How she spends her day: I help nonprofits raise money through small and large grants that create significant social returns for their communities. I write every day (grants, articles, presentation copy, etc.), but I spend most of my time coaching nonprofit leaders to tell their stories in ways that compel grant makers and major donors to invest their programs.
Life before JWS: I have been an outreach worker, educator, executive director, grant writer for one of the largest healthcare systems in the country, clinical researcher, freelance grant writer, and small business owner. I received my bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 2000 and my MBA from Walden University in 2014.
What gets her out of bed: I do the work I do because it makes my heart sing, and service is the core value in my family of farmers, teachers, nurses, entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and military service professionals. Getting to embrace a life of love, fun, and laughter with Andy, Kahlor, Josie, and our zoo gets me out of bed every morning.
Fun fact: I twirled baton for 22 years, from age 2 to 24. One of my twirling teams placed 5th in the nation. I can twirl/juggle fire battons and swords.
Heather Stombaugh, MBA, CFRE, GPC, Principal Consultant, is a professional grant writer with more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, program development, marketing, and fundraising. Heather practices and teaches integrated grant seeking, a process by which the strategy and tactics of fundraising, marketing, and grant seeking are coordinated to increase engagement, donations, and grant awards. Heather believes nonprofit writing requires an astute blend of art (pathos) and science (logos) to compel giving. Using this philosophy, Heather has secured more than $70 million for nonprofits across the country.
Heather is an author and presenter for About.com’s Nonprofit Charitable Orgs Channel, CharityChannel, CharityHowTo, and Thompson Interactive. As an active member of the Grant Professionals Association, Heather serves a peer-reviewer, the editor of the GPA Weekly Grant News, a webinar presenter, and a regular regional and national conference presenter. She is one of fewer than 400 Grant Professionals Certified (GPC) in the United States and one of fewer than 50 professionals in the world who holds both the GPC and CFRE certifications.
Heather has committed her professional life to working with nonprofits, but she believes service is personal, too. From creating an HIV prevention program as a Bowling Green State University student to serving today on local and national boards to helping coordinate her extended family’s team for the local MS Walk, Heather teaches her children that service is a part of daily life. Her continuous dedication made her the 2012 Social Change Scholar at Walden University, where she completed her MBA in Leadership in 2014 (magna cum laude). Heather graduated with honors with a BS in Education/Health Promotion from Bowling Green State University, where she has served as a mentor for the Honors Program.
Heather lives in Northwest Ohio with her partner and their two ginger-haired children, where they raise a flock of heritage birds and harvest bushels of vegetables and herbs on a mini-farm. In her spare time, Heather loves reading science fiction, learning about her family’s geneaology and genetic history, and documentaries about anthropology and archeology. Connect with Heather on LinkedIn.
How he spends his day: I manage the grants side of the house for JWS including prospecting, goldmines, strategies, monthly assignments, proposal writing, research, client contacts, grant reporting, and just about anything else I can do to ensure the client receive the best products possible.
Life before JWS: Prior to coming to JWS, I worked as a case manager at Open Arms Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services in Findlay, Ohio. I have served in the Army Reserves for the past 14 years and plan to serve until retirement. I am also an active member and volunteer for my local Kiwanis, American Red Cross, and I serve on my local Board of Education.
What gets him out of bed: Coffee definitely helps! Seriously, my purpose is to take care of my family and to make sure they get everything they need to be happy.
Fun fact: I enjoy gardening and have recently taken up woodworking.
Matthew Stombaugh holds dual degrees in psychology and criminal justice from The University of Findlay. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for six years. Prior to joining JWS, he worked as a grant-funded case manager and support group facilitator at Open Arms Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services in Findlay, Ohio. Matthew is currently a Sergeant First Class in the United States Army Reserve, has honorably served his country for more than fourteen years, and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a member of the Grant Professionals Association and serves on the Ethics Committee. Matthew has served as the Chair for the Wyandot County American Red Cross, has served as President of the Carey Kiwanis, and is the President of the Carey Exempted Village School Board.
