management, management, management. "Do you have the team to bring
this company and its product to fruition?" they want to know.
Their second question involves whether the competition has beaten
you to your proposed niche.
Finally, Quaranta notes, "investor and entrepreneur should be
seeking a partnership, not an adversarial relation. The entrepreneur
should seek not only money, but team members who can add good counsel
and bring aboard potential customers for merger."
starting a new firm to sell your new invention, don’t do it,"
says Conley. "In these tight times with these uncertain markets,
it’s better to join with someone whose feet are already running on
the fast track." He suggests studying the list of all competitors
and similar companies and then testing the waters for a possible
with them. Funds for expansion are much more easily unearthed than
are funds for a new, unknown entity.
is," advises Conley, "and at this point, that’s the federal
government." The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program
has $1.5 billion reserved for businesses of under 500 people. The
money is ear-marked for private industry and for non-profits that
are able to help the government with its technological needs.
every governmental department, from Defense and NASA right through
Health & Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency doles
out some SBIR money. Even the Treasury Department awards some of its
Funding comes in two stages. The first is $60,000 to $100,000 to
feasibility studies, and the second is a two-year contract of up to
$750,000 to produce a prototype.
If the project has commercial applications, companies can move into
the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, where
funding is provided to get the technology to market. More specialized
programs can be found via such agencies as the Office of Small and
Disadvantaged Business Utilization and NASA’s Small Business
operated nationally and regionally.
record, but no current invention, Quaranta suggests another avenue.
Offer to launch a product for someone who has an invention, but lacks
the time or skill to market it. Launching a project demands a specific
set of abilities, which investment groups or manufacturers often lack
in their management team.
"You have to be a master of many trades, yet always willing to
jump in and learn something new," Quaranta states. "You’ve
got to know how to sell, but also how to hire and to mold the right
people into a unit. But above all, you’ve got to have that
passion — the stuff that keeps you going 12 hours a day, seven
days a week, and loving it."
— Bart Jackson
Note the correction to this story at this link:
So, it’s orange out again? Big deal. That is the
of an increasing number of leisure travelers. "I have adopted
the philosophy that I’m moving on with my life," says
Adlerman, owner of Monroe-based Atlas World Travel, "and I’m
seeing that in my clients too."
For a time, she says, "virtually no travel was taking place."
Waves of terror alerts, and then the threat of war, kept residents
of central New Jersey close to home. But, with the end of the fighting
in Iraq, tourism seems to have turned a corner.
"It was a pivotal time," says Adlerman. Her clients are coming
back. And it’s about time. The travel industry has suffered huge
How has she hung on? "With great difficulty," she says. Her
business provides services to both business travelers and leisure
travelers, and neither group has been out and about much during the
past 20 months or so.
With summer upon us, however, the urge to get out and explore is back.
Adlerman discusses some vacation options, many tailored to the needs
of stressed, time-pressed workers, when she speaks on "Short
for Business People" on Thursday, June 5, at 8 a.m. at a meeting
of the Middlesex Chamber at the New Brunswick Hyatt. Price: $30. Call
Adlerman, who holds a master’s degree in city planning from Rutgers,
got into the travel business by accident. She graduated some 30 years
ago, at a time when government money for city planning projects was
scarce. Casting about for something to do, she and a friend took a
travel agent course. She was hooked right away. "Travel represents
adventure," she says.
She opened her agency in 1975, and has been traveling every since.
A native of New York, she has lived in the area for 46 years. Her
husband and frequent travel companion, Mel, works for her part time,
while tending to his own insurance business.
"I’m not a timid traveler," says Adlerman. She feels safe
on airplanes, and would not hesitate to spend time in Europe. Still,
she admits, there are some regions that are still too volatile to
recommend. "I wouldn’t go to the Middle East," she says.
Given remaining uncertainty, this could be an ideal time to plan a
vacation in any number of less stressed locales. A prime example is
that perennial American summer favorite, a tour of the national parks.
"Nothing is sold out," says Alderman. On the other hand, not
every date is available. "I’m finding that tour operators are
consolidating dates," she says. They may advertise a tour starting
every Saturday, for example, but if dates don’t fill up, they are
lumping one tour together with one or two others and offering
on fewer dates.
Many area residents Adlerman sees are booking the national park tours,
while others are signing up to tour Alaska, often by boat. In fact,
she says, cruises are becoming one of the most popular vacation
"It’s a very relaxing vacation," she says. "You can really
unwind. You only unpack once." There are plenty of activities
— including recent additions such as onboard ice skating and rock
wall climbing — for those who want to be active. For those who
want peace and quiet and quality time with a good book, even the
ships are full of quiet, private spots.
Cruises are an excellent option for burned-out office workers, and
are a great choice for families as well. "They appreciate the
security," Adlerman says. Typically, ships have mini-camps for
children, and are scrupulously careful about releasing them only to
their parents. She suggests that parents take a careful look at port
attractions in planning a family cruise. An island with inviting
could trump one where ancient ruins are the main draw if children
are young, while the converse could be true if there are teens in
New flexibility makes cruising even more appealing, in Adlerman’s
view. She especially likes "personal choice dining." In place
of the old dining arrangements — a seat at a table for 8, at
7 p.m. or 9 p.m. — she says that many ships now let vacationers
make a reservation at any time they wish, and let them sit only with
a significant other if that is their preference.
