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The Influential Team

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Heather Macaulay

Founder & Executive Editor


Heather Macaulay dove head first into grant writing in 2010 when she wrote her first proposal to Harvard University's Institute of Coaching - a request that was awarded it's full amount of $40,000.


Since then, Heather served as Director of Development for the Orange County Bureau of Jewish Education for 4 years, raising millions of dollars in annual and estate planned donations before establishing her consulting firm, Macaulay Fundraising, in 2015. In the years that followed, several nonprofit and for profit entities sought her talents for a variety of copywriting and fundraising projects.


As a result, Heather decided to narrow her work's focus to copywriting and grant management, renaming the business INFLUENTIAL as each of her written works are crafted with one core goal: to influence their audience toward achieving her clients' objectives. Heather has served clients in California, Illinois, Delaware, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Hawaii, Arizona, Tennessee, Florida, and New York. 

Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton and completed a year of graduate studies in Educational Psychology at Azusa Pacific University. Heather has received OneOC certificates in Grant Writing and Fundamentals of Fundraising.

An Orange County, California native, Heather moved to North Carolina in 2015 to follow her husband's opportunities in the Compressed Natural Gas Industry. When Heather isn't fundraising for worthy causes, she enjoys cooking, traveling, studying history and languages, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three children.

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CJ Nielsen


A creative writer at heart, CJ received his MFA in poetry from Texas State University in 2021. He is experienced in copywriting and technical writing, and he has a background in education and editing for both English and Creative Writing spaces. In his off-time, CJ continues to follow his creative writing passion. His poems and articles have appeared in Gingerbread House, Porter House Review, Infrarrealista Review, and Write on, Downtown.

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Bonnie Callahan

Grant Writer

Bonnie Callahan (she/her) has a multifaceted career as a musician, educator, writer, and non-profit administrator. 

Ms. Callahan’s research, consulting, and non-profit work focuses on development and addressing systemic inequities within the arts, education, and healthcare. She is currently the Northeastern Regional Coordinator for the MusicLink Foundation, and she consults and serves on the development staff for the Academy of Vocal Arts, Rising Tide Music and Arts, and the Atlantic Brass Band. Additionally, she is the Research and Development Assistant for AK Artist Management, a small arts management company. Ms. Callahan also serves as a grant writer for Manhattan Grant Writers, Influential Writings, and ASAP, and writes for the Product Review column of the International Trumpet Guild Journal.

Ms. Callahan holds a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance and Orff Level I Certification from West Chester University and bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Rowan University. Ms. Callahan maintains an online private lesson studio and creating educational resources for teachers. She performs regularly with the Atlantic Brass Band, Orchestra Concordia, and the Atlantic Trumpet Ensemble, of which she is a founding member.


Cyndie Kramer
Grant & Content Writer

Cyndie Kramer has always had a desire to help create great communities, and she believes that one of the keys to a great community is great communication.


Cyndie holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Geography and Urban & Environmental Studies from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She has served as a Community Planner and Director of Planning for over 24 years, in communities in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and now Florida. From plans and ordinances, to grant applications and RFPs, to newsletters, social media and websites, all of Cyndie’s roles in planning have been centered around writing and communication. 


Outside of her professional experience, Cyndie also has over 20 years of personal experience in genealogy research, which led to her recently being a contributing author in two published anthologies, telling the stories of her ancestors. She enjoys using this combination of analytical thinking and creative writing to help organizations effectively tell their stories to prospective funders, so they can increase the impact they have on their communities through their programs.


When she’s not working, Cyndie continues to help others with their genealogy research, and she and her husband are enjoying meeting people and exploring their new surroundings in Sebring, Florida.


Joy Pope
Grant Writer

Joy Pope has been working in Atlanta’s nonprofit space since 2017–in program development, fundraising, and grant writing. She is currently a grant manager responsible for developing and managing corporate, foundation, and government grants. She enjoys using storytelling to help improve the lives of people in need. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the Decatur Book Festival, one of the largest independent book festivals in the country. This put her in touch with New York’s major publishers and their authors–a pretty jazzy experience for a bookworm. Her happy place is when she’s reading a long novel and trying to figure out how it works. For a hobby, she writes vignettes and short-form personal essays, playing around with narrative timing and language until the work evokes the experience she is writing about. She holds a dual-genre MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Liberal Studies MA from the St. John’s College Great Books Program, and a BA in English from the University of Oregon.


Josh McKinley
Grant Writer

Josh McKinley is a Miami native who decided to finally utilize his English Literature degree from the University of Florida after having spent 2 decades working in the bar and restaurant industry.  Since this pivot, he has written grants and developed grants programs in multiple sectors including: immigration legal services, the arts, health care, social services, homelessness, food insecurity, health equity, Haiti relief, mindfulness training, and local, state, and federal grants. He holds certifications in Grant Writing from the Cornerstone Foundation and Grant Writing USA.

A writer at heart, Mr. McKinley enjoys a challenging read and has finished and understood most of Ulysses, Remembrance of Things Past, Gravity’s Rainbow, Infinite Jest, and has twice read but barely understands Finnegan’s Wake.  You can usually find him reading (obviously), while cooking something crazy delicious and listening to his extensive vinyl collection.  If the weather’s right he’ll be gardening or golfing, not necessarily in that order.

He is a recent transplant to North Carolina along with his gal, Amy, and their two cats Max & Harvey.

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