About

About The Center

The West Virginia Grant Resource Centers assist communities and other eligible applicants in developing competitive grant applications.

With a center in both Huntington and Morgantown, we serve all 55 counties with special consideration given to the distressed counties identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission to increase equity across the state.

Our focus is on the pre-award process to help eligible applicants identify funding opportunities, put together competitive proposals, and submit complete application packages.

The West Virginia Grant Resource Centers assist communities and other eligible applicants in developing competitive grant applications.

With a center in both Huntington and Morgantown, we serve all 55 counties with special consideration given to the distressed counties identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission to increase equity across the state.

Our focus is on the pre-award process to help eligible applicants identify funding opportunities, put together competitive proposals, and submit complete application packages.

Staff
Meet the Team
Brittany Bruce is a Projects Manager at the Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC). Bruce has helped oversee larger community projects and events. One of these projects includes the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia and its annual Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference. This conference celebrates southern West Virginia successes and allows attendees to share best practices and to connect and network with government officials, community leaders and higher education experts. She also is the lead planner for the #WVSolutions Seekers Student Leadership Conference that identifies a cohort of young leaders who can inspire service, leadership and innovation in other young West Virginians, thus encouraging our state’s brightest to invest their time and talent here at home. She is a seasoned project coordinator and serves as an event planner and performs administrative support and community outreach to build lasting partnerships for MURC and the University.

Born and raised in West Virginia, Bruce is committed to staying in the state and helping grow our workforce and strengthen our communities. She is a 2018 graduate of Marshall University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is currently working on her master’s degree in Leadership Studies for Non-Profits and Public Agency. She resides in Huntington with her husband John and sons, Tate and Eli.

Emily Brammer was born in Huntington, West Virginia, where she later attended Marshall University. Interested in the power of storytelling, Emily earned her degrees in Communication Studies (MA), English (BA), and History (BA). While pursuing her education, she gained experience writing about cultural and historical sites across Appalachia and teaching others to use their voice about what they find important. Emily worked as a technical writer, adjunct professor, and grant writer before joining the West Virginia Grant Resource Center. Now, she uses the skills she has learned from her education and experience to help communities, organizations, and individuals in West Virginia develop their own grant-writing capabilities.

Dr. Liz Vitullo, is co-managing this statewide effort, she holds a dual role at West Virginia University serving as the Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives at the John Chamber’s College of Business and Economics and the Assistant Vice President of Economic Innovation. Liz brings experience in economic development, grant writing, higher education, and community outreach. She supports special projects and initiatives for the University and is well positioned to connect WVU resources into this effort.

She is passionate about education and serves as the Coordinator of the Healthcare MBA program. Prior to her current role, Vitullo managed the portfolio of graduate programs in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, launching its nationally ranked online MBA beginning which led to the creation of subsequent nationally ranked online master’s programs and other specialized programs for national guardsmen and corporate offerings. She was part of the inaugural cohort of IDEA fellows at WVU and served as the Dean of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship.

Vitullo received her PhD and MBA from WVU and her undergraduate and MS degree from the University of Toronto. She has served as an adjunct faculty in entrepreneurship, marketing and management and has published in several areas. She lives in Morgantown with her husband, two daughters and son.

Carmen Bowes is a West Virginia native and holds a dual role as a Grants and Research Coordinator supporting the West Virginia Grant Resource Center and the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. Carmen has experience seeking and winning funding from multiple agencies and has managed grants and post-award compliance for WVU HSC Office of Research and Graduate Education and non-profits including WV Women Work. With her master’s degree in education and her grants and research experience, Carmen aims to improve the quality of life for West Virginians and to make the state a better place to live, work, and play. To accomplish this, she is focused on the management, research, writing, and reporting of funding opportunities in the fields of outdoor recreation infrastructure, community development, and economic development. In her free time, you can find her exploring the outdoors or renovating historic homes.

Priscila Santos serves as the Director of the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers – WVU Office and collaborates with the leadership team to provide administrative and organizational oversight of projects, staff, and activities, manage a diverse portfolio of grant applications, and provide grant writing, proposal development, and other technical assistance services to applicants. Priscila brings expertise in grant writing, economic development, policy analysis, project management, and proposal development.

Priscila is also a Research Scholar with Startup West Virginia — an office focused on operationalizing WVU’s mission, advancing prosperity, and supporting economic transformation in West Virginia. As a Research Scholar, Priscila formulates and writes grant proposals and prepares application packages for funding opportunities provided by private foundations, the Economic Development Administration, Small Business Administration, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other funding agencies, analyzes and interprets data to inform research, proposals, and publications, including for the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and builds capacity and provides bandwidth for entities across the state to launch and advance transformational economic development initiatives.

