Community Development

Your weaving story holds power. Learn how to tell it to funders

June 24, 2024  • Weave: The Social Fabric Project

As a small child, Antavia Mason knew what she wanted to be: a storyteller. She dreamed of writing stories that would change lives and make a kinder, more loving world. She just didn’t know how… until she became a grant writer.

It all fell into place in college as part of a class, when she got involved with a local organization in Tulsa that helps kids who are deaf or hard of hearing. Over the semester, she worked closely with the organization’s staff, looked at the financials, and wrote a proposal. She got a grant for $16,000 in her first try. “My grant writing professor was like, ‘this never happens. No student ever typically gets a grant on their first try,’” says Mason. It cemented a mission to use her writing skills for good.  

One of her proudest achievements since was helping St. Phillips School and Community Center in Dallas, TX, to build a lasting partnership with a large donor, the consulting and auditing firm Ernst and Young (EY). 

 The school hosts different services, from afterschool programs to a client-choice food pantry. Mason first convinced the organization to donate money to support the pantry. But over time, she developed a relationship with the EY and actively invited their employees to take part in the school’s activities. “Every year since, EY employees show up four times a year and they would help stock our pantry. They would help clean our playgrounds. They would show up and read to our kids in our kindergarten pre-K classes,” says Mason. “The EY employees would smile and laugh. They loved it. They felt a deep sense of belonging.” 

For the past decade, she has been helping organizations hone their story, apply for grants, and create long-lasting and meaningful relationships with donors. “When you learn how to tell your story it helps position you in a better space to be able to build partnerships and build community with the people that you serve, and get the necessary funding that you need,” says Mason. 

Mason partnered with Weave to create a course in grant writing for the Weave Learning Center. It helps people at any stage of their weaving journey identify where to look for grants, how to apply for them, and how to build relationships with donors. “I think a lot of people are very nervous about writing grants. They think it’s this special talent that only certain people can do. And that is the furthest thing from the truth. Anyone can do it,” says Mason. 

You can learn her secrets for success by taking the free, self-paced grant writing course in the Weave Learning Center. She will also host four live virtual sessions of the course in July, starting Jul 5, 2024 where she will answer questions and address the specific challenges or situations of those who attend. It’s your chance to be a writer who changes lives.

Register here.