The birds are chirping, the sun is shining brighter, and while you may have some doubts – the spring season is officially here!

Spring is full anticipation and growth. Whether you’re jetting home from work to watch the college basketball playoffs, counting down the days until you’re on a break from classes, preparing your home for loved ones to join you in holiday festivities, or just simply spending more time outdoors – anticipation and growth are felt by many people during this time of the year.  

Here at Invest In Access (IAI) we’re in an anticipatory time as well.

#1: (Super exciting) Our first Board of Directors meeting is taking place on Monday, March 25. It took 4 months to assemble this exceptional Board of women and I could not be happier. I’m so ready for them to meet one another, check in on our progress to strategic goals, and provide their insights for the advancement of IAI.

#2: Funding Announcements.

Invest In Access is fortunately contending to receive support from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Youth Council, and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the Awesome Foundation.

If you work within Development or Fundraising then the process of seeking fiscal support is second nature, but if you are new to learning about start-up organizations then you may not be aware of the factors that contribute to the viability of a start-up.


  1. What resources do you have available to you?
  2. The present economy: what industries are the most prominent amongst consumers, and where does your organization’s mission fall within consumer need?

Access to funding determines an organization’s viability during critical start-up years. Lack of funding is the top challenge that start-up organizations face; second only to marketing capacity or lack thereof. Here in the United States, the top 5 industries so far in 2019, are:

So, you’ve defined your mission, know the economy, and are sustaining operations; high five! Now – where do you find additional funding from? It’s often the case that when people think of charitable giving, they think of: Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Cubin, Oprah Winfrey, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and if you thought of any of those people or organizations, you’re not wrong. Each of those individuals and organizations advance humanity in public and private ways, 24/7.

It’s just, what’s less commonly discussed is the process by which an organization receives access to those larger funders. Frequently, the larger the funding entity is, the more difficult it is to obtain access to funds. (“Wait. Play that back.”) Truth. Larger funding entities often require an organization to provide multiple years of proven financial prudence, and do not accept unsolicited proposals; their awards are granted on an invitation-only basis. This is one of the many reasons that local funders are vital to an organization during its start-up phase.

I often compare start-up development to a scene from Warner Bros. Pictures: The Lego Movie. In this scene, Princess Unkitty (a unicorn/cat who accepts no ‘frowny faces’ or ‘negativity of any kind’), is proposing an idea:

Lego Batman:  “I left the weird cat thing to stall.”

While we are at an ‘anticipatory’ stage here at Invest In Access – I can say that I am grateful each day knowing that there is encouragement, mentorship and local funders that wholeheartedly understand the need to support an organization at this stage of its lifecycle. Moreover, it is an absolute privilege and joy that IAI is in operational standing to be able to contend for community and philanthropic support.

Wishing you peace of spirit and positive growth this spring season,