Kristin Cooper Carter

Kristin Cooper Carter has over twenty-five years’ experience designing programs, as a grant writer and project manager. Kristin holds a master's degree in program evaluation and administration with a focus on organizational management from CSU, Chico. In 2009 she established Grant Management Associates, a federally recognized Women-Owned, State Certified Small Business in California that specializes in funding identification, grant development, technical writing courses, and strategic planning for corporations, nonprofits and municipalities.


Kristin was a registered lobbyist for three years.  She was instrumental in obtaining a $100M line item in the DOE budget.  She is the past Founder and Director of California State University, Chico’s Environmental Resource Program and was a Full Professor in the College of Engineering. She also started North State Renewable Energy Group, a nonprofit partnership between CSU, Chico, government agencies, businesses, and activists in the Chico, California area which focuses on renewable energy projects on the CSU, Chico campus. 


While in the College of Engineering she as was appointed founding Director of the Concrete Management Program. She has been an expert witness for the State of California’s Attorney General’s office regarding fiscal management issues.  She has served on many non-profit boards and on various committees as an expert in sustainable building design.



Kristin's Certifications

Certified Sustainable Development Practitioner
Association of Energy Engineers


Master Certificate in Concrete Fundamentals
Hanley Wood, World of Concrete

Green Building and Sustainable Design Certificate Program
UC Davis; Land Use and Natural Resources, and Business and Technology coordinated with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Sustainability Performance Metrics
Natural Logic, Short Course Certification on the selection and use sustainability performance metrics and incentives.

Special Certification in Environmental Justice (Train the Trainer), United States Environmental Protection Agency

Edward Ober

Edward Ober is a Los Angeles County, California based grant writer, business consultant and development strategist with a diverse background in marketing, business operations, research, law and political science. In the nonprofit sector during the past five years he has written local, state, federal and private foundation grant applications in numerous areas including education, green technology training, healthcare, immigrant services, migrant farmworker services, housing and social services, resulting in over $15 million dollars in grant awards.


Ed has a wide array of interests including education, new technology and systems development, economic and community development, institutional transformation and accountability, increasing and enhancing democratic participation, civil rights and social justice, and improving access to affordable healthy food and healthcare services. Mr. Ober was responsible for the creation of California SB-8, which became law in 2011-12, improving transparency and accountability within the California State University system. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach.



Vito Palermo

Vito Palermo is an accomplished business executive with extensive experience in computing systems, networking, communications and digital media industries. With 25 years of experience, Vito has 10 years as a C-level executive in leadership roles at public companies. He is experienced in innovative technology startups, rapid growth mid-size companies and multi-billion dollar global organizations. He has analyzed and advised on complex corporate strategies, while driving operations and financial performance towards substantial increases in shareholder value.


Vito is an expert in presenting effective communications to investors, boards of directors, business partners and employees, and gaining valuable support towards short and long term goals. His executive leadership has resulted in the development of companies with annual revenues ranging from $600 million to $2.2 billion, raising approximately $1 billion in private and public equity while creating over $12 billion in shareholder value.


Vito has managed all phases of the company life cycle from startup to multi-billion dollar global businesses. Vito has participated in and led the successful acquisitions and integrations of nearly a dozen private and public companies valued at over $3 billion.


As a business advisor to private equity, venture investments and commercial debt funds he has evaluated and identified opportunities to improve Internet services, Mobile Internet and content delivery businesses through new product introductions, improved business execution, operational efficiencies and plans for expanding into new distribution areas.

Danielle Sotelo

Ms. Sotelo brings over 9 years of experience in grant writing, grant administration and program development for municipalities, educational institutions and non-profits in California and Oklahoma. She has drafted and submitted multiple successful grant applications particularly in the area of law enforcement, motorized and non-motorized transportation, urban greening, alternative fuels infrastructure and education.


