The jury from St. Louis, Missouri, chaired by Eugene Mackey, FAIA, selected Houseal Lavigne’s Chicago office space for a 2011 AlA Michigan Award of Honor. The award will be presented to InFORM Studio, architect, for “harmonious, simple, clean, pleasant, engaging views. A great balance of glass and solid planes.” For more information on inFORM Studio, visit their website: http://www.in-formstudio.com
inFORM’s Description of the Project
The renovation of an eleventh floor suite in the 1926 Art Deco Metropolitan Building, located in the heart of the Chicago theater district, provided a unique opportunity for the insertion of a progressive planning & urban design firm looking to increase their profile within the city of Chicago. An intervention of translucent acrylic, aluminum, stained MDF & birch panels generates the presence of entry while preserving the found condition of the existing suite; previously concealed below aging ceiling tile and threadbare carpeting. The office thrives in an open collaborative setting, wrought with experimentation of tectonics and materials. The reduction of public|private separation to its most essential condition permits the translation of the environment into a simple container for programmatic insertions; comprised primarily of furnishings. Workstations allow for considerable layout flexibility and are supported with moveable storage cabinets and desk mounted shelving. Aluminum, birch and MDF engage in an expressive dialogue in the detailing of the workstations, team table, conference table and reception millwork. Formal articulation of the space responds to the functional requisites of the people and equipment, manifesting in an intended space for the practice of community planning and design.
Obtaining funding through grants is one of the most productive endeavors a municipality can pursue in their effort to increase quality of life in their community. Leveraging the most out of municipal budgets is becoming an ever-increasing priority for cities and towns across the country and grants are one of the best ways to effectively do just that. Whether it is repairing potholes on Main Street, building a new park, or developing alternative housing, increasing the livability of one’s community depends heavily on funding for such projects. Writing the most complete and persuasive grant proposal that one can is undeniably important for communities as they seek to provide the highest quality of life for both their residents and visitors alike.
All grant-awarding foundations and agencies are seeking candidates that meet a very specific set of predetermined criteria. Knowing what these agencies are looking for, as well as communicating clearly how you meet (and exceed) their criteria, is the first step in securing grant funding. Below is a list of tips to aid in that process.
- Be aware of available funding opportunities: You cannot apply for grants that you don’t know about! Follow the links provided below to start your search for available funding.
- Follow directions: Many proposals skip steps and cut corners despite very clear instructions. These are the first proposals to get cut.
- Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery: Research past awardees. Many agencies will be happy to give you a copy of past winning proposal. This will give you an edge in drafting a successful proposal.
- Communicate the long-term benefits of your proposal: Describe the long-term, sustainable benefits that will come from the grant funding.
- Communicate your strengths: Grant-awarding agencies are only going to award funding to the best qualified and capable applicants. Communicate your municipality’s capacity to implement and manage the funding effectively.
- Write clearly: Clear and concise writing is a must for winning proposals. There should never be any question as to what you intend to do and how you intend to do it if awarded funding.
Sources of Funding
Sources of grant funding vary widely. Grants can be given by Federal, as well as State Governments, corporations, private foundations and individual donors. According to governmentgrant.com, there 26 Federal Grant-making agencies that offer over 1,000 yearly grants that span the fields of housing, education, small business, community development, among others. State grants are also a great funding source. States offer their own grants as well as act as an allocator of federal grant funding. While these government grants are a great source of funding, because of their notoriety, they are often the most competitive sources of funding. Government grants are set by legislation and are made available to a wide range of applicants. Additionally, government grants are more likely than other types to be large in size. However, government grants do tend to be more bureaucratic which often results in lengthy and complex application processes.
An alternative to government grants are corporate, private foundation and non-profit organization grants. Corporate and private sector businesses often award grants and do so out of their own pocket. For that reason, when applying for these grants, it is a good idea to express how the funding will be used to benefit both your cause but also their bottom line. In addition to private foundations, non-profit organizations also award grants. They are able to do so as a result of fundraising efforts as well as through individual donations. If your municipality can identify a non-profit organization that awards grants and has goals that are in line with those of your community, they can be an excellent source of funding. As opposed to government grants, private sector grants are more likely to focus on emerging issues and can be less competitive. However, these grants are less likely to cover a projects full costs or indirect costs and are generally smaller than government grants.
In addition to being a source of grant funding, the private sector can also play an integral role in municipalities receiving grant funding. The private sector’s role in this process is becoming commonplace as municipalities embrace the expertise and efficiency many firms can provide to their clients.
At Houseal Lavigne Associates, we have a successful track record of helping municipalities identify and obtain grant funding. Houseal Lavigne has unparalleled experience in assisting and authoring successful grant applications for public agencies. We are constantly researching available grant opportunities, assisting with applications, and monitoring the process of submitted grants on behalf of our clients. It is through these collaborative efforts that communities can secure the necessary funding they seek to become places of lasting value.
Resources for Identifying Funding Opportunities: