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Writing a Grant to Attend the LLLI Conference

Pauline Harding
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 32 No. 4, August-September 1996, p. 55-56

In about 45 minutes, I raised $1200 - enough money for my co-Leader and me to attend the LLLI Conference in Chicago in 1995. (And during the final 15 minutes I was singing "The Wheels On the Bus" to my two-year-old as well!) How? By writing a grant application to my local chapter of the March of Dimes, an organization that promotes the health of babies and young children.

First, I called and told them what I had in mind. I asked if it sounded like something they might be interested in funding, what they needed to know and what their deadlines were. Then, using parts of other things I'd written, I whipped up the grant request. I simply explained why breastfeeding was important, what we'd done during our three years as LLL Leaders and why we wanted to go to the conference.

I think it's important for Leaders to look beyond the Group for fundraising. Even if your request is turned down, you've started people outside of LLL talking about breastfeeding. And besides, writing this grant application was much easier than holding a bake sale!

Ed. Note: Along with a cover letter, Pauline sent the following grant request. It could be used as a model for similar requests to organizations in your community.

About the Project

We are asking the March of Dimes to help two La Leche League Leaders attend an advanced breastfeeding conference this summer in Chicago.

About La Leche League

La Leche League International (LLLI), founded in 1956, is an organization devoted to helping women breastfeed their babies. There are now three La Leche League (LLL) Groups in Delaware County. Affiliated with LLLI, these groups hold monthly support meetings. We also operate a breastfeeding question hotline, handling 700 -1000 calls each year. The groups are run by six volunteer Leaders, all accredited by LLLI. We are funded largely through membership dues and other donations. Each group's operating budget is about $350 per year, most of which goes toward postage, copying and the purchase of brochures on specific breastfeeding situations sent to hotline callers.

Why Breastfeeding?

Each mother must make her own choice about how to feed her child. However, it should be an informed choice. The medical community agrees that "breast is best." Breastfed babies are healthier due to immunities passed through mother's milk; these immunological benefits extend well beyond the newborn period. Breastfeeding enhances the infant's physical and mental development in many ways. One recent study found that breastfed babies may actually be more intelligent.

Breastfeeding mothers are also healthier. They enjoy reduced incidence of breast cancer and benefit from a natural method of child spacing.

Breastfeeding is of particular benefit to low-income women. There are no costs for artificial feeding products and no special equipment is needed. Mothers need not have access to a clean source of water or a way to heat a bottle. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that at least $29 million could be saved annually in formula costs if WIC (in the US, Women Infants and Children) mothers breastfed their babies for just one month.

About the Conference

Every other year LLLI offers a breastfeeding conference. We hope to send two Delaware County LLL Leaders to this year's conference in Chicago. We are particularly interested in the following sessions:

  • The Role of Mother Support in an Early Hospital Discharge Environment
  • The Establishment of Mother-to-Mother Support in Economically Disadvantaged and Low-Literate Communities
  • Bringing Global Breastfeeding Initiatives Down to the Local Level.
  • Supporting Breastfeeding through the Implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes
  • Counseling Strategies and Resources for Hot Topics - When Little, Conflicting or No Research Exists
  • Comparing Morbidity and Mortality Rates Between Breast and Artificially Fed Infants
  • Failure-to-Thrive, Including the Realities of Insufficient Milk Syndrome
  • Rebirth of Breastfeeding Worldwide

We hope to learn many things that will help us in our work with breastfeeding mothers in Delaware County. Because we work closely with lactation consultants at Crozer and Fitzgerald-Mercy Hospitals, we are particularly interested in learning more about helping breastfeeding mothers during the first week after birth. Since local hospitals now discharge new mothers 24 hours after birth, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of hotline calls from mothers with problems initiating breastfeeding. During these early days, many of the usual guidelines do not apply and mothers need considerable emotional support. We are also interested in finding ways to reach out to economically disadvantaged and otherwise underserved mothers and their babies.

Who is Going?

Cicely Rodal and Pauline Harding will be Delaware County's representatives at the conference. We have each been volunteering our time to work with breastfeeding women in Delaware County for three years. During this time we have:

  • Started and continue to run two support groups for breastfeeding mothers, one at Fitzgerald-Mercy Hospital, one at Crozer Hospital. (Ed. Note: Series Meetings)
  • Planned and attended a conference, held once a year in eastern Pennsylvania which brings workshops on breastfeeding and parenting to several hundred mothers, LLL Leaders and health professionals. (Ed. Note: Area Conferences)
  • Planned local workshops to support LLL Leaders, featuring guest speakers on topics such as "All About WIC" and "24-Hour Discharge and Baby's First Week." (Ed. Note: Chapter Meetings)
  • Run a six-session training program for mothers interested in becoming LLL Leaders, covering basic breastfeeding knowledge as well as skills needed for phone counseling and managing a support group. (Ed. Note: LLL of Eastern Pennsylvania, USA's Leadership Skills Workshop)
  • Attended a number of regional breastfeeding conferences and workshops at our own expense. (Ed. Note: Leader Development Seminar)
  • Cicely trained to become an instructor in counseling skills and will run at least two workshops this spring. (Ed. Note: Human Relations Enrichment)
  • Cicely volunteers at Crozer's Breastfeeding Center, helping make follow-up calls to mothers who have consulted the lactation consultants.
  • Both Pauline and Cicely, along with the other four Delaware County LLL Leaders, staff our Breastfeeding Hotline.


Two volunteer Leaders will attend the conference. We have obtained a grant from another source for $100 (Ed. Note: one Area Council stipend). Any expenses not covered by grants will be paid by the individual Leader. The total amount requested is $1222.

Conference Expenses

Each Two Leaders
Registration $360 $720
Lodging (3 nights, shared room) 150 300
Airfare 151 302
Total cost $661 $1322
Less other funding (100)
Total grant requested $1222
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