The Grant Lab team is passionate about advancing client missions. With a collective 40+ years of grant development experience, the team pursues excellence in bolstering financial support to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion; educational opportunities for underserved students; economic development; rural communities; and workforce development in Oregon and beyond, securing more than $100 million in grants from public agencies, private foundations, and corporations.
Our team has worked with universities, community colleges, nonprofits, K-12 school systems, and private foundations in leadership positions and as consultants. We have a wide array of experience with federal, state, and foundation grants, including writing, facilitating, planning, administering, and peer reviews. See more about the team members below.
Susan Taylor is a small business owner, mom, and active community volunteer. She founded The Grant Lab in 2021 following 18 years of successful leadership in nonprofits, higher education advancement, and public service with a specialty in elevating grant development and fundraising strategy. As executive director of nonprofits in Roseburg and Burns, Oregon, she was known for her collaborative work style, visionary understanding of organizational strategy, and using an entrepreneurial mindset to achieve missions. Taylor holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Montana and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She is a Fulbright Scholar and a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum of Oregon.
A Jacksonville, Oregon resident, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her kids, reading, rowing, traveling, and wine tasting.
Aaron Shonk has more than two decades of experience as a grant writer, fundraising professional, and capacity-building consultant. He has worked on several projects of national significance, including philanthropy for a wave energy conversion testing site off the Oregon Coast and innovative distance educational models.
Shonk excels at navigating the complexities of clients’ needs to arrive at stronger solutions through incremental and transformational funding. Past employers and clients include multiple K-12 school districts in California; community colleges in Oregon, Washington, and other states; four-year universities (OSU, Stanford, and Chaminade); and multiple nonprofit organizations.
Shonk holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from UCLA; a Master of Arts in English Literature from California State University, Sacramento; and an MBA from Arizona State University. He is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
Jim Carlile has been writing and editing professionally for more than 20 years. He worked as a newspaper reporter in Alabama, Maine, Oklahoma, and Washington state, and edited a D.C.-based magazine with a circulation of 1.5 million readers for 15 years. He lives in La Plata, Maryland with his wife and two dogs.
Hannah Hawkins, a grant writer and communications specialist, is dedicated to helping others while seeking personal and professional growth. She was Managing Editor of the Umpqua Community College newspaper from 2012-14 while balancing a full academic schedule and playing on the UCC Women’s Basketball team. Hawkins graduated from the University of Hawaii Hilo in 2015 while also working for the college newspaper as Assistant EIC and Sports Editor of Ke Kalahea.
She has been serving in the Army National Guard (Oregon and Hawaii) since 2013 with the majority of her time spent as a Mass Communications Specialist, covering various military exercises abroad as a photo and broadcast journalist. Upon graduating as Distinguished Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Defense Information School in 2021, she deployed to support Special Operations Forces in Europe which lended to visiting 20 countries in 9 months from 2021-22.
A bit of a wandering spirit, she enjoys traveling, playing roller derby, deep conversations, and writing letters to others.