Renée Bourque

Renee Bourque comes from a long line of educators. She graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from Seattle University. This academic legacy continues in her role as faculty in the top-ranked Non-Profit Management Program of the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and Governance Graduate School…

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at the University of Washington where she teaches grant writing and philanthropy. Previously, she taught grant writing, prospect research, and finance in the Fundraising Management certificate program at the University of Washington. Renee is a recognized Subject Matter Expert endorsed by the University of South Florida and the Institute for Grant Writing Certification.

Renee is president of Bright Star Grant Consultants, where she serves a worldwide clientele of non-profits, governments, and universities in 21 countries with innovative leadership in highly complex assignments. In finance, she develops diversified and leveraged funding plans that scale with organizational growth. In her role as a strategy expert, she has led local, statewide, and international initiatives related to philanthropy, leadership, human rights, economic development, education, and health care. Renee uses wide-ranging approaches to transform poverty by building resilience with inclusive economy strategies. This work has included multi-country community assessment and development plans in places like the East Africa Hardship Zone, diversified fund and program development in Guatemala, and international organizational scale-ups with Ashoka Fellows. A new area of focus is economic, environmental, and social sustainability in tropical agriculture communities.

Renee works to effect the greatest change possible. Her human rights work has included reproductive rights for East African Maasi girls, human trafficking in the United States, violence against women and children in tribal lands, political refugee systems strategies and federal detention center inmate health advocacy. Bright Star research into community violence and healing has been used as Congressional testimony to shape Federal funding programs at the Department of Justice.

The Bright Star consultancy gives back to the community it serves. Bright Star Philanthropy Partners (BSPP) is a collective impact community development initiative of Bright Star Grant Consultants. BSPP identifies and supports Central American indigenous leaders to realize solutions that they design and execute with assistance from Bright Star collaborations, technical assistance, and grants. Focus areas include leadership and economic development, connecting locally made products to international supply chains, education, publishing original work in indigenous languages, and community pride. Find out more about Bright Star at

Susan Howlett

Susan Howlett has been a consultant to hundreds of nonprofits throughout the United States over the last 23 years, Susan cut her teeth being a board member, executive director, and development director first. She has served for many years as core faculty in the University of Washington Fundraising Certificate Program, where she received their 2004 Award for Teaching Excellence

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She developed the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program at Bellevue College, where she has taught grantwriting, fundraising and board classes for 15 years.

In 2010 Susan wrote “Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully,” published by Word & Raby. In 2004, Susan co-authored Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals with Dr. Mary Hall. In 2011 she and co-author Renee Bourque published the completely revised and updated 5th edition. Acclaimed by users across the country as the definitive text, the book has gained five stars on Howlett has been helping nonprofits raise money joyfully since 1975, as a board member, development director, executive director, freelance grantwriter and consultant. For the last twenty-five years, she has consulted with over 1,000 nonprofit organizations throughout the United States on fundraising, leadership development, and organizational development.

From 1991 to 2001, Susan led the Seattle-based Puget Sound Grantwriters Association, bringing thousands of grantseekers and grantmakers together through presentations, conferences, workshops, and joint projects. Under Susan’s leadership, PSGA grew into the largest association of grantwriters in the country. She worked closely with the regional association of grantmakers, which often had her train new funders how to work with nonprofits. Most of Susan’s current clients are funders who engage her to strengthen the organizations they fund.

Ms. Howlett has served as a grant reviewer with private foundations and public foundations as well as with local, state, and federal government agencies. She was a subject matter expert in the early development of the national Grant Professionals Certification Program.You can learn more about Susan at her website,