Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

The team of fundraising and writing professionals that make up the Strategic Grants family have a genuine interest and passion in seeing the missions of nonprofits fulfilled, and the sector strengthened.

We immerse ourselves in the causes of the organisations we work with to understand them inside and out and be able to provide comprehensive grants support. We’re proud that many of our clients consider us an extension of their organisations.

We also maintain our high level of involvement and connection with the nonprofit sector as a whole. You’ll find us at fundraising conferences and professional development events. We are organisational members and partners of FIA, FINZ, Philanthropy Australia and Philanthropy New Zealand.

Click on the portraits to read more about each of our team members or scroll down!

       Jo 

Jo-BNE

         Clint       

 ClintNZ

        Ruth

Ruth

   Andrew

AndrewNSW

      Kate 

KSBNE

    Bianca 

BColour

        Craig

 CraigMELB

Karleen

KarleenQLD

      Nancy

NancyVic

       Alissa

Alissa

   Dexter

Dexter1

   

     

 

Clint Dunstan, Grants Strategist, New Zealand

ClintNZ

How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

I have been a client of Strategic Grants for four years and a friend of Jo's for about the same time. Working for Strategic Grants was a natural move for me.

What do you love most about your job?

As a veteran fundraiser, it gives me pleasure to help others in the industry. I love giving back all the knowledge that has been passed to me by others. 

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

Mountain biking and motorsport

Favourite quote?

Never, never give up - Winston Churchill

Credentials and experience

Clint has a diverse professional background that has seen him work in everything from professional rugby to fundraising. This varied background has given Clint a huge professional network, experience in building long term relationships and effective business development skills. Some of Clint’s achievements include working as the High-Performance Analyst for the New Zealand Seven’s team, closing a $2.2 million stadium sponsorship deal, and raising $5.5 million for Wildbase Recovery - a facility for native and endangered New Zealand species. Clint is the current Marketing and Sponsorship Manager for the Bangkok Rugby Seven’s tournament and Development Director for the Kiwi Driver Fund, a fund that helps promising young Kiwi drivers to compete in the Toyota Racing Series.

Ruth Button, Grants Strategist, Auckland

Ruth

How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

A chance meeting with Jo Garner at a Philanthropy NZ event back in 2014 put Strategic Grants firmly on my radar. Having been a Grants Fundraiser for over 10 years the work that Strategic Grants was doing to help organisations develop sustainable grants programmes made perfect sense to me. So, when the opportunity arose to join the Strategic Grants Team I jumped at the chance.

What do you love most about your job?

I love having the opportunity to work with a wide range of charities and funders, supporting different causes both locally and nationally, and to be a part of making a difference to people’s lives through that.  

What besides your job do you love doing the most?
Spending time with my family – I have two very active young children. In my free time I can often be found on the side line at my kids’ soccer matches (trying to not to shout too much), escaping to the beach, learning Japanese and trying very hard to play the guitar in tune.

Favourite quote?
Life is a journey not a destination - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Credentials and experience
Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages, Business & IT
Graduate Diploma in Psychology
Postgraduate Certificate in Education

I have over 15 years’ experience working as a fundraiser in the UK and New Zealand. My work with charities has always involved grants fundraising and I have extensive experience of managing grants programmes from initial planning, application writing through to final grant reporting. I have managed grant programmes of organisations undergoing significant organisational changes from internal restructures to external national mergers. I like to use my knowledge and skills gained through my work to make a positive difference in the community and this position with Strategic Grants, being part of the bridge between grant makers and grant seekers, enables me to do that.

Jo Garner, Director Strategic Grants

Jo-BNE
How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

After stumbling into fundraising in 1994, following completion of a Commerce degree in Marketing and IT, and working two years in hospitality marketing and events, I knew I had found the profession for me! After leaving a fulltime fundraising job with the Mater Foundation in Brisbane to take maternity leave, grant-writing consulting opportunities were presented.

Very quickly I realised that there is far more involved in grants success than just writing an application. In 2009, Strategic Grants was born. I am so proud of the team of equally passionate and exceptionally well qualified people that work together with me to enable nonprofit capacity building and grants success across Australia and New Zealand.
What do you love most about your job?

What can be more inspiring and motivating than having the privilege of working with hundreds of nonprofits, helping them build their capacity and seeing them deliver vital projects to achieve their mission? Whether it be saving the lives of animals, babies, children, or adults, saving our environment or enabling participation in and appreciation of the Arts or sports, for me, going to work every day is both challenging and rewarding. But most importantly, it’s great fun. I feel so lucky, too, that I love my job!

