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about sarah
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a Consultancy for
Museums, Sites, Zoos,
Gardens, Aquariums, and
Science & Nature Centers

Sarah Sutton, LEED-AP
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Waialua, Oahu, Hawai'i

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“Sarah has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding for Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum over the last decade. Blithewold Mansion, Garden & Arboretum would not be such a strong financial and capital investment position without her partnership. Did I mention she has also successfully written three federal IMLS grants for our organization? I find those grants are the most difficult and laborious grants to win!”
  –Karen Binder, Executive Director

Click below for more testimonials.


A good proposal requires a well-designed project, the exact funder match, and a strong
application package.

If this work doesn’t fit into your schedule or your team’s general skill set, Sustainable
can be your writer. We can prepare a proposal for a single federal deadline, and
many for foundation and government funding frequently during the year.

We specialize in grant applications to federal agencies.


Prioritizing & Planning
A deadline is not a reason for a grant application. Even the best ideas can be difficult to fund. Your strategic plan should guide your institutional priorities; our grant funding plan will align your priority projects with the funding universe.    

Foundation Applications
We identify the most likely funders, and help you develop relationships with them. As appropriate we create a steady stream of inquiry letters, concept papers, and full proposals – online or on paper. We will work with you as long as you like, but our goal is to grow your staff into grant writers.

Federal Applications
Let us help you wrangle with We will work with you to design projects and prepare grant applications to the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and other federal agencies where appropriate.  

Do you need custom programs to introduce your staff to project design and proposal writing? Does your association want to offer members a workshop grant-writing?  Sarah provides practical instruction on-line or in-person, and based on decades of experience.  You can host one for your museum or association.


Burlington County Historical Society, New Jersey
Having a contract proposal writer has meant the small staff has been able to benefit from new funding for exhibit design and development, part-time curatorial staff, and the proposal writer.

Blithewold Museum, Garden and Arboretum, Bristol, RI 
Over a period of ten years Sarah and the Blithewold staff raised money through multiple IMLS and Commonwealth of Rhode Island grants, and from private foundations to repair, restore, reconstruct and rejuvenate multiple buildings, gardens, and garden structures on this 33-acre early twentieth century estate. They also funded site interpretation, database work for collections, and a reinstallation of archival and collections storage.

Dumbarton House, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), Washington, DC.
successful NEH “Sustaining America’s Cultural Heritage Collections” planning grant application led to a successful project. We transitioned the staff to proposal-writing in-house and they won an implementation grant two years later, and two IMLS grants.

Second Nature, Boston, MA
Our job is to target funders, design projects, and prepare grant applications to support expansion of  the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Projects include campus-community resilience, and collaborative renewable energy credit purchasing. The 680 ACUPCC signatory schools nationwide are making changes in energy efficiency, waste management, and materials sourcing.  

Urban College of Boston, MA
We are building a grant-raising program to expand the endowment, make capital improvements, and support the cost of students’ educations. We seek support from local and national foundations, and federal programs. When a grant comes in, an adult with significant economic challenges gets to add to his or her education, and move closer to a family-sustaining career.