Ms. Sotelo holds a BA in International Studies with an emphasis in Political Science and a certificate in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University. She specializes in project management in the area of sustainable and diversified farming to enhance food security and to advance the small farmer. Ms. Sotelo has experience in aiding the growth of small businesses through website design and other creative means of business development. She is committed to securing federal, state and local funding to spur environmentally and socially conscious community development both domestically and internationally. Ms. Sotelo is based in Northeast Oklahoma.

Melissa Uppendahl

Melissa Uppendahl holds a BS in Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, from Saint Mary’s College of California and a Masters of Public Administration from California State University, Chico. Melissa has conducted significant research and evaluation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Western Climate Initiative and cap-and-trade. She has worked with numerous California governmental agencies, private corporations and non-profits to identify federal and state funding opportunities associated with climate change and environmental initiatives. Additionally, Ms. Melissa Uppendahl has over five years recent experience working as a business paralegal, assisting business owners and governmental agencies with legal needs.


Melissa has a strong commitment to social and environmental justice issues. She served as a lead student organizer at Saint Mary's College Center for Social Action and as a student moderator for the This Way to Sustainability Conference V at CSU, Chico. Melissa is based in Portland, Oregon.



Brad Zerbe

Brad Zerbe has been writing grants for over three decades including the fields of education, technology, government licensing, loans and procurement, renewable energy, transportation, animal welfare and others. He served as the coordinator for the state of Arizona’s E-Rate education technology program; director of communications for the state’s information technology agency, and director of communications for Arizona State University’s education technology think tank at SkySong. He drafted the Digital Arizona Council’s 189-page broadband plan.

Brad was the political director for the nation's largest PAC, and has been a registered federal, state and state procurement lobbyist. He was the finance director for the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He has graded grants in national competitions, and served as Chairman and CEO of nonprofit organizations. In college, he competed in debate, finishing second in the nation, and won his school's highest scholarship for leadership.


Ron Perla

Ron Perla is a business consultant, financier, real estate developer and author. He has assisted in the startup of over 30 companies ranging from real estate, finance, energy, electronics, entertainment, and hospitality. Ron has been the managing member of Red Rock Investment Group an opportunity fund specializing in the acquisition, financing and development of undervalued real estate assets and sustainable energy opportunities in the Southwest United States. He was also the managing member of Red Rock Recycling, an advisory firm which lent expertise in the areas of development, site planning, and government relations for renewable energy projects.


Ron was the Chief Underwriter for Markour Funding and Investments, a private lender located in Scottsdale, Arizona and Chief Financial Officer for Scottsdale Canal Development, a development company which assembled, financed, master planned and entitled over 1.2 million square feet of LEEDS certified, mixed use projects in Arizona. Prior to that, Ron managed the commercial loan department for Global Wide Capital, a Mesa based Mortgage Company with over 150 employees. Ron has been involved in loans and development projects totaling over $1 billion.

Dondra Ward

Dondra Ward is a grant writer and reviewer with subject matter expertise in environmental, education, public health, and social services programs. Dondra served as an upper-level analyst, contract manager, and National performance planner in Washington DC for 7 years.  She left the federal government to share her knowledge with organizations that enact social change.


Dondra has a passion for understanding economic inequalities and improving public health. She is an effective communicator and hosts monthly free grant writing training for start-up nonprofits. Her past performance includes New Horizons Supported Services Inc, District of Columbia, AmeriCorps, US Environmental Protection Agency, Nurse Corps, Medical Corps, and USDA. Dondra has a Master’s of Science degree in Biotechnology and has lived abroad in Egypt and the Caribbean.


Tom Carter

Tom Carter has been essential in securing multi-million dollar grants from the U.S. and Australian government organizations and is an expert in the fields of global climate change, sustainability, clean energy, air quality, clean energy technology, environmental justice, and other environment and energy issues. He has taught energy and environmental policy and related subjects at multiple universities.


Tom Carter has over 25 years of experience advocating his clients’ products and positions in the legislative, regulatory, policy, media, and market contexts. After earning a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina, Tom served as executive director and senior vice president in several trade associations and directed international, federal, and state government affairs for sustainable companies. He spent most of his career in Washington, DC, and is now based in Europe where he assists his clients around the world, including in the U.S.