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

Nothing is more important to me in this world than my amazing children, Benjamin and Lucy. They inspire me to be the best person and mother that I can be. Spending time with them, other family and my treasured friends, are my favourite things. I LOVE the ocean. Nothing soothes my soul more than being on, in or by the sea.

It has also been said that I love to party. That may be true…

Favourite quote?
"Live life to the fullest!"
Credentials and experience

BComm (Marketing & IT), CFRE, FFIA.

Jo has written literally hundreds of grant applications and has project managed the development of successful government tenders up to $50M and Social Benefit Bond submissions.  This has included facilitating the project planning process. 

 In addition to strong communication skills, her key experience and strengths lie in the ability to apply strategic thinking and solutions on hearing an NFPs challenges and helping them develop the right solution to build their capacity and sustainability. Jo is a regular presenter and trainer and always receives excellent feedback and evaluation scores for her facilitation of strategic planning workshops and delivery of training and education. 

Jo is also the Australian and New Zealand Ambassador for the IFC (International Fundraising Congress). Check out Jo’s take on IFC here
If you have any enquiries about IFC get in touch with Jo at jo@strategicgrants.com.au


 

Bianca Williams, Grants Strategist, Queensland

BColourHow did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

I have committed the past 13 years of my career working in the not for profit sector through various marketing, fundraising, business development, event management and grant writing roles. Together with a passion for community and my professional experience, I am dedicated to delivering an extraordinary service for Strategic Grants clients.

What do you love most about your job?

Working alongside the nonprofit sector provides insight into the impactful and genuinely charitable initiatives within our community. Contributing to organisations' capacity to deliver these initiatives through funding opportunities is incredibly rewarding, and continues to be my motivation. Being witness to the passion, integrity and dedication of individuals in the sector is truly inspiring.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

Both family and travel play an important role in my life...and if I can mix the two, all the better! Being a mother is a true privilege, of which I love every single moment. Together with my partner, we ride the rollercoaster of parenthood with a high pitched scream of delight!

Travel has been a part of my life since I donned the backpack at age 19 and ventured overseas. Personally, the experience of arriving to a country where every sense is activated, you're engulfed in a language you don’t understand and your concept of culture is totally revamped....is my idea of a phenomenal holiday.

Favourite quote?
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi
Credentials and experience

With a Marketing Degree under my belt, I have had the extraordinary experience of working with a number of charities over the years; including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, MS Queensland, the Mater Foundation, Camp Quality, Youth Enterprise Trust and the Australian Red Cross.

The experience of working in state-based, national and international charitable organisations has provided me with valuable knowledge in how to identify funding opportunities and package project details accordingly to ensure the best possible chance of success.


 

 Craig Hunter, State Manager & Grants Strategist

CraigMELBHow did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

I was working in a large nonprofit organisation managing a team of people who were drowning in spreadsheets, timetables and applications, while also trying to nurture relationships with funders. I thought there must be a better way, and there is. As soon as I came across Strategic Grants, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy working with a variety of organisations who, while very different all share a passion and focus on excelling at what they do and do the best for the groups they help. I love the fact that I can learn more about how groups help homeless people, sick children, the environment or fund medical research. I like knowing if I am interested in the work a nonprofit group does I can pick up the phone and talk to them about what we do to see if we can be a part of their work.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?
I love it when my kids go to bed, the time of the evening we can relax. I love weekends at the beach with my family, summer and winter. I love walking with my wife and boys, that easy conversation that a nice walk brings on. I love riding my bike; it is the only exercise I do. And I like home maintenance and renovations, knocking down walls, rebuilding them, putting in a new kitchen, but I don’t like the painting.

Favourite quote?
The world we see with our eyes is not the whole truth. Dreams and visions are just as real as matter. -Ian McGuire, The North Water

Being a father, having an heir, seem to add an extra dimension to David. - Geraldine Brooks, The Secret Chord

Credentials and experience
I have a Bachelor of Communication with a double major in Journalism and Public Relations. I worked in media, publishing and business development for 20 years before moving into nonprofits. I have worked with small nonprofits, mentored groups for local councils and managed a successful trusts and foundation team within a large aged and disability service provider. I have developed successful grant programs, managed project development and implementation and nurtured funder relationships. I have seen how hard it is and how many resources are used to maintain a successful grants program without the right tools.

 


 

Andrew Thompson, GEMS Manager

AndrewNSW
How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

I had been looking for a new opportunity and my next adventure, specifically around the not for profit sector and when I noticed the job ad, I thought “Wow! That job is me” ! 

When I checked out the Strategic Grants web site, what they do, how they operate and The Team, it got all the ticks and looked like a great organisation to work in … and it is !

