Colleen Engelbrecht

Colleen Engelbrecht

Grant Writer

Father Joe's Villages

San Diego, CA USA

Don't let small-minded people crush your dreams.


My road in life has taken me all over.
After I graduated from CSUF, I interviewed at a handful of newspapers and quickly found out that they paid minimum wage. I was hoping to move out and start my adult life, so looked at other jobs.
The education and skills I gathered at CSUF were pivotal in my professional life. With a solid foundation from the college, I had the degree and skills to work anywhere.
When I accepted my first corporate job after college graduation, I told myself I would only do it for one year or until a higher paying newspaper called. Well, I ended up insurance on and off forever.
When I was an undergrad at CSUF, the entire sports department at the Daily Titan was male. But, I liked sports and befriended an editor who helped me with some bylines. Find that friend who will help!
Before the recession, I had a side hustle as a freelancer which paid for my car payments. Having strong writing skills and a "can do" hustle back then really helped me financially and creatively.
Through the years, you would assume that a boss is the "go to" person and mentor. Please forget this. Find that someone to be in "your tribe" and create a new relationship or sounding board.
When I was pregnant with my fourth child, I landed a plum interview with Tony Hawk for the magazine I was working with. I interviewed him in person and totally preggo - 7 months along - but had fun!
My newspaper advisor at CSUF told a potential internship that "I was an average writer." Don't let small-minded people crush your dreams. I have no respect for teachers that don't empower students.
Keep following my journey


High School
Louisville High School, Woodland Hills CA
Communications, News/Editorial
California State University, Fullerton


Grant Writer

I am a storyteller researching and writing grants to end homelessness in San Diego.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Helping People

Day to Day

Our team has a year-at-a-glance calendar, so we are constantly working and looking ahead at deadlines and financial targets. As a writer, you can definitely flex your creative talents in grant writing, particularly with a strong journalism background. To write a compelling story to inspire a potential funder, you as the writer will need to inspire the reader and want them to be interested in your non-profit's mission and programs and commit to providing financial support to continue.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

I learned this just recently after I turned 50 and it really works. If you are interested in doing something, find that person who you want to talk about it and schedule a 15-min time to hash it out. Maybe a coffee or e-mail exchange or brief tour of the company. This has been effective for me as I transitioned from a financial services career to grant writing / non-profit. If you are applying for a job, this won't work. You have to be truly interested in the career with no immediate $$ motive.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Communications, News/Editorial


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"If I wanted to really make that leap and get promoted, I would have had to move out of my area. I was married and had a growing family of 4 kids, I was essentially "land locked" where I was and limited in my full career potential. "

Challenges I Overcame