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Writer. Strategist. Rainmaker.

Fundraising strategist bringing big-picture vision to research, project management, collaborative leadership, written communications, development planning, and more. The result: award-winning content; exceptional project design, management and delivery; happy teams (internal and external)... and tens of millions of dollars in new revenue.


hello! i'm karen

I have worked on "both sides of the table" when it comes to fundraising: as a grants officer for a family foundation and as a volunteer philanthropist for an Impact Fund; and also as a grant writer, media relations coordinator, social media coordinator, and individual fundraiser for various nonprofits.

I have advised hundreds of nonprofit executives, managers and volunteers--in workshops, in small-group sessions, and one-to-one--with regard to the successful strategies needed to help others understand what you do, why your work is so important, and how they can support your efforts.

People listen when I talk, because I speak only after I have given careful thought to an issue, considered the options and outcomes, and reached a possible resolution--or two. I make sure every word is the most appropriate for the situation, and ensure that the finished product is something of which all stakeholders can be proud.


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DAvidson College

Ada Jenkins Center

Blumenthal Performing Arts

$45 million - its largest gift ever

Leadership during COVID-19

$100,000 in event sponsorship

I wrote the grant documentation and assisted with presentations for Davidson College's largest gift ever: $45 million from The Duke Endowment for construction and renovation to campus buildings to create a more vibrant academic environment.

As Director of Development, I led the effort to raise $200,000+ in individual gifts immediately when COVID hit our community; helped secure $750,000 in Federal CARES Act funding; and raised a record $300,000 during the fall fundraising campaign.

I wrote the grant documentation that resulted in The Leon Levine Foundation's sponsorship of the 2016 and 2017 Charlotte Jazz Festivals, featuring the critically acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra under the leadership of musical director Wynton Marsalis.


Davidson college

KIPP Charlotte

Alexander Youth Network

$14.6 million per year

$500,000 to support K-8 academics and KIPP Through College programming

$384,135 for children's mental health treatment

During my 11-year tenure as Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at Davidson College, I managed the relationships that led to an annual average of $14.6 million in grants from private and community foundations, corporations, and religious and other organizations.

KIPP Charlotte initially sought a part-time staff member to write grant proposals for the school. Instead, the school saw savings by hiring me as a contractor--and secured external funding of $500,000 in grants for KIPP Charlotte's academic programs and capital projects.

As the designated Grant Writer for Alexander Youth Network, I helped seek and secure grants for crucial treatment and services for children with emotional and behavioral problems.


areas of expertise

Grant Proposal Planning and Writing
Prospect Research
White Papers, Brochures, and other Collateral
Annual Fund Planning and Implementation
Strategy and Planning
Campaign Materials
External Marketing and Communications

Media Relations / News Releases
Social Media
Targeted Email Campaigns
Volunteer Management
Web Content
Project Management


Selected Clients

Nonprofit Organizations

A Child's Place
Ada Jenkins Center
Alexander Youth Network
Blumenthal Performing Arts
Davidson College

FeedNC (formerly Mooresville Soup Kitchen)
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

KIPP Charlotte
Marvin Academy
Novant Health Foundation - Presbyterian
     Medical Center
Project Life Movement
United Methodist Foundation of Western North     

Corporate Communications / Publications

Charlotte Home Design

Charlotte Magazine

Charlotte Observer

Creative Loafing Charlotte

The Duke Endowment

Kiawah Island Club

Lowe's Companies

Today's Charlotte Woman

USAirways Magazine


“Karen has a remarkable ability to communicate with grant-seekers and grant-makers at every level… from the true novice to the subject-matter-expert. It’s for this reason and many others that we turn to Karen to lead our Grant Writing Seminars year after year. Karen’s passion is obvious as is her wisdom and tenacity. It’s no wonder she’s been such a successful fundraiser for more than 20 years.”
-- Caroline Cox, Director of Reynolds Ministries and Programs, United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc.

“Karen Martin retooled our language in all of our grant proposals that ultimately secured over 120% increase to expand our services. She is an extraordinary writer and editor and knowing Karen is there to support the Ada Jenkins Center in not only this way, but in many ways gives us so much confidence in our work going forward. Karen is so experienced, she is flexible, timely, and quick to respond to adjustments throughout the application process and most importantly trustworthy. Working with her continues to be an enjoyable experience.  It is such a pleasure to work with such an amazing talent who has such a big heart for the people we serve."
-- Harold Rice Jr, Chief Executive Officer, Ada Jenkins Center

"Karen Martin wrote a grant proposal that secured the largest project that Blumenthal Performing Arts has received during my tenure. She is an extraordinary writer. But more importantly, she provided spot-on insights based on her decades of experience, and she was flexible, timely, and quick to respond to adjustments throughout the application process. Working with her was enjoyable. How often can you say that when working on a comprehensive grant proposal?"
-- Cindy Rice, former Vice President of Development, Blumenthal Performing Arts

"I have worked with Karen on many collaborative grant proposals, and can recommend her work highly. Karen deeply researches each funding source so she understands the best path to success. She knows how to establish rapport with funders and can shape ongoing conversations that lead to long-term institutional relationships. Her grant writing is direct and compelling. She listens carefully and speaks judiciously, making her a pleasure to work with. Karen’s judgment, formed from deep experience, will guide you to the right funder, help you form fruitful relationships and ensure your project or program is funded."
-- Judith Romano, Director of Grants & Research Administration, Furman University

"(As a contractor) Karen is an integral member of KIPP Charlotte’s Development team.  Our fundraising success is largely due to her efforts. Karen brings a unique skill set to our team; a skill set we couldn’t live without. Karen’s writing is top-notch, but more importantly, her strategic guidance takes us the next level. We are so grateful for everything she’s accomplished for the students and teachers of KIPP Charlotte.”
-- Heather Moeller, Director of Development, KIPP Charlotte

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