By Edwin Crayton
At its July quarterly meeting The Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation board (NCIF) discussed the problem of people applying for grants in ways that don’t fit the foundation’s guidelines. So the board is planning to address the issue by holding a workshop for the public on how to write a grant that meets their criterion. The workshop is in the planning stages and will be announced when details are finalized. The board also announced that it is in the process of developing a website on GoDaddy.com.
The changes are positive and are quite honestly certainly needed and should help the foundation become more accessible. It has been tough for members of the public to get access to information with many things concerning NCIF. At the current time, for example, quarterly meetings are not easy for members of the public to find and this is due in large part to the fact that apparently the foundation only advertises quarterly meetings by placing a small notice in the Natchitoches Times. But those are very hard to find and even with effort, I often miss them—and I’m really looking. So a website is a good move and should help the public find out what the organization is doing. I mentioned at the meeting that I know several students who need scholarships but it seems hard to find an NCIF scholarship application anywhere. So I suggested they also post applications for scholarships online but got no response from the board. Hopefully, they’ll see the value in using the site to seriously provide clear information on meetings, offer downloadable forms and applications and share funding procedures.
It was also clear judging from comments at the meeting that increasing numbers of the public are beginning to communicate their feelings to board members of NCIF, offering both feedback and complaints to the organization. Indeed, that night, board members verbally mentioned being contacted by members of the public about how the organization is handling business—apparently, sometimes the public is not happy with what it is seeing and citizens are giving them an earful. (Of course, while every citizen has a right to give feedback and complaints, people should always be respectful.)
At any rate, the new changes are good steps by NCIF and should help at least in some small way and more importantly they possibly also show the impact of participation and input from the public.
NCIF board members are: Leo Walker, Oswald Taylor, Ed Ward Jr., Billye Sue Johnson, Brenda Milner, Shaniqua Hoover, Mildred Joseph, Estelle Braxton, James Below Jr., Catherine Hoover, Kelvin Porter, Renee Porter, Gwendolyn Williams, Diane Blake Jones and Gwen Hardison