Kaiser busy getting grants for county

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Winnie Kaiser is a happy woman. With grant applications pouring out of her laptop computer and a growing number of grant awards coming back to Adams County through her efforts, she sleeps well at night.

&uot;I&160;can lay my head down on my pillow and sleep well,&uot; Kaiser said. &uot;I can count on my right hand at least five things I’ve accomplished that day, and I can count on the left hand five things I have planned to accomplish the next day.&uot;

As community development director for the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority, Kaiser has an impressive record for writing grant applications that win.

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Since 1997, she’s brought $776,754 to Adams County through 30 grant awards.

At the heart of successful grant writing is research, Kaiser said. She participates in or observes many of the governmental and civic meetings in the Natchez-Adams County area.

From there, she learns more about the needs of the community that fuel her efforts.

Kaiser also subscribes to grant materials from around the country and frequently cruises the Web for grant opportunities.

&uot;I look for anything that could apply to Adams County — and I bookmark everything,&uot; she said.

There is no grant too large or too small to be ignored, Kaiser said.

From a $598,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to purchase Belwood Property for the county to $1,800 to fund transportation of a rabbi to hold services once a month for Temple B’Nai Israel on Commerce Street, Kaiser goes for them all.

She has taken on a small scale grant for Melrose Church of Christ on Melrose Avenue. With a leaking baptismal font, the church building is in need of emergency repairs.

&uot;They just need a small grant from a corporation to do small repairs till their loan comes through,&uot; she said.

A 1973 graduate of Cathedral School, Kaiser was a sales assistant for a local stock broker for 15 years.

&uot;Then I got interested in computers,&uot; Kaiser said.

She took courses at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and was offered a job when the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority first started in 1992.

&uot;I’ve been here since the beginning and done a little bit of everything,&uot; she said with a laugh.

Kaiser’s grant writing career began in 1997 when she attended a two-day grant writing workshop in Jackson.

While the workshop itself was short, Kaiser pored over the curriculum distributed during the seminar for some time.

&uot;I’m a very thorough person,&uot; she said.

During Andi Quartey’s tenure at the helm of the EDA in 1997, Kaiser took a secondary role in grant writing. Once Quartey left in January 1999, Kaiser stepped into the breach.

&uot;I asked Andrew (Ketchings, deputy director of the EDA) if he minded if I wrote more grants,&uot; Kaiser said. &uot;Andrew said ‘If it helps the community, go for it.’&uot;

Since then, Kaiser has been a grant-writing force in Adams County.

With the support of EDA board members Wally Kirk and Johnny Junkin, Kaiser said she feels she has the weight of the EDA behind her efforts.

The latest grant applications to come out of Kaiser’s laptop computer — a grant acquisition itself — will be a $20,000 school grant for a program called &uot;Learn and Serve America.&uot;

Under that grant, funding would be provided to help Natchez High School students beautify their own campus, then improve their community.

Kaiser also has plans for a small business incubator in Adams County. This would be a large facility in which fledgling businesses could share common resources – phones, copiers, faxes, secretarial and clerical assistance for up to two years. This would give the businesses an extra hand in getting started.

She also is working with the National Economic Development Authority toward grants to assist in development of the Foster Mound and Belwood industrial sites.