How she spends her day: I spend my days helping nonprofits raise money and awareness through grant writing and special projects such as SROI infographics and other general communication publications.
Life before JWS: Before JWS, I worked in higher education communication and advancement for more than 12 years at small, liberal arts colleges and universities in Ohio.
What gets her out of bed: My children get me out of bed in the morning, but I enjoy grant writing because it allows me to use my writing in a way that is directly measurable for a nonprofit. I am lucky to have a career where I can help so many different types of people live better lives.
A nonprofit that really inspires me: The Mission Continues
Ericka Kurtz, MBA, consultant, is a full-time grant writer for JWS and is a communications professional with more than 12 years of experience in higher education working with print and electronic publications, public relations, media relations, social media, development, alumni relations, athletics, and enrollment. Her areas of expertise include writing, editing, and branding. Before joining JustWrite Solutions, Ericka served as the director of communications at Tiffin University. She has also held a variety of communication and advancement positions at Heidelberg University and Ohio Wesleyan University. At OWU, she served as assistant editor of the Ohio Wesleyan Magazine, a quarterly publication that won a Pride of CASE Award in District V for Most Improved Alumni Magazine. Ericka holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations, and Master of Business Administration. Ericka is a member of the Grant Professionals Association and volunteers for the Grant Professionals Foundation and Baskets of Care. She has previously volunteered for the American Red Cross and served as President of the Independent College Advancement Associates (ICAA). Ericka lives in Northwest Ohio with her family. When she’s not working she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and playing Euchre.
How she spends her day: I spend most days writing targeted grant proposals and proofing anything that comes my way.
Life before JWS: A graduate of Bowling Green State University, I started my professional career in the marketing design department of a national distributor of maintenance and repair supplies working on the production of print materials. I moved to a major educational publisher and continued production work. Then I moved to the science editorial department where I stayed for eight years. I first did part-time work with JWS in 2011 and moved to full-time at the beginning of 2015.
What gets her out of bed: My family means the world to me and I am thankful for their health and happiness. I know others are not so fortunate. Through grant writing I am able to help nonprofits continue their honorable work that improves the lives of so many people.
Fun fact: I started dancing at the age of 3 and continued through college. I took lessons in tap, jazz, ballet, and point and danced the part of Clara in The Nutcracker.
Lora Ollom, Consultant, is a technical writer with more than 12 years of experience in document creation and design. Her expertise is in editing with a strong background in document layout and design. Lora has developed documentation ranging from business advertisements, manuals, and catalogs to elementary education materials and grant proposals. She started in marketing, where she designed and edited documents like business advertisements, brochures, catalogs, and manuals. She spent eight years in the elementary science editorial department at a major educational publisher where she planned the scope and sequence, wrote, and edited print and digital educational materials for students and teachers to meet national and state academic standards. Lora was the team leader for the K–2 science group overseeing all projects related to those grades.
Lora started working with JWS as a part-time freelancer proofreading documents. In January of 2015, Lora moved to a full-time consulting position at JWS where she continues to proof and edit various materials and writes grant proposals. She graduated in 1999 from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Scientific and Technical Communication.
Lora lives in Central, Ohio with her husband, two children, and two cats. When she isn’t working, Lora reads fiction novels and cookbooks. She also enjoys sharing the joy of cooking and baking with her children.
How he spends his day: My work at JWS is on the technical side of things. I help to ensure JWS retains its competive technological edge as well as making sure our clients get the most out of their evaluation data collection. Internally, I provide strategic technology development and assist in information technology. For our clients, I help facilitate program evaluation, technical proprosal writing, assist in fundraising strategy, and operational data and impact analytics.
Life before JWS: I am a scientist-engineer by training. While attending school, I had the opportunity to work in the academic research offices at major public and private institutions, both as a student and as an administrator. I have consulted independently on the development of a regional online network for clinical trials management. I also serve as a volunteer for Baskets of Care and the Grants Professional Foundation, and participate annually in the Extra Life 24-hour gaming marathon to support children’s health.
What gets him out of bed: “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Fun fact: I am a nerd’s nerd. I always enjoy learning of and about new things.