What do you love most about your job?

I enjoy assisting people through the clever use of information technology, to enhance their situation. GEM Portal and GEM Local are excellent tools for grant seekers to hone in on the next potential funding opportunity.

I enjoy training people in how to use systems and how to improve their system processes.

I enjoy working with people who are passionate about what they do and why they are there, which is very often the case with people in the not for profit community services spaces.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

That is a long list, but first would be spending time with my wife and our four children. Guiding and loving our children as they grow into adults is the most rewarding experience.

I also enjoy running, bike riding, living close to the beach, swimming in the lagoon, bushwalking, bird keeping, travelling, learning, home renovating, cooking, music, … that’s enough for today!

Favourite quote?
“There was no please or thank you, because we shared everything" ...Aboriginal Elder
 
Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. …. Isaiah 1:17
Credentials and experience

I have had the privilege to work in all sorts of businesses and organisations from large internationals to small associations and even my own consulting business.

Primarily I have worked across information technology, where I enjoy using it as tool for enabling a business to achieve its outcomes.Way back, I attained a Bachelor Degree in Mathematics (Computer Science) and have achieved other professional experience and training since then in project management, community leadership and various IT skills.


 

Dr Karleen Gwinner, State Manager QLD and NT Manager & Evaluation Strategist

 KarleenQLD

How did you arrive at Strategic Grants

By train, today. Ok, literal aside, towards the end of 2017, with the new year approaching, it was time for new ideas, new goals, and to build on my previous achievements in planning, evaluation and development roles. Strategic Grants offered an exciting opportunity to contribute my experience and hands-on knowledge towards supporting significant social and practical outcomes.

What do you love most about your job?
The dogs at work program. It is still early days to really sum up what I love most but, I do like the dynamic team and working across so many important sectors in social, and human services.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

I like to play with messy stuff- frequently paint, clay and also ecological restorations for a small corner of rainforest plateau in south eastern QLD. These activities connect me to the cognitive and symbolic qualities of my experiences.

Favourite quote?

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success. - Pablo Picasso

 "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso

Well that's like hypnotizing chickens...Got a lust for lifeIggy Pop, David Bowie

Credentials and experience

I am interested in peoples lived experiences and how these shape our way of being in the world. I enjoy working creatively with individuals and communities to engage, cultivate opportunities, problem solve and foster a deeper understanding of the world around us. I get a sense of fulfillment in seeing the positive influence different community programs can have for individuals and seeing people thrive as they come to feel they can contribute and belong to communities in ways that are meaningful for them. Over my career I have enjoyed meeting so many different people and learning and sharing their unique stories.

My qualifications are grounded in creative industries, community development and social-health disciplines. I have worked with many NFPs applying my broad training and building a multidiscipline approach to the projets I have been involved in. In 2011, I completed my PhD in Social Work and Human Services, from, Queensland University of Technology. Since I have worked within three university research centres and, facilitated end-to-end proposal development processes for research and practice. I have sound understanding of interdisciplinary grant development and knowledge of the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council and other national and international competitive grants and philanthropic programs.

I bring to the Strategic Grants table understanding of broad methodological perspectives and appreciation of methods to evaluate social practices and policies. My goal at Strategic Grants is to foster strong collegiate and professional relations that engage with the dynamics of community life and play with the social glue that helps individuals and communities to flourish.

 

Read Karleen's blog posts

 Nancy Vaughan, Research & Evaluation Strategist
 NancyVic

How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?
I came to Strategic Grants in January 2018, after eleven years of working in my own consultancy business. In recent years, I had found myself seeking out more grant-seeking and grant-writing work. It combined my passion for information collection and for writing, and provided the added pleasure of helping bring remarkable projects to life.

When I discovered Strategic Grants, I was instantly impressed by their approach to grant-seeking and felt a strong kinship with their work and values. I knew that, for me to be willing to step away from my consultancy and become an employee again, I would need to be working for an extraordinary organisation. Strategic Grants was it. Six months after my initial conversation with Jo, I was offered a full-time position and I couldn’t be happier.

What do you love most about your job?
My job at Strategic Grants is the natural fit for my passions for writing, data analysis, and customer service. I work with amazing people for a progressive organisation that is dedicated to excellence.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

I have always enjoyed writing. The process of writing a short story requires working with a large amount of material then refining it until you have a polished gem. You need an eye for detail, an inquisitive (some would say nosey!) nature and the desire to tell a gripping story.
Drawing is something else I love to do. I also enjoy working in my garden; sharing wine and food with friends, whether it is out on our deck high up in the trees or down at the local; photography; exploring forgotten little country towns; renovating; and hanging around our incredible Cape Paterson beaches! Life is good.

