KCS grant writer helps fund new initiatives and programs

Alice Addair , Staff Writer

Public schools get a pretty good quantity of money from both state and federal governments. Sometimes, when they are not provided with enough money, the school or district can apply for a grant.

That is where Amy Doran comes into the picture. Doran has been in Kingsport City Schools for 27 years, and because of her, the schools in the district receive grant money for anything grant providers deem necessary or beneficial to the faculty, staff and students of KCS schools.

A grant writer like Amy Doran writes grants, but what does that include?

“I write grants for the district, and write grants that will help benefit all the schools,” Doran said. “I also help manage the grants for the school level.”

In a nutshell, this means that she writes the grants that will help schools do extra things to improve students’ education.

Twenty-seven years ago, Doran first got into grant writing.

“I had written grants in the past while in other positions,” Doran said. “Then, I applied as coordinator of early childhood, and it also included a grant writing component.”

Although Doran has applied for many grants, there is one that always comes to her mind.

“The grant that has made the biggest impact, and was the biggest, was probably the coding grant,” she said.

Before a school or teacher can receive a grant, there are a few things that they have to go through.

“First, they have to let their principal know that they want to apply for a grant; then, if the principal gives them the okay, they send in an “intent to apply”, which means that they’re in the running for a grant,” she said. “After that, I take it to the Board of Education, so that they can vote to approve the grant.”

Naturally, getting grants to help students would make anybody feel good.

“I love that feeling, because anytime we get money from a grant from a good company, obviously, it’s going to make a large impact,” she said. “It is either going to create a new program or it is going to help a specific group of kids in our district.”

In addition to all of the other things Doran has to do, she has to go through applying for a grant and waiting for it to get picked up. After that, she has to wait for it to get approved. It can take anywhere between one month to a year, on average.

“Every grant has a timeline,” she said. “For example, I am working on one that is due next week. I have another one that is due November 1st, so you look at the timeline, and the process also depends on when the school board meets and that’s about once a month to be able to vote on grants.”

How does she know which grants to apply for?

“We first look for grants that follow our guiding tenets,” Doran said. “It’s like our main beliefs, what we think is going to be best for our schools. If it meets our criteria, then we go through the process to apply. ”

Grant writers, especially ones like Amy Doran that have been doing it for 27 years, have hit major milestones and had many accomplishments.

“Especially here lately, we have been getting the same grants over and over,” she said. “One of the purposes for grants is you want it to be sustained, because you are not always going to get the grant every year. So, I don’t look at it as ‘my accomplishment’ as a grant writer. It is more about what the people do with the grant I consider the biggest accomplishment.”

All jobs haves its ups and downs; the job of a grant writer is no different.

“What I love most about my job is learning new things,” Doran said. “About the grants I am writing and the people that I meet along the way.”

Doran doesn’t stop at just working as a grant writer.

“Grant writing is actually one of my smaller jobs,” Doran said. “I’m also the coordinator of early childhood, so I go to nine different schools for early childhood. I’m also a principal at Palmer Elementary.”

In the end, Doran enjoys working as a grant writer.

“My job is diverse and very entertaining,” she said. “I love it.”