Interview Round II

I made it to the sec­ond ses­sion of grantee inter­views last night, out in Mt. Pleas­ant. We inter­viewed six grant-seek­ers over at three hour peri­od. The seg­re­ga­tion of Cleve­land prop­er was real­ly brought home to me dur­ing this time. The Neigh­bor­hood Con­nec­tions GMMC is quite a diverse bunch of peo­ple, and by neces­si­ty. Also by neces­si­ty, peo­ple that don’t live in the neigh­bor­hoods that send the grants are the ones who decide which grants get fund­ed. This helps avoid con­flicts of inter­est, but also cre­ates some awk­ward-feel­ing sit­u­a­tions. I’m the youngest mem­ber of the com­mit­tee and a minor­i­ty on it since I’m white and a dude.

The appear­ance of our sub-com­mit­tee doesn’t exact­ly reflect the diver­si­ty of the whole group, though. I’m afraid that to many of the folks com­ing in, it looked like black folk com­ing to white folk for mon­ey. My sub-group [of which I’m just an alter­nate] is com­posed of 3 smart and expe­ri­enced women, two white and one black. I main­ly sit back and let them ask the ques­tions and act like a sponge. It is sur­pris­ing­ly easy to tell how pre­pared some of the grantseek­ers are, how enthu­si­as­tic they are about their pro­gram, how viable their pro­gram is.

Appar­ent­ly, Mt. Pleas­ant has a lot of crime and a few times the group stopped talk­ing grants and start­ed talk­ing com­mu­ni­ty activism, which I sup­pose should be expect­ed con­sid­er­ing no one is a mem­ber of the GMMC unless they are active in their own com­mu­ni­ties. I’m won­der­ing about the declined grant-seek­er process. I won­der if the com­mit­tee gives rea­sons why a grant is declined. I think it would be use­ful, because some grants would be awe­some if they could be imple­ment­ed or orga­nized a bit bet­ter.