Together with the Startup West Virginia team, Priscila has helped to raise millions of dollars to fund economic development projects in the state. Priscila has also authored and co-authored several publications focused on workforce barriers and economic development issues in West Virginia. Prior to joining Startup West Virginia, Priscila was a Research Scholar with West Virginia Forward and was responsible for carrying out policy analysis, in collaboration with state, business, and university experts, and advancing community and economic development projects based on a shared blueprint of nonpartisan, data-driven recommendations.

Previous to her work at West Virginia Forward, Priscila was a Legislative Analyst and Committee Clerk for the West Virginia Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Priscila graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Shawnee State University and a master’s degree in Political Science from Marshall University.

Sara Payne Scarbro, Associate Vice President for Government Relations at Marshall University, is the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) and oversees all administrative, fiscal, and process related activities for this funding. Sara brings expertise in the development and strengthening of Marshall’s relationships with communities and organizations across the state, and she has experience leading federal projects. She is an expert communicator who has been recognized by her peers for her public excellent relations and leadership skills. Honors include West Virginia Public Relations Practitioner of the Year Award in 2010; 40 under 40 Generation Next young professionals award 2013; West Virginia Young Guns in 2022; and a graduate of the highly competitive ARC’s Appalachian Leadership Institution in 2022. As a lifelong West Virginia, Sara has spent most of her career in public service at the state and federal levels. She brings intense passion for her home state and its people. She is married to her college sweetheart Derek, and they have one daughter.

Morgan Saunders is the Co-Director of the West Virginia Resource Center employed through the Marshall University Research Corporation. With a bachelor’s degree in K-12 special education, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and a Certified Grant Writer through the American Grant Writer’s Association, Ms. Saunders brings extensive background knowledge in education, administration, grant writing, implementation, reporting, data, and analytics. In her previous role she served as the Grants Officer for the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College. Within that role she secured a successful ARC Power grant and many other successful grants. Saunders was responsible for the Universities continued economic growth, expansion, and developed and implemented large projects to boost graduation rate and retention rates. Her experience as a freelance grant writer secured many grants for private organizations and allowed for implementation of USDA grants as well as SOR, and OVRDC grants. Saunders’ careful attention to detail and meticulous ability to write, implement, and report on grants will serve her well in this new position. Saunders’ is approachable and prides herself on her communication abilities and her collaborative nature.

Karah Alberts was born in Charleston, WV and lived in Lincoln County, WV for most of her life. In 2019, she moved to Morgantown, WV to attend West Virginia University. She earned her degree in Biology with a minor in Secondary STEM Education. She currently attends a graduate program at WVU and will graduate in May 2024 with her Master’s of Science in Medical Laboratory Science. Being a native West Virginian, she has had first hand experience with the positive impacts of grants in West Virginia. Her experiences as an education minor allowed her to see how grants positively impact the education system in her home state. Following graduation, she would like to work in higher education. Her role as a Graduate Student Worker at the Grant Resource Center will help her acquire knowledge about grants and funding in the educational sector.

M.S. IMC 2023
Graduate Student Worker

Charmas Baylock, a native of the Midwest, was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications at West Virginia University. While she holds over 10 years of experience in the communications and marketing fields,Charmas has had the pleasure to work in both the private and public sectors, holding roles at the federal, state, and local levels. One of her most notable experiences include FEMA, where she served as a Digital Communications Specialist, providing updated communications information to the publics affected by Hurricanes Irma and Nate.  Currently, she serves as a Public Affairs Specialist for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), one of the largest funders of humanities grant programs in the U.S. She hopes to utilize her acquired skills to support the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers and aid in outreach to help applicants find relevant grant information and prepare competitive grant applications. 

Taylor Kennedy is a West Virginia native attending Marshall University completing a Master of Science in Exercise Science. She earned my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Fairmont State University. During her year of graduate coursework at Fairmont State she served as a Graduate Assistant at Fairmont State University Learning Enrichment and Academic Development Center where she acted as an academic coach for students on academic suspension and probation. While completing her undergraduate degree she developed experience in data collection and grant writing. In the future she plans to obtain a Doctor of Education and seek to work in higher education to better serve the communities of her home state.

Jessica Shaw is a Grant/ Technical Writer with the WV Grant Resource Center. Jessica resides in South Carolina, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in business administration. Prior to her role with the Grant Resource Center, Jessica was a consultant with a private agribusiness consulting firm for 10 years. She specialized in writing grants and business plans for small and mid-sized farmers, nonprofit organizations, and local and state government entities with a focus on the local food marketing and infrastructure. Jessica is excited to bring her expertise from this field to communities across West Virginia.

