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.