Our Team

Our Trainers


Johna Rodgers

Johna Rodgers, GPC works with organizations of all types and sizes for 25+ years. A specialist in federal grants, she has secured more than $200 million for schools, educational groups, and  nonprofits. Johna is a nationally-recognized trainer and joined GWUSA in 2013. She works ceaselessly to improve grants and the grants profession for employees, consultants and the public. She is a member of the GPA Board of Directors, currently serving as President. She is also an original Grant Professional Certified (GPC, 2008) and former Board Member of the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, which provides the nation’s only nationally certified credential in grants.


Ericka Harney

Dr. Ericka Harney, CFRE, GPC, CAE, CVA has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management. She has raised over $34 million in donations and grants. She is a grant reviewer, co-founded a social enterprise, and was an executive director. At Harney & Associates, Ericka serves a variety of clients around the country. She also owns Brick City Books, an online used book business, is CEO of the Murphy Family Literacy Foundation, and is Assistant Professor at Future Generations University. Ericka’s PhD is in Organizational Leadership, with a concentration in Nonprofit, from Eastern University.


Becky Crump

Becky has worked with hundreds of grant applications, including state, federal, foundation, and corporate, for nonprofit, postsecondary, and K12 institutions. She teaches grant writing and management courses for the University of Louisville Executive Education Program, leads groups in strategic planning and is a presenter at national conferences. She has served on over 20 federal, state, and local grant review panels. Grant Professional Certified since 2010, She is a GPA Approved Trainer and a Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation board member.


Sudie Barrineau

An accidental grant writer, Sudie Barrineau was hooked since her first award letter. It was then she discovered the power of grants that enable people to do good work. Her first grant award from a local foundation ignited a spark that has led to the pursuit of polishing her grant skills through mentorships, extensive research, and real life experiences. She has since secured millions of dollars in competitive grant awards from a variety of sources to include federal, state, and local governments, as well as private foundations such as the MacArthur Foundation.


Jason Adkins

Jason is the Chief Executive Officer for the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, an education support agency that serves 15 school districts, over 250 schools, and over 155,000 students. Since 2008, he has raised over $125 million in competitive grants and donations. In 2017, he earned the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) credential. He is a member of the Grant Professionals Association, a regular presenter at GPA conferences and webinars, and the past president of the Kentucky GPA chapter.


Cecilia Peredo

Cecilia Peredo has been a grant professional supporting the missions of national organizations, universities, local governments, and nonprofits for over 20 years. She has been awarded federal grants while working at the University of Louisville in addition to national, local, and community foundation grants while working at national, regional, and local non-profits. She has been awarded multiple Community Development Block Grants helping cities, towns, and counties to secure funds for infrastructure projects such as sewer, storm water, fire stations/trucks, community centers, and water towers.


Timothy J. "TJ" Hansell

TJ is a seasoned grant professional with extensive experience that enables him to bring real world experiences into the conversation. These experiences were gained over his professional career that has spanned more than 15 years at various Federal, Tribal, State, Local, non-profit, and for-profit organizations. Not only has he worked at every level within the grant sector, his roles have been exhaustive and include: CEO of 501(c)(3), board member for multiple foundations and nonprofits that include several with endowments, auditor, grant writing, manager, administration, grant maker, grant reviewer, and more.


Jennie Miller

Jennie has been working in the nonprofit sector for 25 years. Her company, JAM Nonprofit Consulting LLC, supports organizations in the arts, health care, education, human services, and youth development, primarily in grant writing. She sits on the national board of the GPA and has been Grant Professional Certified (GPC) since 2012. In addition, Jennie teaches grant writing in Arizona State University’s graduate Nonprofit Leadership and Management program. She has a BA in Communication from UC San Diego, and a MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University.


Rhonda Poppen

Rhonda began her grant writing career in the spring of 2009 as a result of a two-day Grant Writing USA workshop in Columbia, South Carolina. Since that time, her experiences as nonprofit board member, town council member, and civic organization leader have driven her desire to write compelling narrative that conveys community needs. Rhonda began her career writing youth development, food security, and cancer recovery grants for a YMCA association in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. Rhonda holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Arlington. A lifelong learner, she began studying for the Grant Professional Certification in the winter of 2020, shortly before the onset of the pandemic. What turned into a yearlong process of collaborative learning in the grants community has translated to a deeper appreciation for the art of grant writing.


Ellen Withrow

Ellen Withrow, MS, GPC, served for more than 25 years as the Grants, Research, & Development Coordinator for the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU), an educational service agency in rural Pennsylvania. While at the CSIU, she attained over $150 million in federal, state, and local funding for early childhood education, K-12 and afterschool programming, school safety and security, populations who are at-risk, workforce development, and more.

Ellen is a member of the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) and serves as a GPA Mentor to other grant professionals. In June 2022, Ellen founded Grant Edventures, LLC. She has also had careers as a Multimedia Designer and a Congressional Legislative Assistant. Ellen enjoys volunteering, traveling, reading (lots of audiobooks!), playing Pickelball, quilting, and…”bad puns are how eye roll!”