Favourite quote?

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?” - Winnie the Pooh.

Credentials and experience

I have a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Professional Writing and Literature, and a Graduate Diploma (current) in Rural and Regional Planning. Prior to starting at Strategic Grants, I worked in my own consultancy for eleven years, preparing comprehensive population health profiles, project evaluations, funding applications and various other written reports. My experience as a small business operator has taught me many valuable lessons, including the importance of being dedicated to finding solutions for your clients' needs. Just make it happen.

Prior to establishing my consultancy, I worked for a number of different private sector and government organisations, working in lots of different types of roles including: events coordination, account management and community planning. I have also been a committee member and volunteer at a number of community groups over the years and played an active part in developing fundraising strategies and grant-seeking and grant-writing.


Kate Sunners, Communications and Evaluations Strategist

KSBNE
How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

At the end of a period in 2014 studying development and policy in Amsterdam I was searching for meaningful work that would utilise my passion for writing, research and social good. I’d previously worked in copywriting, independent bookstores and marketing, and the best part of any of my jobs had been my involvement with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and community projects like 'Books to Floods' through Riverbend Books. Always a student, I wanted a role that would let me learn more about the impact of nonprofits and social change.

What do you love most about your job?

When I first started at SG and was introduced to the GEM Portal and Grants Calendars, I was amazed at how any nonprofit could effectively perform grant seeking without them. I wanted to tell everyone about it. I get to do that every day.

For someone who willingly spends all her free time writing, and is convinced that everything in life is a narrative, spending time getting a grant application just right through writing or editing is a heavenly job!

I also love the SG team (past and present), they’re all pretty wonderful humans.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

Tiny houses, reading, political philosophy, qualitative research, gardening, volunteering with the Pyjama Foundation and Community Plus+. Perfect weekends are spent playing board games with friends (capital N nerd), hiking in Queensland’s extraordinary rainforests or camping in the bush. Also love other people’s pets.

Favourite quote?

“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” – W. I. Thomas and D. S. Thomas

 
“People are just people, people are just people, people are just people like youuuuuu” – Regina Spektor
Credentials and experience

Kate has a Bachelor of Fine Arts: Creative Writing Production and a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Development Studies and minoring in Social and Public Policy. She has spent her work years variously as a freelance travel copywriter, manuscript assessor and book reviewer, a bookseller (yes, it is as dangerous to your bank account as you think it is) and a marketing assistant.

Read Kate's blog posts


 

Alissa Bermingham, Research and Administration Officer/GEM Tutor

Alissa

How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

I started at Strategic Grants back in 2014, assisting with research work over a couple of months. Over the past three years, I have provided support to the Strategic Grants research team on and off before coming on board in 2017 as a Research Assistant.

What do you love most about your job?

First and foremost, I love the environment and wonderful people that I get to interact with at Strategic Grants. Apart from that, I love that my job involves so much opportunity for learning; every day, I discover new things about the world of philanthropy and grants, not just in Australia and New Zealand, but all over the world. It is also wonderfully satisfying to see how the work we do, particularly in terms of maintaining our detailed grants database, benefits our clients.

What besides your job do you love doing the most?

So many things! Spending as much time with family and friends as possible, and trying to break the world record for the most dogs petted in a lifetime. Outside of SG, I’m a classical singer, studying under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed soprano Sarah Crane at the University of Queensland, and I’m also a private music teacher.

Favourite Quotes

When the curtain rises, the only thing that speaks is courage. – Maria Callas
To sing is an expression of your being, a being which is becoming. – Maria Callas
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Credentials and Experience

I have a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Music Performance.

Dexter Garner, Chief Whip

Dexter1

How did you arrive at Strategic Grants?

Dexter Garner narrowly avoided the fate of becoming a lapdog, and after studying for many years in the school of life decided he wanted a change from his regular job of bowl pushing, barking and cavorting, and spoke to his owner Jo about positions available within Strategic Grants.

After beating a local brushtailed possum for the position of Chief Whip, Dexter (Dexy to his friends and those who drop ham from the lunch table) diligently took up position as Chief Whip. His official duties at the office include sleeping in random handbags, snapping at flies, de-stressing employees by being fluffy and startling everyone with the occasional bark.

Favourite Quote
"The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack" - Rudyard Kipling
Credentials and Experience

Dexter secured this job based entirely on the strength of nepotism, however he does have experience in being a dog, which is an invaluable perspective when Strategic Grants is working with animal welfare clients. 


 

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