Tom is the European Union (EU) Lead for Grant Management Associates.

Tempra Board

Tempra Board is a Chico, California-based consultant with more than 20 years of experience in grant writing and resource development for nonprofit organizations and municipalities. She worked closely with a collaborative team to develop the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Los Angeles County and co-wrote and designed the 10-Year Strategy to End Homelessness in Butte County. She is experienced in the submission of successful grant proposals to state and federal government entities including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (with a particular focus on Federally Qualified Health Center applications), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), the California Natural Resources Agency, the USDA, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, among many others.


Tempra has extensive experience in developing successful grant proposals to support environmental issues and land protection, transitional housing, mental and physical health services, criminal justice services such as re-entry programs, programs for youth at risk, and programs for people with disabilities. Tempra holds a Master’s degree in Communication Development from Colorado State University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Humboldt State University.

Rebekah Casey

Ms. Casey brings over 10 years of professional experience in technical writing, grant writing, and in program and organizational management for non-profit, for-profit and government entities. She has prepared federal, state and foundation grant applications for a wide variety of sectors. Ms. Casey has substantial grant management experience, which includes the coordination of complex multi-million dollar, multi-year research and construction projects. In addition, she has served as a grant reviewer for the State of California and is current chair of the Butte County Federal Resource Advisory Committee.


Rebekah holds a B.S. in Physics and is completing a master's in Environmental Policy and Planning. She was the 2009 recipient of CSU, Chico’s Rawlins Fellowship and in 2008, a Sustainability Fund Award. She has a broad background in environmental science, community development, and regulatory compliance. Her experience includes facilitating public involvement and government-to-government relations, establishing partnerships and working with clients to develop fundable programs.



Lisa Tadlock

Lisa Tadlock has been working in the human services field for the last 17 years and has over 10 years’ experience as a grant writer, research and program evaluator, program developer, grant reviewer, strategic planning, and event planning. She has worked in the public sector for county Social Services agencies, as well as for UC Davis, The Center for Human Services, and statewide trade associations that advocate, lobby, and implement programs and training for human service providers in the areas of housing, food and nutrition, asset building, workforce development, child welfare, CalWORKs and Community Action.


Lisa has played an integral part in strengthening rural non-profit agencies in the areas of resource development and regionalization of programs. In addition, she has been responsible for implementing T & TA programs throughout the State of California though curriculum development, meeting planning, and online training in the areas of Social Work, leadership, management, supervisory, and soft skills training. Lisa earned a B.A. in Political Science from San Francisco State University. Her M.P.A. is from Golden Gate University.



Mary Ellen Dello Stritto

Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Ph.D. received her doctoral degree in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University where she received extensive training in research design and statistical analysis. She has worked as an institutional researcher, a statistician, statistics consultant, and program evaluator. In addition to her quantitative research skills, she has experience with qualitative data collection and analysis. She has also spent the last 16 years as a professor of psychology.


Mary was the director of the campus women’s center, Abby’s House, at Western Oregon University (WOU) where she managed the resource and referral center, producing educational programs. She is now the Assistant Director of Research at the Oregon State University Ecampus.

PJ Shepard

PJ Shepard has over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry from the university laboratory setting to project management and product marketing. She has participated in writing grant applications for electric vehicle charging systems as well as geothermal, solar and airborne wind energy projects. On behalf of the Airborne Wind Energy Consortium she continues to share promotion efforts for this new renewable energy sector. She has worked in the public, private and nonprofit sectors focused on human and animal health and quality of life.


Ms. Shepard holds a B.S. in Plant Science from UC Davis with Highest Honors, and an A.S. in Electronic Engineering Technology from Heald Engineering College, San Francisco. PJ is highly committed to energy innovation, improving health care related outcomes and the health of our planet pertaining to water, food and energy supplies.



