Close this search box.

Grant Writing with Kelsey Howard

By Colliers Engineering & Design

Grant Writing Manager Kelsey Howard headshotHow Grant Writing Transforms Communities

Communities across the nation have various repairs, innovations, and projects they aspire to achieve that would protect and increase the quality of life of their residents. However, even the most necessary of projects may not have adequate funding. With over 11 years of experience, Kelsey Howard, Principal Associate and Grant Writing Manager, procures funding to make these projects a reality.

Howard has worked with over 80 towns, counties, utility authorities, and others to obtain funding that is essential for the success of these projects. While acquiring grants is a competitive process, Howard has used her expertise to secure over $194 million for client projects.

In her role as a Grant Writing Manager, Howard oversees the application preparation for grants and loans as well as administers funding for Colliers Engineering & Design projects. More specifically, she represents clients in communication with funding program representatives as well as reviews the program guidelines and ensures that all applications are complete and submitted.

Why Grant Writers are Integral

Procuring grants is an extremely important process as grants are a common funding source for many client projects. Numerous components go into a project including planning, surveying, design, and other services, all of which need funding to make the project a reality. Grants can also sometimes be a burden to clients who do not have the time, expertise, or staff for the application process.

This is where the grant writing team comes in and offers expertise and assistance with the grant application process, allowing clients to get necessary funding even without the skills or time to acquire it themselves. Funding from grants also creates opportunities for new projects, both projects that have been in the works for years or new initiatives.

Borough of Highlands Grant

One project that highlights Howard’s expertise and skillful capabilities is her recent procuring of funds for the Highlands and Monmouth Hills Flood Mitigation and Green Infrastructure Project. The Borough of Highlands is a small fishing town loved by both residents as well as tourists, located in Monmouth County, NJ. For over 120 years, the residents of the Borough of Highlands have been struggling with flooding and storm surges. With recent increase of rainfall in New Jersey, the problem has become more frequent, and flooding has begun to impact surrounding areas as well.

Monmouth Hills, a township located in Middletown, NJ that neighbors the Borough of Highlands, has also been affected by the increase in rainfall, resulting in more flooding. Further, Monmouth Hills is elevated 100-250 feet above sea level, resulting in the migration of rainfall to the Borough of Highlands, leaving them flooded. This also floods State Route 36, creating a hazard as this is an emergency evacuation road.

Highlands and Monmouth Hills Flood Mitigation and Green Infrastructure Project

Enter the Highlands and Monmouth Hills Flood Mitigation and Green Infrastructure Project. The main goal of this project is to bolster the community’s ability to withstand and recover from extreme weather events. This will not only safeguard the Borough of Highlands residents but also those of neighboring communities. Howard was brought on to the team in 2021 to procure sufficient funding for this endeavor.

Howard worked meticulously, submitting grants to both state and federal entities. Grant materials are unique to each project, making it essential that all components are organized, thoroughly and accurately completed, and submitted on time. Typical grant application components provided by the grant team include relaying requirements and coordinating the application, completing application forms and signatures, and writing narratives for the project, applicant, and needs.

Additionally, the grant team must provide a location map and site photos, report environmental conditions, draft and request letters of support, and plan and attend public hearings as part of the application process. The grant team also collaborates with engineers on the project to get together other application components such as the project scope details, cost estimate, clients match compatibility, concept plan, project schedule, benefit cost analysis, environmental screening, and list of required regulatory permits and approvals. Once all these materials are complete, they go through a review process before being submitted.

Securing the Funds

Howard’s expertise and the grants team including Alizar Zorojew, earned the project a multimillion-dollar grant from FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Fiscal Year 2022 Grant Program. The grant, provided by the NJ Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM), is $12, 193, 960 which exceeds the annual budget for the Borough of Highlands by almost a million dollars.

With this grant, the Colliers Engineering & Design team has been working the last six months to find the best long-term solutions to fix the ongoing flooding problem. These solutions are expected to be submitted to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for approval in 2024 and designs are expected to take place from 2024-2026. Potential design components include green infrastructure, infiltration basins, constructed wetlands with built in barriers, construction of inlets and storm drains, stormwater pump stations with force main discharge pipes and emergency generators, and the addition of bio-retention basins in some locations.

Howard’s securing of funds made this project a reality after 120 years of going unsolved, which will increase the safety and recovery of flooding and extreme weather events in the Borough of Highlands as well as surrounding communities.

Impacting the Lives of Many

Grants can provide funding for essential projects that can remove hazards and secure safety for people in the surrounding areas as well as increase their quality of life. While a project can be a top priority and extremely necessary, many projects do not have adequate funding without the procurement of grants. The Borough of Highlands experienced flooding problems that negatively impacted residents and businesses in the area for over one hundred years, but until they secured the funding, they could not properly fix the flooding problem.

Procuring grants can make any project, new or old, a reality and allow communities, businesses, and all types of clients to do what is necessary to not only protect the lives of their residents and surrounding people, but also improve them.

Share this:

Leave a Comment