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Heather graduated from Murray State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design in 1998 and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership. After working in the design field in Indiana, Florida and New York for approximately five years, Heather and her family decided it was time to move closer to home. This move, along with a major shift in focus, led Heather to begin a career working with communities and their youth.
Heather has dedicated over 15 years to teaching youth, engaging communities, and mobilizing change.
In 2004 she became a Licensed Certified Prevention Specialist by the Kentucky Certification Board for Prevention Professionals. This certification process, allowed her to expand her work with 8 counties in Kentucky assisting them with policy development and the creation of Environmental Strategies. In addition, she conducted community needs assessments, worked on specialized social host ordinances, and wrote extensive grant proposals. Throughout this position, she served as the Vice Chairman of the Kentucky Youth Empowerment System Grant Committee, the Treasurer for the Hardin County Tobacco Free Coalitions, and the Treasurer of the Meade County Drug Free Champions Coalition.
In 2006, Heather continued her grant writing experience and began working for Blue River Services, Inc. as their Program Development Coordinator. Heather was responsible for reviewing and evaluating each of the agency’s programs and submitting Program Evaluation reports to the President/CEO and the Board of Directors. Her primary function, however, was to write the entire agency’s grants including local, community, foundation and federal applications. She was able to partner with the Harrison County Community Foundation to become the grant writer of the W. K. Kellogg Access to Recreation Grant which brought over $411,000 in grant funds to Harrison County. This grant provided numerous accessible improvements to many parks in the county. She held this position from 2006-2008 and again from 2012-2013.
In 2008, Heather chose to expand her prevention and education skills further by becoming an Academic Instructor for the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy (BCA) located on the Fort Knox Army Base. From January 2008 until August 2011, Heather instructed youth in a quasi-military setting; teaching math, reading, social studies and science.
While working at BCA, Heather became one of 4 certified Combat Lifesavers employed at BCA. This course, recognized by the Army Institute for Professional Development, is defined as a bridge between self-aid (first aid) training which is given to all soldiers during basic training and the medical training given to combat medics. The Combat Lifesaver is expected to provide lifesaving measures and to assist combat medics in providing care and preparing casualties.
In November 2013, Heather was offered the Director of Programs position at the Harrison County Community Foundation. Within this position, Heather maintains a myriad of duties. On a daily basis she is responsible for the scholarship program. This includes preparing the annual high school scholarship application for activation, monitoring all the students’ files during the application process and preparing the files and data for the scholarship selection process. Heather coordinates the Universal Scholarship committee which makes the high school scholarship selections, as well as collects all of the necessary data needed for the selection process. Over a hundred and twenty scholarships are awarded annually through this process.
Heather’s job doesn’t stop once the scholarships are awarded. Heather maintains close contact with the recipients ensuring that agreements are signed and turned in on time, bills and receipts are submitted, payments are set up in a timely manner and all files are complete. To date, Heather maintains over 3,000 students’ bills and files dating from 2011 to present.
In addition to the high school students’ scholarships, Heather is also responsible for the Adult Scholarship Program. This program, which has grown tremendously in the last few years, has three rounds of scholarships. Although the numbers of students are lower, the adult recipients can be more time consuming. Adult learners tend to have more questions and hesitance with college therefore Heather attempts to make quarterly contact with each of them to ensure they are still on course for graduation.
Heather is also the Chairperson for the Youth Philanthropy Council. This council is made up of youth 13-19 who are interested in learning more about philanthropy and how to give back to their communities. The group has an annual grant cycle which they are responsible for reviewing applications from and making recommendations to HCCF’s Board of Directors. This group meets monthly from September thru May.
Heather is a Steering Team member for the Harrison County College Success Coalition (CSC) which is responsible for organizing the annual College and Career Fair. Since Heather’s involvement, the event has grown from 80 participants to over 1,000. The coalition also partners with O’Bannon Publishing each year to create the College & Career Prep Guide which is distributed annually through the Corydon Democrat and Clarion newspapers. This booklet is a complete guide for students’ 8th-12th grade preparing for college. The CSC’s overall goal is raise the educational attainment level of residents in the county.
Heather has completed the 3 part, Ship Shape Board Development Certification program hosted by Eric Schmall from the Center for NonProfit Excellence in Louisville and became a graduate of the 2015-16 Leadership Harrison County Class. Recently, Heather was accepted into Murray State University’s graduate program and is currently working towards her graduate certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
Every day, donors transform lives, hearts and minds by investing in the causes they care about. You can transform lives, too, by applying your passion with thoughtful philanthropy. You can give in any amount to any existing fund supporting community needs or to a scholarship fund supporting local students.