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 when 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 ten-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.


Woodlawn School

Back-to-back record years

In 2015 and 2016, I led the most successful Annual Fund drives in Woodlawn School history -- in both participation percentage and dollars raised. In the first year, the dollar goal was exceeded by 25.6 percent in only six months.

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

Making Notes

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

Coffee and Magazines


"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

Laptop & Coffee

let's get started

Relax; you've got this! Send me some details about your fundraising needs, and we'll come up with a plan for success.

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