Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the NCACH team! Tanya Gleason was recently hired as our Capacity Development and Grant Manager, a position that was created based on feedback solicited from our four-county region. Tanya’s role will be to focus on supporting local organizations in building the infrastructure needed for sustainable programs, with a specific focus on housing and transportation as social determinants of health. She will work directly with local partners as an educational force, demystifying the grants process so that organizations feel prepared to seek, write, and administer grants to support the important services they provide in North Central Washington.
In order to get an on-the-ground assessment of service gaps in our region, the first few months of Tanya’s position will primarily be exploratory as she engages with the community in a listening tour across the four counties. A cross section of her community engagement activities are expected to include: providing technical assistance to partners who need to develop skills in writing proposal narratives and budgets, grant research and administration, and helping organizations learn how to better connect with funding and educational resources.
(Tanya Gleason, photo by NCACH)
Tell us a little about your background. What were you doing before you joined NCACH?
For the last two years I worked as the Grants Manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, a local affiliate with 11 health centers in rural Central and Eastern Washington. I worked with a variety of different funders and staff to bring in and administer both federal and foundation grants to support the organization’s primary priority programs: peer education and outreach as well as patient care funds.
Before working for Planned Parenthood, I was a direct service provider for 4 years, working across inpatient, outpatient and harm reduction modalities helping clients to navigate the healthcare system. My clients were primarily those with co-occurring conditions (medical, substance use and mental health). The more I worked to provide linkages to services, crisis management, and evidence-based interventions to individuals and groups, the more I wanted to remove barriers to care in a complicated delivery system.
You recently relocated to the area from Spokane – what has been surprising to you as a new resident in the North Central region?
As someone who did not spend much time in Wenatchee prior to moving, I have found this region to be one of the most impassioned and intentional communities working toward improved health outcomes for its residents. This region is full of community advocates and high community engagement!
What does whole person care mean to you? How can the NCACH region (especially the non-clinical community) contribute to whole person care?
Whole person care is a focal point of so many conversations surrounding healthcare today. A person by their very nature is a complex set of systems so treatment should be multilayered and interconnected. Whole person care ensures that links are made between acute need, lived experience, and surrounding environment and increases the chances of comprehensive recovery. Non-clinical providers in this region can contribute to whole person care through robust communication and referral plans as well as solid relationships with other providers in the area, something the NCACH is currently working to make a reality.
You were once a case manager for clients – what was the progression from case manager to grants manager?
In my four years as a case manager and chemical dependency counselor I saw a lot of successes and challenges in the modalities in which I worked. There was a common thread in these challenges: funding. Lack of sustainable funding often exposed and exacerbated program inefficiencies; forcing nonprofits to continue with processes that made it difficult to effectively serve clients and retain staff. My first chemical dependency counselor position was in an inpatient substance use nonprofit serving pregnant and postpartum women. This facility was in King County, an area that seemed high-need and high-resource, but succumbed to funding cuts three months after I was hired. Devastated for the clients who were relying on this facility to provide a respite from their addiction, I began thinking about what access to necessary behavioral health services was like in rural areas (I lived on Whidbey Island at that time) and what ways I could use and/or build on my strengths long-term in order to make larger scale change in my community. Thus my broader trajectory was born….
What are you most excited about as you take on the role of the Capacity Development and Grant Manager?
I am most excited to open communication between the NCACH and local organizations to talk about sustainability post-[Medicaid] Transformation. My goal is to have many exploratory conversations around sustainability with the hopes of assisting in opening new doors for funding and collaboration in North Central Washington. I look forward to meeting all the players in North Central Washington’s service region and to facilitate deeper connections between organizations.
Like I have always said to my clients, “you are the expert on your own needs.” So, I am here as a strong support to help you achieve your goals as you define them.
What is your advice for those new to the grants world? Especially those who are not traditionally fundraisers in their roles?
As someone who at first felt panicked by being labeled a ‘fundraiser’, my advice to those that feel overwhelmed by the label is to view it as any other label and don’t let it define you. It is simply a part of the work you do. Fundraising is absolutely a skill that can be learned through immersing yourself in fundraising culture and research.
Start out by assessing your organization and its funding needs. What are your organizational priorities? What is your ideal plan for sustainability? Although these are living questions and as such the answers may change as your organization grows, asking these questions both inside and outside your organization is key. Seek out successful fundraisers and just start talking! Any time you feel overwhelmed, just remember that seeking and applying knowledge will reduce your anxiety about grants and fundraising over the long term.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I absolutely love exploring the natural beauty of North Central Washington. I value travel through all mediums, be it by foot, planes, trains, or automobiles. My hobbies include gardening, home remodel projects, and people-watching in Pybus Public Market.
Tanya Gleason is the Capacity Development and Grant Manager for the North Central Accountable Community of Health. Over the past 6 years, Tanya has served in direct service and grant management roles with the aim of improving health outcomes in her community. In 2017 she graduated from Eastern Washington University’s Master of Public Administration program with a focus on social work. Tanya has lived and worked in a variety of regions in Washington State before settling in Wenatchee proper. In her spare time, Tanya enjoys travelling the world and home remodeling with her partner.