Sybille Guy

Sybille Guy, Ph.D., received her Master’s in Organizational Psychology from California State University at Los Angeles and subsequently her PhD in Psychology with an emphasis on measurement, statistics, and methodology from UCLA. She has served as the leader of a county research department for a number of years, creating and implementing evaluation programs and outcomes research. She has spent over a decade as a market researcher, working for both large and small market research companies, with her last position as VP of Research & Analytics.


In addition to her quantitative research background, Sybille has experience with qualitative analysis and hybrid studies. She previously worked in the Office of Academic Affairs at Washington State University Vancouver as Project Associate Faculty where she conducts special research projects and evaluations. She is now the Director, Center on Research, Evaluation & Analysis (CREA) at The Research Institute at Western Oregon University.

Cecily Harris

Cecily Harris, MBA has over three decades of experience with government agencies, business and community organizations. Her MBA degree focused on strategic marketing and she has an undergraduate degree in Renewable Natural Resources from the University of Arizona. 


Cecily has a strong background in grant and philanthropic funding for parks and open spaces which encompasses capital projects, programs/projects, land acquisitions, and planning. She has raised funds and increased awareness for nonprofits, cities, counties, state and federal agencies, and has deep connections in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with funding, community organizations, and elected officials. She serves on several nonprofit boards, local advisory committees, and a regional special district board and is also a Governor appointed Commissioner to the California Boating and Waterways Commission.


Deborah Dowd

Deb Dowd often leads teams of GMA grant writers on very complicated technical grants. She has an extensive background in federal and state grants in numerous areas. She recently led a GMA grant team on a winning $2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for a utility-scale solar infrastructure project for a Native American tribe.


Elizabeth Christensen

Elizabeth has submitted more than 500 grants to Federal, Foundation and Corporate sponsors in the areas of education, community improvement and social services to transportation, recycling/GHG reduction, immigration, homeland security and the sciences. 


She holds a B.A. in English and a Masters in Public Administration. 

Patty Winter

Patty Winter has been a grant writer for more than 10 years, serving agencies ranging from health and human services to theater and horticulture. She has helped her clients gain funding from governments, corporations, and foundations by conveying key facts and messages succinctly, clearly, and engagingly.


After a successful career in marketing communications, she brought her writing skills to the nonprofit and public sectors. Her previous experience in technical fields (including computers and telecommunications) benefits her current clients by enabling her to converse proficiently with engineers and other technical experts.

Patty holds a B.A. in Communications (magna cum laude) from San Francisco State University and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Grant Professionals Association.

Heather Rhoads-Weaver

Heather Rhoads-Weaver is an experienced grant writer, development consultant and energy market analyst. She has served as a Peer Reviewer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s bi-annual wind energy program and annual operating plans. She has also served as a Development Associate for the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

Heather has a BA in from Wesleyan University in their Science in Society Program, and an M.S. in environmental science from the University of Northern Iowa.

Cindy Talbot

Cindy Talbot is a grant writer specializing in helping small businesses prepare grant applications for federal and state R&D opportunities including SBIR/STTR programs (USDA, NSF, EPA, NASA, and DOE). She helped win a $4 million grant from the California Energy Commission, commercialization of a novel large
battery, and has prepared applications for DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs. In her 9 years’ grant experience in this
effort, she has helped clients in a wide variety of innovative industries including alternative fuel vehicles, nanocellulose-based products, oil and
gas produced water treatment, aquaculture, small- to mid-sized farm support, low-head hydropower innovations, and bio-based small rocket fuels.

Cindy has also supported nonprofits, securing funding for state
energy planning from DOE, small business incubator and startup support assistance from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) and Economic Development  administration (EDA), and state economic development projects. She brings over 20 years of environmental consulting experience. She holds an undergraduate BS in Soil Science from the University of Maine and a MS in Hazardous Materials Management from Tufts University.

Additional team members include: James Coles, Jeff Schwein, and Drumm McNaughton.

Meet the GMA Team

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