Zachary holds a Master of Science in Biomedical Science from Drexel University and is a certified Tissue Engineer. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology (pre-med) from Wright State University. Zachary is a member of the Grants Professionals Association and has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2010, when he interned for Heather at the Toledo Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center. While at Wright State University, Zachary helped teach Physics and Java Programming.
How he spends his day: I coordinate the development of instruments for community needs assessments and other types of surveys, assist in the development of evaluation plans for grant applications and client federal applications.
Life before JWS: I received my doctorate in Health Education with a cognate in Research and Measurement from the University of Toledo. I have extensive experience in coordinating and managing Federal- and State-funded programs; including experience with the Clinical Trials Network division of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Title I school programs, and programs funded through Targeted Assistance for Needy Families. I am currently the Grants & Contracts Associate for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), where I research funding opportunities and develop proposals that provide high-quality legal assistance in civil matters to help low-income individuals and groups in 32 counties in Western Ohio achieve self-reliance, equal justice and economic opportunity.
What gets him out of bed in the morning: Being someone who has an understanding and appreciation for measuring outcomes and impact, what I enjoy about the work that I do is knowing—in quantifiable terms—how my efforts make a difference in the world.
Fun fact: Distance running is my passion.
Scott Herr, Associate, Scott received his doctorate in Health Education with a cognate in Research and Measurement through the University of Toledo’s Judith Herb College of Health Science, Human Service and Education in 2011. He graduated in 1999 from the Northwest Ohio Consortium of Public Health, through the Medical College of Ohio, Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo, with a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a concentration on administration. Scott has extensive experience in coordinating and managing Federal- and State-funded programs; including experience with the Clinical Trials Network division of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Title I school programs, and programs funded through Targeted Assistance for Needy Families. His professional experience also includes service as a peer reviewer for competitive grants since 2002 for the United States Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, the Administration for Children and Families, and AmeriCorps. He also has participated actively in the community as a member of the Board of Trustees for the AIDS Resource Center of Ohio; which provides clinical and housing support and educational services to more than 35 Ohio counties, and has served by appointment on the Lucas County Citizen’s Tax Levy Review Board.
How she spends her day: Researching grant prospects, writing grant proposals, and drinking lots of coffee!
Life before JWS: I can't even imagine it!
What gets her out of bed: My 3 rambunctious dogs - breakfast is their favorite part of the day! And, coffee.
Fun fact: I speak Finnish
Lisa has worked as a nonprofit consultant since 2008, specializing in grants, development plans, and communications. Her nonprofit clients have included agencies that provide services in: adult literacy, animal welfare, economic development, education, employment training, health and human services, independent living, veterans services, and youth development. Sihvonen-Binder holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy with a Graduate Fundraising Management Certificate, and a Bachelor of Arts in Writing with a Communications minor. Prior to becoming a consultant, she worked for over 17 years in the fields of publications and program management in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She is a board member for the Grant Professionals Foundation and serves on its Marketing Committee. In addition to consulting, Lisa is an adjunct faculty member for Bay Path University, teaching the Grant Writing for Corporations and Foundations graduate level course and a comprehensive editor of nonprofit management and fundraising books for CharityChannel Press. Personal interests include gardening, dog training, bird watching, and travel. She lives with her husband and their three rescue dogs in western Massachusetts.
How he spends his day: I help with visual communications for JWS by designing logos, infographics and other print materials for clients.
Life before JWS: I am a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications Technology. I have worked in promotional products, screen printing, nonprofit visual media, and marketing roles post-graduation from BGSU.
What gets him out of bed: Every day is a new adventure. With my job, nothing is ever the same, meeting new people, new projects and challenges are an everyday welcomed occurrence. Along with my fiancée Melissa, and dog Bodhi (he usually wakes me up on the weekends literally).
Fun fact: I play drums, book, and market two local cover bands, Nine Lives and Not Fast Enuff. Both play local shows around town each week, weddings, The Hollywood Casino, and do some traveling as well. I love music and playing live for people. I have played in Nine Lives for over 7 years and last year, my band NFE, opened for Skid Row in front of 2,000 people!
