Copyright © PHD Vision Grant Services
Business brings money into community
By RAY QUIROGA
As the founder of PHD Consulting Services, Edwin Barrera's group of grant writers and
researchers has helped entities - mostly school districts- collect $57 million of grant
monies in a span of about six years.
PHD Consulting's latest accomplishment was the awarding of the lucrative and highly
competitive 21st Century Grants worth approximately $12 million to the San Benito
CISD. The district utilized those funds to implement after school programs at its
Barrera, 38, who's spent most of his professional career in education, introduced the
school district to the popular 21st Century Community Learning Centers Public
Education from the Home to the Doctorate (Project PHD) program in 1999. The
$6,900,000 program - paid through grant funds, was aimed at inspiring students,
through enrichment activities, to enroll in institutions of higher education.
Upon the conclusion of Project PHD's final funding cycle in 2002, Barrera decided to
make a leap of faith and begin his own consulting/grant writing business based out of
his San Benito home.
On any given weekday, in a home porch converted into a modest office space, Barrera
and his loyal crew of education professionals, who include vice president Salvador Vela
and executive director Pauline Kelly, can be heard hard at work on the phone gathering
information and typing away on their laptops non-uniformly lined on a long table that sits
in the center of the small room.
Only two years after officially forming PHD Consulting Services, the group has garnered
some 31grants for their clients that include the Raymondville ISD, Point Isabel ISD,
Robstown ISD and Agua Dulce ISD. Through word of mouth alone PHD Consulting
Services has garnered the attention of educational agencies as far away as Georgia
Despite his success and the self-fulfillment of helping students realize their educational
goals and helping the community prosper, Barrera's personal path wasn't always quite
As a college student attending the University of Texas-Austin, Barrera faced a common
dilemma. On the one hand, this Corpus Christi area native and first generation
university student knew he could be economically enriched if he stuck to his first major,
architecture. On the other hand, Barrera had an inexplicable draw to the education field
and the yearning to assist young Hispanic students reach their goals. As the first
person in his family to attain a university degree, Barrera understood barriers,
complications and lack of support and knowledge that stood in the way of minorities to
succeed at the university level. "I was struggling between a very 'me' oriented career and
helping people," Barrera recalled.
Despite the inner conflict, Barrera stuck to his initial goal and upon graduating, he found
himself working at a Valley architectural firm. Almost instantly, he realized he made the
wrong career choice. "I like dealing with people, and I was dealing with things," he said.
Barrera decided to do something about his internal turmoil and not too long there-after,
he received a master's degree in counseling and began working at the University of
Texas-Brownsville as well as working as a social worker.
As for the future, Barrera is keeping his options open saying that the company may even
franchise out to the Georgia area to guide one of its newest clients, the Georgia
Education Agency in implementing a federal funded grant it was recently awarded,
compliments of PHD Vision Grant Services.
|34332 Island Estate St.
San Benito, TX - 78586
(o i) 956.361.9738
(o ii) 956.242.7454
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