Mara Gerst

Mara Gerst, CFRE, GPC, ACNP, has been involved with the nonprofit sector as a grant and fundraising professional, adjunct professor, and volunteer for more than 25 years. Her professional experience includes grant writing, fundraising, grants assessments, sponsorships and recognition, donor stewardship, and budget development. Since 2010, she has helped raise more than $65 million in grant funding from federal, foundation, and corporate sources. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, Grant Professional Certified, a Lifecycle Capacity Consultant, and an Advanced Certified Nonprofit Professional and the founder of Gerst Grants & Nonprofit Consulting.


Dana Patterson

Dana (she/her) works with nonprofits at all stages (from $100K – $100+ million operating budgets). She is a Director of Development at Kidango and started grants consulting in 2017. Dana firmly believes each award she’s helped secure, ranging from $500 – $20,000,000+ is significant to each organization.

Dana serves as a board member for the Grant Professionals Foundation and the treasurer for the Grant Professional Association (GPA) Greater Bay Area Chapter. She is a co-author of the 2021 peer-reviewed Journal of the GPA article, “Ethical Grant Language from a Historical Perspective” exploring how language surrounding American philanthropy from the 1700’s to today can harm or support communities. In 2022, Dana was honored as one of five Outstanding Young Professionals by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


Stephen Smartt

Experienced grant writer and grants manager for federal, state, and local government grants, as well as corporate and private foundation grants. Distinguished career in research and academic administration in higher education; social science researcher; grant-funded project director; research manager/administrator; university faculty; graduate school associate dean; national leader in research administration; and community arts volunteer. Formerly Associate Dean, Graduate School, and Director of Sponsored Research, Vanderbilt University, with annual volume of approximately 450 proposals, 250 grant/contract awards, and volume exceeding $100 million.


Eileen Goggin-Miller

Eileen has been writing grants since 1998 for non-profits, city/county government, and a large school district. She has been awarded funding from the US Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Justice as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service. Ms. Goggin-Miller was responsible for drafting the county’s $85 million Consolidated Plan in addition to writing many successful state and foundation grants. Ms. Goggin-Miller is experienced in grant management and is certified in Compression Planning.


Dana Schuler Drummond

Dana Schuler Drummond, MA, CFRE, GPC is owner of Sharpshooter Communications, LLC, a freelance public relations and grant-seeking firm. She was the first person in Oklahoma to earn dual certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and a Grant Professional Certified (GPC).
With more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit world, Dana uses her experience
to help clients secure more than $10 million in grants annually – from small requests for
special projects to major multi-year federal proposals. She loves helping clients with
strategic planning, communications, and fundraising research. Dana also serves as an
adjunct professor at Oklahoma State University, teaching classes on nonprofit management and fundraising.

Executive & Marketing Team

Becky Helm | CEO

Becky Helm, MAEd, is Founder, Owner and CEO of Grant Writing USA and Grant Management USA. Started in 1997, Becky’s background in Education (Teacher), Training (Corporate and Nonprofit) , Program Development and Nonprofit Program Management (Child Abuse Prevention, At Risk Youth) led to her passion for bringing grant training workshops to agencies across the country to teach them how to successfully fund their needs, and realize their visions to improve their communities.

Becky credits her amazing team for making Grant Writing USA a continued success over 25 years.


Janet Darling

Janet Darling is the Marketing Director for Grant Writing USA.  Janet has been with Grant Writing USA since 2007 building long term relationships with hosts, clients, and community partners in every state.   Janet has been marketing the grant writing  and grant  management classes across the country for 16 years.  Janet, a Las Vegas native, received her degree in Hospitality from UNLV.  Janet worked at the LVCVA (Las Vegas Visitors Convention Authority) following graduation until she became a part of the Grant Writing USA Team.  Grant Writing USA is grateful for her many contributions, dedication, and tenacity over the past 16 years.  We look forward to many more years of Janet leading the marketing team. 


Tammy Pitts

Tammy Pitts has been with Grant Writing USA since 2007.  Tammy’s background is in human resources and accounting for Lake Meade Hospital and Southwest Gas.  Tammy has worked her way up through Grant Writing USA learning all aspects of the company from data entry, research, administrative assistant, marketing assistant to Marketing Coordinator.  Tammy markets and manages workshops across the country working with hosts, customers, and community partners.    Tammy has worked with new marketing staff to train them and continues to grow in the company.  Grant Writing USA is grateful to have Tammy as a valuable part of the team. 


Delaney Cline

New to Grant Writing USA since October 2022 Delaney Cline has taken on the role of marketing/events coordinator for GWUSA’s Zoom Classes.  Delaney has a background in nonprofit, social services. Delaney has a degree in International Studies from Seattle University, is bilingual in Spanish and hails from the Central Coast of CA.  Delaney has rapidly become an integral part of the Grant Writing USA Team.