Diving into the Decade with 20/20 Purpose

2 Jan 2020

“It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?” [Henry David Thoreau]

Welcome to 2020 and to GRANTdog’s new series of blog posts under the title popPEN w/purpose. As indicated in my bio, I’ve had a pen in my hand for a while now. Somehow, the intentionality to mix vocation and pleasure, to write deeper with regularity and about the things that interest me most, has escaped me. Perhaps this genre of writing conforms to Covey’s “important but not urgent” category or perhaps writing is my “day job”. Regardless my procrastination, it’s high time I pick up my pen and dive in.

Anything worth notice surely comes in threes, right? …”Mind, body, spirit” …”faith, hope, love” …“location, location, location” …good sermons …freshman English essays. So it must be with narrowing my attention to suit three (versus eight) related yet distinct topics/purposes for this series: grantwriting; pen/ink/paper; and community service.

PURPOSE: ALL THINGS GRANTWRITING I walked into her office April 2009. She said, (and I quote) “We need a grant writer. You’re a great communicator and I bet you could learn how to do this and work with me. What do you think?” I went for it and, since that time, I have made it my ambition to pursue grantwriting excellence. There have been short intervals where I’ve entertained other roles or moved 3,000 miles away or become a virtually full-time civic leader… but I always return to that first love – grantwriting.

PURPOSE: FOR THE LOVE OF PEN/PENCIL/PAPER I can’t walk past a stationery store without going in and inspecting each item there. My husband knows to find the nearest teashop because he’ll see me again in no less than an hour. In a previous life, I was the calligrapher sitting in the fine paper store window the week before Valentine’s Day carefully penning sweet notes on all-cotton paper. My dip pen and ink are now tucked away but the flow (no… the DELIGHT) associated with the rhythm of the pen’s strokes is still in my blood. And so it goes… I map out any project, work or otherwise, with my favorite mechanical pencil, on nothing but quad paper, at my favorite coffee spot. [Doesn’t everyone?]

PURPOSE: COMMUNITY SERVICE IS VITAL Service comes in every color, shape, and size imaginable. The 2000’s found me chasing two children and their activities around a bedroom community in the southern US. Where they went, I chipped in, in an effort to “raise the village” as they say. Let’s face it, if a community doesn’t stand behind its children, who will? But the last decade has looked different. Community service has turned far from the bake sales, carpools, and PTA and has allowed me to meet folks who benefit from grants written. In my current neighborhood, privilege co-exists alongside homelessness and there are over 937 nonprofits located in a 7×7-mile footprint (Foundation Directory). The service possibilities are limitless for any of us, be it the bedroom community or a major metropolitan city.

With these three interests/purposes in mind, I invite you to join me as I explore each and share insights. My goal is one-two posts a month, on a lighthearted note, with yet another reason to delight in that writing rhythm. I’m looking to define the 2020’s as my decade of purpose. Let’s do this!

Rhonda Poppen is an independent grant consultant and certified grant writer, working from San Francisco alongside Buddy, Labrador/Great Dane and office mate. She is a self-proclaimed pen, paper and word nerd who pours her heart into writing winning grant proposals.

All content and photos here are created solely for the popPEN w/purpose blog. I enjoy sharing information, however, I ask that you request permission or note content origins for use. GRANTdog and the associated logo are registered trademarks. All rights reserved.