Perhaps the best way to understand a need statement is to look at a successful one. Here is a sample needs statement from the CD accompanying Winning Grants Step by Step.
Sample Needs Statement
The need for the Breast Cancer Prevention Project is great. The American Cancer Society estimates that 203,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States in 2002. Of that number, 5,345 will be in Every County. In comparison, of Each state’s 48 counties, the second highest incidence rate is projected to be in Big County, with 1,850 new cases. Similarly, Every County leads the state in deaths anticipated from breast cancer in 2002 (with 1,160), with Big County again a distant second (with 395 anticipated deaths).
Women who have breast cancer and who are employed may lose or need to leave their jobs or take significant amounts of time off for treatment, resulting in lack of a source of income. Or they may find their incomes drained by the costs of health care. They may also lose their health insurance, custody of their children, or their housing because of discrimination or periodic hospitalization.
Some women stay in abusive relationships to keep their insurance; even if a woman has access to coverage, many insurers will not cover a breast cancer survivor for up to ten years after recovery. Many of the women we serve have been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, meaning that they do not have ten years, nor will they recover. The illness itself, plus weeks or months of treatment, often causes women to become fatigued, depressed, and malnourished. The need for preventive outreach and early detection is clearly great.
The groups targeted for outreach through this project are among the most under served women for health education services: women of color, homeless women, and lesbians, all of whom are low-income and aged 40 and over.
The causes of breast cancer are not fully known. Risk factors include heavy exposure to radiation, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, exposure to hormones, aging, family or personal history of breast cancer, and race. In addition, according to the Breast Cancer Fund, hundreds of scientific studies have drawn links between cancer and exposure to toxic chemicals found in the environment. Furthermore, scientists have identified two specific genes that are important in the development of breast cancer.
Women who are homeless do exhibit several of these risk factors because of their living situations, including alcohol and drug abuse, which is common. Lesbian women may receive inadequate health care because of poor treatment from providers who are uncomfortable with them. Immigrant women of color who do not speak English well may be afraid to seek health care if they are undocumented. For these reasons and more, the project is crucial to the women of this community.
If the project were not undertaken, low-income Port Beach–area women at risk for developing breast cancer would not be able to receive — in their own communities — health education and prevention services designed to minimize their risk. Since the women we serve are low-income, including some who are homeless, they have limited access to similar resources that may be available in other areas. The fact that SAK’s House goes directly into shelters means that we reach women who would ordinarily not access health education services, those who are at highest risk for serious health problems.
*Reprinted with permission from Winning Grants Step by Step, Third Edition, 2008, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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