2013 Forty Under 40: Sarah Aubrey

February 2, 2013
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“My husband and I have been in the livestock business our whole life. There are a lot of youth programs that use livestock as a development opportunity, and I do some grant writing for them to try to help them with their fundraising.”

Age: 37

Owner, Prosperity Ag and Energy Resources LLC

The numbers tell Sarah Aubrey’s story: Since founding her grant-writing company in 2007, she’s secured nearly $60 million for clients in 38 states. In an average year, she writes several hundred grants and boasts a 90-percent success rate.

Her Monrovia-based Prosperity Ag and Energy Resources finds funding for projects that support energy development, food- and agriculture-related economic development and the environment. Her clients include Ball State University and the city of Logansport.

Aubrey said she noticed a variety of funding, including state, federal, foundation grants and loan guarantees, available for business and municipalities. But the Illinois native and University of Illinois graduate also saw that not a lot of people were applying.

The “a-ha!” moment, if there was one, came when she discovered that the United States Department of Agriculture had authorized a program that covered renewable energy development and energy efficiency development for rural areas in the agriculture sector and in business.

“Indiana,” she said, “wasn’t taking advantage.”

Aubrey had experience in writing proposals for an Indianapolis company called Agri Business Group Inc. and was already doing consulting and writing there. So she decided to go out on her own.

In 2012, she expanded her business, launching a training and education division geared toward helping people find and go after available funds. She offered two rounds of classes in the fall and will be doing more this spring.

“I realize people often can’t afford to pay for the service,” she said. “And the one-on-one model where I work with the client individually is very good, but it’s also difficult to add new clients if there’s not enough time. So I wanted to help people who maybe could do some of this work themselves if they had a few tips that I’ve been able to gain.”•

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