Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Grants staff posing in front of brick wall in black and white

Vanessa WoodVanessa Wood, Interim Director of Grants Development

Vanessa began working at PCC in May 2008 as a Grants Officer. In her time at PCC she has written grants to the US Departments of Education, Labor, the National Science Foundation, local and state entities such as Worksystems, Inc. As a Grants Officer, Vanessa brought in over $17.5 million in funding for the College. In February 2014, she became the Interim Director. Twenty-five grants requesting over $12.5 million have been submitted since she became the Interim Director; $2.25 million was received, while $6.6 million is still pending.

Prior to coming to PCC, Vanessa worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest as the Associate Director – Foundation Support from August 2006 through December 2007. While at BBBS, she wrote successful proposals to United Way of the Columbia Willamette, US Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, PGE Foundation, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.

Vanessa has a B.A. in Communications and Global Studies from Pacific Lutheran University. She received certification as a Grants Specialist from the National Grant Writers Association in August 2003.

Michelle DuBarryMichelle DuBarry, Grants Officer

Since joining Portland Community College in 2009, Michelle has led the development of more than $6 million in funded proposals from federal, state, local, and private funders. Prior to joining PCC, she worked on a variety of grant-funded health research projects supported by public and private sources including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and several government agencies. Her experience also includes 2 years writing grants for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, the pediatric arm of Oregon Health and Science University, where she secured more than $1.3 million in private funding for the hospital. Michelle has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Portland State University and a B.A. in Political Science from Montana State University.

Bonnie HesterBonnie Hester, Grants Officer

Prior to joining Portland Community College, Bonnie worked as a grants consultant for large non-profit organizations and school districts as a writer, researcher and fundraiser. Bonnie has secured grants from public agencies such as the US Department of Education, US Department of Health and Human Services, and the US Department of Labor, as well as from local and state agencies in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, and Washington. She has written successful grant proposals to numerous private and corporate foundations. Prior to joining PCC, Bonnie was a high school teacher and administrator for a school for at-risk youth and a part-time faculty at Seattle Community College in Washington. She has a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Education from the University of Tulsa.

Dani DennenbergDani Dennenberg, Grants Specialist

Before making a transition into higher education, Dani worked in the non-profit sector for 15 years. She delivered innovative, integrated (animal, planet, social justice, consumerism and media literacy and service/civic engagement-based) educational programming to K-12 classrooms. She has been featured nationally and internationally as a speaker and specializes in workshops and trainings for community leaders and adult learners, group facilitation and partnership development and volunteer management.

Dani has a knack for pioneering ahead-of-the curve initiatives such as Seeds for Change, an organization she founded. She wrote grant proposals to a private foundation that helped the organization thrive from 2000 – 2008. While with H.E.A.R.T Portland, she co-wrote a successful proposal to the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, which led to the delivery of an innovative environmental education program at Grant High School. She also helped manage a grant from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

Dani holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s degree in Education from Cambridge College. She is the first person in the United States to graduate with a specialized degree in Humane Education.

Nikko BaraquioNikko Baraquio, Post-Award Grants Officer

Nikko’s primary role as the Post-Award Grants Officer is to provide grant management assistance to PCC Project Directors and grant staff. Prior to joining Portland Community College, Nikko worked at the City of Gresham and the Pacific Health Research Institute in Hawaii. Nikko has a Master's Degree and B.A. in Sociology from University of Central Missouri.

Jill GearJill Gear, Grants Officer

Jill has been involved in resource development for several decades, raising funds for education, healthcare, and arts organizations. Within post-secondary education, she has worked at a major research institution, a private four-year university, and a two-year college. Her favorite, by far, has been the collaborative work she’s been involved in with the two-year college sector. Past initiatives that she’s led include career pathways for advanced manufacturing and healthcare careers, economic development projects, strategic planning, and self-assessment for college accrediting bodies.

She has written grant proposals to private and corporate foundations, and state and federal programs, and has had projects funded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Ohio Department of Development, National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Labor, among others.

Jill has a B.A. in history from Purdue University, and an M.A. in Education from The University of Findlay (Ohio).

Photo credit: Djambel Unkov