How to find money for your project: PART 5 – Is there hope for me?

picture of planting treees to represent civil engineering companies values

This is the last of a five-part blog series by Jim Hegarty, P.E., Prein&Newhof’s Grants and Financing Specialist.

Face it. Finding grants and funding is hard work. Plus, it is getting harder. It requires equal measures of creativity, persistence, networking and passion. However, there is hope!

When I was growing up, Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin announced the winner of his “Golden Fleece Award” each month. It singled out one project that typified a “wasteful, ridiculous or ironic use of the taxpayers’ money.” Some of the winners over the years include:

  • A $27,000 study to determine why inmates want to escape from prison.
  • An $84,000 study to determine why people fall in love.
  • The military’s infamous $400 hammers and $1,200 toilet seats.
  • Proxmire’s favorite—A study to find out whether sunfish that drink tequila are more aggressive than sunfish that drink gin.
  • My favorite—$25,000 to study why some tennis players are rude, cheat and lie.

Four years ago, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. began publishing an annual “Wastebook.” His 2013 Wastebook features a $335,525 study funded by the National Institutes for Health that found wives would find marriage more satisfying if they could calm down faster during arguments with their husbands. (Note: My free 2014 follow-up study found that 100% of husbands would be happier, too!)

My point—if organizations can find money for some of these crazy ideas, there is hope for your amazing projects that directly benefit communities!

Happy hunting!

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