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‘Coffee & Grants’ event provides fundraising resources to nonprofits

The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust’s Research Grant Program recently held its first AGILE “Coffee & Grants” event during a networking for grant managers and research administrators.

AGILE seeks to provide and facilitate resources and tools that help nonprofits and higher education institutions maximize funding opportunities and execute compliance requirements.

The event sought to increase agility in the processes of application and execution of projects, which are subsidized by foundations, public, private and/or federal entities, strengthening their ability to secure more funds in the future.

“This is a very special event, as it is where the Research Grant Program’s AGILE Initiative provides a space for collaboration and networking for the community of Grant Managers and Research Administrators, and the different organizations that support them in Puerto Rico,” said Andreica Maldonado, director of the Research Grants program.

The keynote speaker was Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, director of the Center for Community Leadership at Rudgers University and chair of the Board of LEAP Academy University Charter School. Created in 1997, LEAP is one of 17 inaugural public charter schools in New Jersey.

In Puerto Rico, the Sabana Llana Sector already has the LEAP Steam+E Academy of San Juan.  

As the founder of LEAP, Bonilla-Santiago created a pay-for-merit/pay-for-performance program designed to reward excellence in teaching and improve student academic outcomes.

Throughout her academic career, she has established a track record in coordinating large-scale programs and private and public companies that bring together external and internal stakeholders from a variety of organizations, including governments, businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropic sectors locally, nationally, and internationally.

The funding expert has raised more than $100 million to fund her projects. She recently received a $3 million grant from USAID for the development and institutionalization of the Center for Higher Education for Ethics, Equity, and Transparency (HECEET), through a partnership with Rutgers University and the National University of Asuncion in Paraguay.

In her presentation “Trajectory and Development Strategies of the Center for Community Leadership at Rutgers University from the Sound Administration of Grants and Research,” she stressed that “it is the third sector that has the power to make the big changes.”

The educator, who considers herself “a social entrepreneur,” highlighted the importance of cultivtating relationships based on ethics and positive results to establish lasting connections with funders: “we must recognize them and show the impact of their contributions. People don’t donate to projects; people donate to people.”

“We’re excited to hear these success stories for the benefit of other researchers and entrepreneurs. We are committed to expanding and investing in our scientific community, offering support and facilitating the connection with experts in various disciplines,” Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo said.

“This event is a way to promote innovation and continue building the knowledge economy and as well as financing channels to carry out projects that generate positive changes,” she said.

Another speaker, Eric Morales, from the Sacred Heart University and National Council of University Research Administrators, shared his experiences and initiatives in grant management and research administration in both entities.

Morales, with more than 40 years of experience developing grant proposals, urged to leave a legacy to the youngest to continue the learning work for the optimization of the use of funds for research.  

Roger Iglesias, associate director of Federal Funds of the Office of Management and Budget gave his talk: “Grants Management 101 Training: OGP Puerto Rico’s Initiative for Training Government Agencies on Regulation and Laws Applicable to Funds.”

Meanwhile, Adi Martínez of the University of Puerto Rico Law Resiliency Center, discussed efforts to foster effective, participatory and multisectoral recovery. 

Marcos López-Casillas of the Science Trust Research Institute rounded out the roster of speakers, by sharing his vision on the “Needs and best practices in the field of grant and research administration in Puerto Rico.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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