Cruises, in conjunction with tour operators, sell their customers
shore excursions. Independent travelers tend to prefer to go their
own way, but Adlerman says that choosing the excursions can be a good
idea in a number of situations. "I just took a cruise to
she says. She had done her research and knew exactly what she wanted
to do onshore — visit a particular area of Mayan ruins. By
to sign up for the excursion, she says, she was assured that she would
be able to do so, and would travel on a reliable bus and learn about
the area from a knowledgeable, English-speaking guide.
Touring alone, by taxi, can be risky, she says, pointing out that
sometimes the driver will claim to know all about the area, but that
the traveler may well get back onboard his ship and learn that he
missed much of the area’s most interesting attractions.
While cruise ships leave from New York and from Philadelphia, Adlerman
is not tremendously enthusiastic about leaving from these
ports. Cruises from New York to Bermuda tend to be expensive, she
says, because there are so few of them. Less competition translates
into higher fares. Cruises from these ports to the Caribbean are not
ideal because the time it takes the ships to get all the way down
the coast and into the Caribbean means little time on shore. Still,
she says, some families like this option. The ships often make a stop
in central Florida, affording an opportunity to take kids to Cape
Canaveral or to Orlando attractions.
Florida, lying close to the Bahamas and not far from Mexico and the
Caribbean, is a popular place to begin a cruise, and Adlerman says
there are any number of choices for $1,000 a person, or less,
airfare, for a seven-day vacation. Many of her clients like sailing
from ports in Florida, she says, because it offers the opportunity
of adding a few days to the vacation, perhaps by visiting Disney World
or spending a few days in a beach town.
While some business people do try to squeeze a vacation into less
than a week, Adlerman says seven days is about the shortest vacation
that will return a worker to his desk refreshed and ready to go.
have to factor in the time needed to unwind," she points out.
Cruising, national parks, and the wilds of Alaska are looking good
to travelers this year, but vacation patterns were different when
Adlerman started out in business. "International was much
she says. "And vacations were longer." There were far fewer
cruise ships, and cruises were much more expensive. In the
past, she recalls, the four or five-day jaunt to a European city was
a popular mini-vacation option, but she rarely has requests for these
And what is her own favorite vacation destination? Rather than
to a favorite year after year, the travel pro says, "I always
strive to go to new destinations." Still, she shows enthusiasm
for the big vacation trend of the new century. Just back from a cruise
on the Princess Grand, which features a wedding chapel, a
pool, and a two-story "teen fun zone," she is now planning
to take her grandchildren on the same cruise. "I love the
she says, "the kids will love it."
This year vacation choices, for travel professionals, as well as for
the clients they serve, are tilting toward all the comforts of home
— and all the security associated with home. These are not
track adventures. They are stress-busting breaks, vacations where
there is rarely a newspaper in sight, and there is no evening news.
With luck, we will all soon forget what "orange" means, and
our fractured world will heal enough so that Adlerman will be able
to report that cruise business is down and jaunts to Casablanca, the
pyramids of Egypt, and the Dead Sea are all the rage.
How terrific it would be to see the name of your
and your business phone number on the front page of the New York Times
in a four-column color photo?
Or maybe not so terrific, when the story is connected to an
How do you handle the notoriety? That’s the problem faced by Jim
the account executive at Jilco Trailer Rentals, who fielded dozens
of calls when his company’s name and phone number appeared in a
on the front page of the New York Times. The story about the deaths
of 18 undocumented immigrants trapped inside the truck trailer in
Texas broke on May 15, and the calls began.
"There were hundreds of calls, from Channel 10, and from
from Texas and all over the country," says Mentis. "I asked
for advice from the owners, Gilbert and Steven Pavone. They said to
answer truthfully. We are not at fault, we are just in business like
Jilco Trailer Rentals has two locations, one in Gloucester City and
one at 377 Half Acre Road in Cranbury (609-655-5001, www.jilco.com).
It has more than 600 trailers for sale, particularly refrigerated
ones, and it also leases and repairs trailers, and sells parts.
"The trailer that was involved in the tragedy was registered to
the gentleman who got arrested, and we have sold him trailers in the
past, but not in over a year," says Mentis. "We don’t know
if we had sold him this trailer because we haven’t been given the
vehicle identification number. The one thing I did notice was that
the rear doors were damaged. I would never have sold him a trailer
like that. We don’t ever sell equipment in that condition."
It’s entirely possible, says Mentis, that the Jilco mudflaps were
on another company’s trailer. "We could have sold him mud flaps.
We sell them at a good price." Isn’t that just a free ad?
that buy parts from us don’t mind doing it," says Mentis of the
mudlaps, which cost $8 apiece.
Mentis says there were more crank phone calls than anything else,
but that he took all the calls. "I don’t like being rude to
The one call that he expected, he didn’t get: "The New York Times
did not call, believe it or not."
Corrections or additions?
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