City of Covington Hires Grant Writer to Hunt for Money
Sun, 02/10/2019 - 12:31 RCN Newsdesk
At its core, Meganne Robinson's mission at the City of Covington is simple: Help the city search under proverbial rocks for money that can be used to fund services and projects.
Robinson, the city's grant writer, started this week in a newly established position.
"We have high hopes in creating this position, and we think Meganne is the person who can meet those expectations," Covington City Manager David Johnston said. "We want to look for money wherever we can."
Before coming to Covington, Robinson served as project coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council in Parkersburg, W.Va. There she worked with local elected officials, public service districts, economic developers, and members of the community to launch, implement, and complete development projects in an eight-county region of West Virginia. The job included writing grant and loan applications to secure public funding for community planning and development projects.
She has a history degree and a Master's in Public Administration from West Virginia University.
Robinson was one of 23 people to apply for the Covington job and said she was attracted to the City while visiting a cousin just north of the Ohio River.
"I remember thinking, 'If I ever leave my home in West Virginia, Covington is the type of place I want to move to: Fun, creative, with a lot going on,' " she said.
The city already applies for and receives an array of grants. But Robinson's position was created to help Covington be more aggressive, strategic, and efficient when it comes to grants while also establishing an in-house resource, Johnston said.
This will free managers from the time-consuming and often cumbersome role of searching for grant funding, applying for it, and fulfilling its obligations.
"It's a matter of prioritizing," Robinson said. "My whole job will be to focus on grants - looking for them, being creative in matching projects and needs with potential funding, and drawing on my experience in improving our chances of getting them."
In introducing Robinson to the city commission during its caucus meeting Tuesday night, Johnston touted her experience and mentioned the high hopes that the Commission had for the position when it voted to fund it. Commissioner Tim Downing in particular had asked repeatedly about the search for a grant writer.
"No pressure, Meganne," Johnston quipped.
Robinson laughed and said she's heard different variations of the same message repeatedly during her first few days at City Hall.
Robinson said she will spend her first couple of weeks meeting department heads and managers to determine what grants the city already receives and to compile a list of projects and initiatives in the pipeline that might be eligible for outside funding. She will also start creating a database of potential funding sources in both the public and private sectors, including from organizations like foundations.
She said she was happy to be in Covington and looked forward to getting started.
"I'm not saying there are huge pots of money out there just lying around, but I do think there are some funds we haven't gotten to yet," she said. "You don't know until you start looking."
From the City of Covington