Newly hired grantwriter will work with agencies in Orleans to secure funding

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 August 2021 at 8:18 am

Having a grant writer available in Orleans County for non-profit organizations is a game changer, said Dean Bellack, director of United Way of Orleans County.

Matt Holland

Bellack pushed for a $450,000 grant over five years from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, which has allowed United Way to hire a grant writer and fundraiser for Orleans County.

Matt Holland of Medina assumed his duties as grant writer on July 6, joining Nyla Gaylord of Clarendon, who started as fundraiser several weeks earlier. Gaylord wrote the grant on her own time which resulted in United Way receiving the $450,000.

Holland is a native of Oregon and has worked for 10 years with non-profits, including museums, historic preservation and cultural research.

He has a master’s in anthropology from the University of Buffalo and a bachelor of arts in history from the University of Oregon. His most recent job was with the Buffalo History Museum as program and volunteer coordinator.

He has done a lot of grant writing with the History Museum and Gresham Historical Society in Oregon.

“I thought this job with United Way was a good opportunity to work with and learn about the community I’d just moved into,” Holland said.

His wife Catherine is tasting room manager at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery on Ridge Road.

Having a grant writer free of charge in Orleans County means a lot of non-profit organizations will be able to apply for grants who weren’t able to before, Holland said.

“The sky’s the limit now,” he said. “My goal is to take that burden off agencies who don’t have the time, staff or expertise to write a grant.”

Holland is getting to know everyone in the non-profit community and what needs they have, he said. He is working with United Way to form a committee to look at priorities.

“It has been fascinating to learn all the different projects and needs in the county,” Holland said.

“Our expectations are that we are going to see this impact all non-profits in our county,” Bellack said. “Our priority is to help agencies we support, and eventually all non-profits in the county. Matt has been busy gathering information from the non-profit agencies and prioritizing how we work and who we will work with going forward. We are looking to put together partnerships with our board and the non-profits in the county.”

While people are excited and calling about assistance in writing a grant, Bellack said they have to be sure those asking for help are ready for the grant process.

“They have to have a defined need and their books have to be in order,” he said.

Bellack said it is a complicated process and there are different reporting requirements for federal, state, foundational and corporate grants. Holland is the only full time grant writer in Orleans County, Bellack said.

Any non-profit in Orleans County can contact Holland for information on applying for a grant by e-mailing him at