Citizen Planning School

Pitching Your Idea Workshop


Program Summary: 

This workshop discussed how to effectively pitch project ideas to potential funders. Participants learned about best practices for writing proposals, common pitfalls to avoid, and where to access resources on how to prepare applications for various types of funding agencies.

Check out photos from the event here. 

Program Description:

mikeballMichael Ball, Western New York Deputy Regional Director

Michael Ball joined Empire State Development in October 2012 as the Western New York Deputy Regional Director.  Michael assists in the management of Empire State Development’s Buffalo-based Western New York regional office and its efforts to recruit new business, as well as support existing business, in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.  He is also charged with the implementation of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and Buffalo Billion strategic initiatives.

Michael is a certified planner and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), as well as a past section director for the Western New York Section of the American Planning Association. Prior to joining Empire State Development, Michael served for nine years as Director of Planning and Implementation for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  He has also served as Senior Project Planner for the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) and as a Senior Project Associate with the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation (BERC).

Michael is a lifelong resident of Western New York and a graduate of Canisius College where he received his B.A. in Political Science and Urban Studies.  He received his Masters of Urban Planning and Certificate of Specialization in Economic Development Planning from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Regional Planning.

LarryLawrence Cook, Senior Program Officer at The John R. Oishei Foundation

Lawrence Cook is Senior Program Officer at The John R. Oishei Foundation. He has been with the Foundation for over six years. His primary focus is supporting the human and social services sectors in WNY. He is engaged in forwarding the mission of the Foundation-developed Mobile Safety-Net Team that works to assist and strengthen existing human services organizations at the community level.

Larry has served the non-profit sector for 18 years. Previously, Larry was the Arts Council’s Deputy Director and an active panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts for several years. He has served on numerous boards and currently serves on the program committee for the WNY Grantmakers Association. He is also a recipient of the Director’s Award from the Community Mission of Niagara.

He earned a BA in Public Communications from Buffalo State College and an Accounting & Finance certificate from SUNY at Buffalo.


Check out this handout of 10 tips for a successful pitch.

Click here to download the agenda.