Mike Toth, Graphic Designer, is currently a freelancer as well as the Marketing Coordinator for Mobile Meals of Toledo, a local nonprofit that assists the elderly and homebound in Toledo, Ohio. He serves on the board of the Toledo Advertising Club. Mike specializes in design, marketing, print publications, social networking, promotions, and screen printing.
How he spends his day: Most days I write sections of grant proposals, blog articles, and pages for my next book. I enjoy the writing, but reading, reviewing and recommending are also tools of my trade! When I am not writing, I can be found learning new concepts, researching ideas, and collecting information for reports.
Life before JWS: My grant experience includes a municipality, a county board of education, a regional development center, a state university’s development office, and as a grant development consultant. I received my bachelor’s degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University and my MPA from Georgia Southern University. I am original GPC™ receiving the credential in 2008.
What gets him out of bed: Much of what I do is in sense theoretical writing. Applying innovative concepts, implementing real-world change, and measuring our impact keeps me going. My favorite grant projects give me the opportunity to witness lives transformed by the power of grants.
Fun fact: I was one of the organizers and hosts of a live all day world-wide event on a social media platform called Blab. On March 16, 2016 we recorded nearly 8 solid hours of conversations with international grant professionals. My first live broadcast wasn’t as productive. In 1993, as a guest on my university’s student radio show, I froze and was unable to speak nearly my entire shift!
Danny Blitch, MPA, GPC is an expert in grant development and a certified professional grant proposal writer. He has successfully assisted hundreds of clients with grant proposal preparation. Mr. Blitch is an original GPC(tm) having received his credential in 2008 from the Grant Professionals Certification Institute. Mr. Blitch started his career in the grant profession nearly 23-years ago in Brunswick a coastal town in south-Georgia. He served as the Chairman of the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) Board from 2008-2011. He is an active Advisory Board member for the Star House - a non-profit providing educational and tutoring services to local disadvantaged kids in Fulton County. Mr. Blitch was elected to the Board of the Grant Professionals Association in 2013.
How she spends her day: Currently, I spend my day with my toddler and look forward to working with JWS staff and clients.
Life before JWS: I worked at a food science association where I managed the annual campaigns, scholarship program and special donor events. I learned so much cool information about food chemistry, food safety, and sustainability. Most recently, I was a science writer at the University of Chicago where I specialized in proposal writing and donor research. I also worked closely with university faculty to set up donor tours at the hospital.
What gets her out of bed: The joyful sound of my toddler running down the hallway gets me out of bed. I am also passionate about writing and volunteering. I volunteer at our neighborhood farmer’s market on Saturday mornings where you will find me among the rutabagas and heirloom tomatoes.
Fun fact: I volunteered on a horse farm in New Mexico through the program World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). My favorite horse was an Appaloosa named Fire Wire.
Anna Kakos is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio who resides in Chicago with her husband and son. She graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. She also earned a certificate in Component Relations from the American Society of Association Executives. With over ten years in the nonprofit sector, she has specialized in board governance, fundraising, corporate sponsorship/ events and community partnerships. She once managed a 5K race in Las Vegas where there was a surprise appearance from an Elvis impersonator
How she spends her day: Writing, writing, and more writing. Also interviewing people for feature stories, gathering research for articles, and editing, and re-editing my work.
Life before JWS: I worked for a marketing firm that specialized in education, for the American Red Cross, and for a small publishing firm.
What gets her out of bed: Two hungry dogs, coffee, and my promise to myself to make someone's day better through words or actions each day.
Fun fact: I incorporate my Ukrainian heritage in holidays, meals, and artwork whenever possible. With an immigrant father, and first generation American mother, the "old country" is still very much a part of our daily lives
Julie Jardine is a writer and editor with over 25 years of experience in a variety of sectors, including education, nonprofit, and business. She has written for business and manufacturing clients, produced print and marketing collateral materials, including annual reports,brochures, sales pieces, and newspaper ads. As a consultant, Julianne creates feature and news stores, website and social media content, organizational branding, newsletters, and advertising and campaign materials. Her clients have included Bowling Green State University, UT/MCO, Toledo Hospital, Alzheimer’s Association, Central Catholic High School, Toledo Public Schools, Toledo Community Foundation, and the Ability Center of Greater. She is strong advocate for the arts and homeless animals.
