Funding Exchange Inc. — A Company or a Person?

Welcome. The development of this blog has been a gradual process, an awakening of sorts. Through nearly forty years (no way!) of doing good work within and for nonprofit groups, and after five years of working through and now owning the Funding Exchange, I began to realize that the ‘good work’ is at least partly about me, the person and the professional, as it is about Funding Exchange, the organization.

That created a dilemma. Over the years, I’ve avoided getting involved in local politics. When asked to serve, I’ve told my friends that I like being able to go to the grocery store without being accosted by griping or greedy constituents. I’ve done my giving back mostly on the state level, by serving on state commissions and working behind the scenes on state issues. Relative public anonymity has allowed me to develop and share my opinions and thoughts unhindered by the polarization and nastiness of politics that’s become the unwelcome hallmark of this decade.

But I’ve begun to realize that my personal journey through the years of good work might be of interest to some who are also drawn to helping others. And as I’ve gotten older, I sometimes feel a bit guilty for guarding my personal privacy so fiercely. On the other hand, I’m not sure that anyone will be interested either…

I think that’s why they call it a journey. Welcome. I’m glad you’re here.

2 Responses to “Funding Exchange Inc. — A Company or a Person?”

  • Joanna Onorato


    My name is Joanna Onorato and I, too, strive to do good work… but it’s hard to know where to start. Currently, I am searching for direction, focus, a goal. I am passionate about many things: I feel for all types of people and have a great appreciation and respect for nature.

    A little about me: I am 23, a recent college graduate (MSU Bozeman triple major in philosophy, political science, and Spanish). I am an avid outdoors woman and international traveler. I grew up in Anchorage and love Alaska. There’s so much more I could tell you about myself, but hopefully we’ll have the chance to meet one day.

    You’re probably wondering why I am writing you. Well, this afternoon, I stumbled across your website while searching. You seem to have a lot of experience and information to offer. For example, the upcoming grant writing intensive is intriguing; however, I don’t feel like that this is the right time for me to enroll in such a course. Regardless, I’m interested. I’m not sure exactly what I am asking of you, maybe just some simple advice?

    Basically, how do you recommend diving into the world of ‘good work’ with the aim of making the biggest ripples?

    I appreciate any thoughts you may have.

    Thank you,

    • Joanna, thanks for writing. Let me briefly give you a couple of suggestions that might help get you started in the right direction.

      Depending on what you’re doing for work now, you might want to begin searching for jobs that would give you experience in the nonprofit world. The work I did many years ago as an office manager in a small architectural office, for instance, taught me how to put a proposal together under a deadline. I was already a decent non-fiction writer, but that job exposed me to the grant writing process, and I liked it.

      From there I took a short foray into running my own business (not in grant writing or consulting but something totally unrelated) where I learned a lot about customer service and time management.

      After a move to Alaska and an administrative job with the state, I got the opportunity to manage grant projects for a state program. I was working under a gifted grant writer who saw my potential and was willing to teach me. That was it – I was hooked. After three years in that position, I had become a capable and successful grant writer and grant administrator.

      My next position (also with the state) took me into the other side of the grants world and I became a grant program officer. I learned how to create grant programs, how to support grantees in their projects, and what grant makers want from grantees. Also very valuable information for a development professional!

      I worked as a consultant after that position and finally bought the Funding Exchange. You can see from my journey that a job you love and want to stay in generally doesn’t happen in one big step, but rather is a series of “baby steps” as you learn what you love and are good at. Think about what you love to do most and take a position that allows you at least part of that as part of your job. That job will probably lead to another that allows you to be immersed in even more activities that you enjoy. Then, once you’re doing what you love, as my late father-in-law used to say, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

      Good luck in your journey!

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