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Westonite of the Week: Marti Fischer

A local nonprofit fund-raising guru visits with Patch.

Name: Marti Fischer

Occupation: Owner of Marti Fischer Grant Services, LLC

Family: Married with two children

How long have you lived in Weston?

Twenty years — where did the time go?

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My business is focused on creating sustainable organizational and funding structures for nonprofits. I have worked with both large and small organizations but have recently gotten a number of calls to work with start ups. What I enjoy most is seeing the positive impact of the processes that we put in place, that the organization has the tools and the funding to accomplish the needed work that they do every day. When this happens it is the same feeling as sending your child off for the first day of Kindergarten—you have given them the tools to succeed and they are ready to go out and use them. In a word, it's exhilarating. 

What are some of the challenges you face in your work?

We live in a county with huge economic, social and educational disparity. It is challenging to raise awareness to the huge amount of need right next door. But my biggest challenge is the same challenge that everyone else faces — there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want to accomplish.  

Are certain charities easier to raise money for than others?

I have been very fortunate to work with wonderful organizations. Each has unique characteristics that fulfill a need or provide a service that is not being fulfilled by either the government or the private sector. If a program is sound and positioned properly, it really does sell itself. 

Is there really a secret to grant writing?

I began five years ago in this sector as a grant writer, but my background is in new business development and network television sales. At this point, grant writing is a relatively small portion of my business. Primarily I work with organizations to design strategic, business, and fund development plans to create sustainability.

How did you get involved in starting Marti Fischer Grants Services?

My favorite job was my first job at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. When I discovered that I would not be able to live in New York on a MoMA salary, I changed paths to advertising and had a great 15 year career at various advertising agencies with the final 8 years working at A&E Television Networks. I was fortunate to be in the position to make another career shift after A&E and meld my original love for the nonprofit sector with business sector skills. 

Has grant money fallen off in this economy?

Without a doubt, foundations continue to contract and corporate donations have fallen off, but there are still funds out there and foundations are mandated to disburse 5 percent of their earnings each year. To the organizations looking for funds I will offer one piece of advice — don't apply for a grant if your mission isn't a good fit with the foundation's mission, and if it makes sense, partner with another organization. OK — two things.

What are some of the key things people need to know about your work and where can they reach you?

I can be reached through my website. The site outlines the services I provide to help clients achieve their goals and gives examples of past and current clients.

What is your favorite thing about Weston?

I love that the merchants in town are so willing to help the local organizations. I am Vice Chairman of the Weston Education Foundation and have been involved in volunteer activities over the years too numerous to mention. When we have needed a donation I know that I can always ask Jimmy Magee at and Larry Vavrick at . After all these years, they don't run away when they see me coming-it's great.  

What is your favorite place in Weston?

I love running or hiking on the trails in . What amazing foresight our town administrators (and those in Easton) had to preserve this land for public use. Thank you!

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