How she spends her day: I spend my day writing grant proposals for nonprofits and assisting other writers in their work.
Life before JWS: I received my Masters in Public Administration from BGSU in 2006 with an emphasis in Nonprofit Administration. For the past 9 years, I managed the Help Me Grow program in Hancock County, which is a program through the Ohio Department of Health. I have also taught at the University of Findlay, as an adjunct faculty since 2009.
What gets her out of bed: My daughter and my dog! Besides that, it’s my love of working in social services to help those in need.
Fun fact: I was able to read music before I could read words. I started playing piano at the age of 5 and continued lessons through college. I also can play the organ and almost any other instrument you give me!
Jennifer Rathburn, MPA, graduated from the University of Findlay in 2002 with a dual degree in Political Science and Comprehensive Social Science. She worked for a year as the Volunteer Coordinator at Hancock County Humane Society. Jennifer returned to graduate school at Bowling Green State University and graduated in 2006 with Masters in Public Administration. She spent nine years managing the Help Me Grow program in Hancock County, along with teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Findlay. She has been a member of the Village of Carey Council since 2015.
How she spends her day: Since I am mostly retired as of the end of March of 2016, I spend my days doing projects around my home in Maumee and our summer place on Lake Erie. I also work on a development program project for JWS, spend time with my husband of 39 years (but not too much!) and read, cook and watch TV, and do various volunteer board work, not necessarily in any order of prioritization!
Life before JWS: I was Development Director for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity for almost 4 years and prior to that I was a consultant, a VP of Business Development and Senior Systems Analyst for the recruitment arm of a global staffing company for 5 years and for 20 years, I did counseling, marketing, Business Development, Occupational health, fundraising and Physician Relations and recruiting for one of the largest regional health systems in the country.
What gets her out of bed: Not much, retirement has led to sleeping in a bit, so I get out of bed between 8 and 9 with the hopes of getting a large unsweetened iced tea from McDonald's! On a more serious note, my husband and the hopes of seeing or talking to my children and four grandchildren are what really gets me going in the morning!
Fun fact: I love to cook and am pretty good at it, especially Italian food... I've even won some "throw down" competitions....but, I am a horrible baker (most likely because I'm not much of a sweet eater which is kind of a problem because my husband has a sweet tooth!)
Lisa Ovenden was most recently the Development Director for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity. She has 30+ years of fundraising, relationship marketing, recruitment and operational process improvement experience. Lisa’s fundraising and business development experience has been both as a board member and paid staff. Her fundraising expertise centers in the areas of corporate and mission partnering, major gifts, donor appeals, strategic development planning, grant writing and administration and, event planning. Lisa also has also been at the executive level in strategic account development, customer relationship management, marketing, business process improvement and project management in large healthcare and staffing corporations.
How she spends her days: My days are usually busy with consulting or taking care of our two grandbabies. When I have free time, I like to spend it painting, sewing, or crocheting. My husband and I also enjoy fishing and camping.
Life before JWS: My husband and I have worked as a consulting team for more than ten years. We enjoy working with other grant consultancies, helping clients continue programs, as well as implement new programs and projects important to fulfilling the mission and goals of their organization.
What gets her out of bed: My family! My husband, children and grandchildren are always my priority. I work hard to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Fun fact: One of my paintings from college is in The Ann Frank traveling exhibit.
Cynthia Blitch, BBA, is an expert in grant reporting. She has worked with clients to submit monthly and quarterly reports online for the last 10-years. Cynthia understands what is needed to submit the required reports on time and guides clients every step of the way through this very important process. She is also an expert grant proposal author, technical writer, quality control specialist, and skilled editor. Cynthia’s first grant proposal was selected for an award by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program in 2006.