CCNH Difference Makers – Scott Fitzpatrick
“Difference Makers” is a blog series highlighting many of the incredible employees at Catholic Charities NH, each making a positive and unique impact on the individuals, families, and communities that we proudly serve.
Today, meet Scott Fitzpatrick, director of grants. He has been with Catholic Charities for the past 11 years and is a valued member of our organization. Scott and his team are instrumental in getting funds awarded through grants to our various programs, helping us to further our impact across New Hampshire. Let’s meet Scott:
What does your typical day look like?
No day for me is typical. I’m continually on the lookout for new grantors, which are the organizations that award grants to nonprofits. My team and I spend a significant amount of time researching, writing and talking with the different program directors about information and details we need to write grant proposals. I manage two other grant writers, Brenda French and Tom Mergenov, and we make a strong team.
What do you enjoy most about working at CCNH?
I’ve always been a mission-oriented person and have previously worked at other nonprofits. It means a lot to me to see how the awarded funds go directly to helping those in need. I also enjoy the research of trying to find the funders whose interests match our services; it’s like trying to solve a puzzle.
Why is CCNH a special place?
It’s our mission to help those who are in the gravest need. Everything we do comes from faith, and as Catholics, we’re called to serve. Before I worked here, I was in environmental education with New Hampshire Audubon. At Catholic Charities, it’s a different kind of work because we’re taking care of people. People’s basic needs come first, and you can’t take care of the environment without caring for the people.
How has working at CCNH helped with your professional development?
I previously did some grant writing, but this was the first time it was my job’s sole purpose. When this opportunity came up, I was excited about the chance to pursue grant funding full-time. Over the years, I’ve developed my skills in creating proposals, which have enhanced my overall writing abilities.
Not so long ago, we prepared most grants in physical letters and application forms. Now, almost everything is online, and you have to explain your whole program in 500 characters. It forces us to be more economical in our writing, sharing what is and isn’t essential. Grant writing is very competitive. You have to be clear and concise about what you’re asking for, and explain why the funds are crucial to your organization.
What is most rewarding about your work?
There’s nothing more rewarding than receiving a notification that we were awarded a grant, especially from a new funder. It shows me that we were able to hit all the marks, and made a good impression on the grantor. Whether the amount of money is big or small, getting that affirmation is special.
Why do you love helping others?
It comes from faith and knowing our most important job in life is to serve others. I’ve always thought that those who have more should share and that we can’t turn our backs on those in need. We should be continually engaged in life and work towards improving the lives of others. This is why I’ve chosen to work for nonprofits – because no one is in it for the money. All the focus goes towards helping those in need. I believe that you can’t serve faith and money.
Describe CCNH in 3 words
Committed, resourceful and caring.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? What are some of your hobbies?
For hobbies, I love playing music; I do it semiprofessionally and for fun. I also enjoy fishing, gardening, and camping with my family.
Another side of what I enjoy doing is my mission work in Honduras and for Kairos Prison Ministry. My wife Mary and I have been involved in Project Eden (Honduras) since 2007 and serve on the Board. Our mission is to address food insecurity and nutrition, as well as education. It was established in rural, central Honduras by Fr. Dan St. Laurent from the Diocese of Manchester. One Sunday, he came to our church and invited people to come see his work in Honduras. Mary and I have been back ten times since, most recently in the spring of 2019. The project has a team of five men working down there now, and have become good friends with them, their families and their communities.
I began serving with Kairos Prison Ministry about ten years ago. It’s a four-day style program based on the Catholic Cursillo movement focused on building a community of Christian men in prison. I currently serve on the advisory committee for the Men’s Prison in Concord. It’s a very rewarding ministry.
What do you love about New Hampshire?
I love that New Hampshire is relatively small in size. I like that I live an hour from Boston, the seashore and White Mountains, and minutes away from trees, lakes, ponds, streams and wildlife.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Every year, we have a large family camping trip at Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham, NH, with my wife’s side of the family. We rent six adjacent campsites and have a big family camp out. There are tents and kayaks everywhere, and someone’s campfire is always burning.
What is your favorite motto or quote?
One of my favorites is: “Your end of the lifeboat is sinking.”
I love this because it clarifies that we’re all in this together, and if any of us are having a challenge, we’re all better off if we pitch in to help, rather than point out problems with the “other.”
What is your favorite book?
My favorite author is Neal Stephenson, who writes science fiction novels with technology/futuristic content. He has real variety in his writing and is a great storyteller. I’ve yet to read a book by him that I didn’t like.
What is one thing people might not know about you (or be surprised to find out)?
I once went swimming in the Cog Railroad water tower that’s halfway up Mt. Washington. I had friends who worked for the Cog Railroad and one time when we were visiting and taking a ride up the mountain, he invited my buddies and me to take a swim with him when the train stopped for water. It was a hot 100-degree day in July – the water was freezing cold, and the view from the tower was breathtaking.
Are you interested in becoming a key part of our team and helping others, like Scott? Click here for our many openings in healthcare, social services, administration and more!