PEAK Grantmaking regularly features members on our blog to demonstrate the diversity of our association and expand opportunities for connections. Want to be featured? Email Leah Farmer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Meet Natasha Battle-Edwards, Grants Manager at The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Q. How did you get into grants management?
In 1999 I started at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta as an administrative assistant to the Vice President of Community Initiatives. We had a small staff at the time which required everyone to do a little bit of everything. One of my responsibilities was to provide back up support to the grants admin. After a couple of years I was promoted to Program Associate, which I loved, however process, resource management and finance were my strong skill set. Once the grants administrator position became available I went for it, got it, worked hard and was promoted to grants manager after a few years. 18 years later I’m still here (yikes) But I love being at an agency that support growth and development and does amazing work so those 18 years have flown by. Starting out as an admin assistant to now overseeing the foundations grants and scholarship administration and managing a small team of 3 has been a rewarding and great accomplishment for me.
Q. What’s your background (education and work)?
Bank Teller, Customer Service Rep, Administrative Assistant all in the for profit world. My bachelor’s is in Business administration and I’m currently pursuing my MBA at Kennesaw State University planning to graduate this summer. I love to learn and stay in the know. Over the years I’ve taken many certification and continuing education classes in a multitude of areas, i.e. Project management, supervisory and leadership, finance management, public speaking, community leadership, conflict resolution…
Q. What’s your favorite part of the grants management job?
To be able to use my skills and experience to participate on efforts that support our communities is my favorite part of the job. Most recently the Foundation established a supporting org “Achieve Atlanta” that is fully funded by the Woodruff Foundation. One of Achieve Atlanta’s priorities is providing college scholarships to every graduating senior in the Atlanta Public School System who meets attendance and gpa requirements. 2016 was the pilot year and I had the opportunity to participate on the work group and develop the administration process. It just feels great to be a part of an effort that is impacting peoples’ lives for the better.
Q. What frustrates you about your job?
Grants staff live in the middle of everything and the expectations to know many things and perform a multitude of tasks related to finance/budgets, data/measurements/reporting, community needs, donor services, IT systems, volunteers/boards/committees…can be overwhelming.
Q. What do you wish your colleagues and coworkers knew about what you do?
I wish they understood the full scope of my job. Many only understand the grants admin/manager role as it pertains to them.
Q. What do you wish every grants manager knew about their job?
This role has many benefits. Because grants admin staff have to wear so many hats you get the opportunity to learn a lot and that makes you valuable to the organization and the field. While we get to participate in providing donor services and community projects the role is a highly administrative. There is a lot of data collection, resource management, customer service, check processing and system management which may not be very attractive to someone who more so desires to work out in the field. Over the last few years I’ve seen the value and opportunities for Grants Managers increase so I wish for every grants manager to seize the day!