Tabitha Surface is a native West Virginian and former 4-H Agent. She is passionate about making a difference in Appalachia. With years of delivering and managing grant-funded programs, along with writing them, she understands the grant process from conception to delivery. She also understands the importance of storytelling and brings with her a background in creative writing to weave together the dream of a brighter, better Appalachia with the realities of delivering robust programming. She looks forward to collaborating with partners to bring their visions into focus and into funding.

Brittany Chaber is a Grant/Technical Writer for the WV Grant Resource Centers based in Fayetteville, WV. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and her master’s degree in special education from Marshall University. Before her role with the WV Grant Resource Centers, she was the Executive Director of the Piney Creek Watershed Association, where she was responsible for managing multiple grant projects, writing grant proposals, promoting the organization, and managing partnerships. Brittany enjoys participating in her local community and is excited to build grant writing capacity in communities across West Virginia. She volunteers for the New River Alliance of Climbers and Fayette Trail Coalition. In her free time, you’ll likely find her trail running with her dogs, T and Scout.  

Lexi Browning is a native West Virginian and the Public Relations Coordinator with the WV Grant Resource Centers based in Charleston. She earned her M.A. in Visual Communication: Photojournalism from Ohio University and her B.A. in Online Journalism from Marshall University. Over the last decade, Lexi’s passion for storytelling led her to work in various capacities in journalism, marketing, and communications, gaining experience in copywriting, photography, email marketing, podcast scripting and production, and project management. She is excited to be at the Grant Centers and working among like-minded individuals who are committed to empowering and equipping West Virginians with the tools they need to bring their resilient visions to life. Lexi spends her free time listening to podcasts, reading, bird-watching, and hanging out with her cat.

Advisory Committee

Advisory Group that has been established specifically for this project, a mix of representatives of key partners, community stakeholders, and subject matter experts on workforce and economic development in the state. The Advisory Group consists of approximately 11 partners representing all regions in the state. We pulled experts from various fields, such as industry, higher education, community, philanthropy, government and service fields. The Advisory Group helps to implement the Grants Centers, establish standard operating procedures, create operational protocols and develop sustainability measures. In addition, the statewide Advisory Group elevates equity in the evaluation of services provided and it is through this lens the development of a structure of assessing the priority of eligible applicants. Also the Advisory Group is responsible for the participation in, and review of progress, outcomes, and outputs. The Grant Centers will host one monthly virtual meeting with the 11-member advisory group to review projects, plan upcoming events, and troubleshoot regularly to strengthen the entire project’s operations. The Advisory Group brainstorms, develops, and implements sustainability measures.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

Through a full partnership between Marshall University and West Virginia University, the WV Grant Resource Centers assist communities and other eligible applicants in developing competitive grant applications. The focus is on the pre-award process to help applicants identify funding opportunities, put together competitive proposals, and submit complete application packages.

The WV Grant Resource Centers assist with federal, state, and foundation grants.

There is no guarantee that your organization will receive grant funding by working with our team. However, you will be guaranteed a solid foundation for your initiative that can be built upon for future funding opportunities.

While there is no set requirement, our team would like to see that you have a project concept and a potential funding source identified. Further details can be found on our intake form.

No, all services provided by the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers are free of charge.

The WV Grant Resource Centers provide tailored technical assistance services depending on the needs of the applicant. Some examples of technical assistance can be found on our intake form.

When reviewing technical assistance requests, the co-directors will consider the following factors: the type of application; the type of assistance being requested; the application deadline; the impact of the project as it relates to economic development and the WV Grant Resource Centers Topics of Focus; and prior assistance.

Requests for technical assistance can be submitted via our website or by completing our intake form. All requests will be reviewed weekly. We ask that you give us 7-10 business days to respond to your request.

The WV Grant Resource Centers serve the entire state. Any entity in West Virginia that is eligible to apply for grants and interested in securing funding to support workforce development, community development and outdoor recreation, job creation and retention, infrastructure and site development, and/or economic development projects is eligible for technical assistance.

The West Virginia Grant Resource Centers assist communities and other eligible applicants in developing competitive grant applications.

With a center in both Huntington and Morgantown, we serve all 55 counties with special consideration given to the distressed counties identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission to increase equity across the state.

Our focus is on the pre-award process to help eligible applicants identify funding opportunities, put together competitive proposals, and submit complete application packages.

Meet the Team

Brittany Bruce is a Projects Manager at the Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC). Bruce has helped oversee larger community projects and events. One of these projects includes the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia and its annual Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference. This conference celebrates southern West Virginia successes and allows attendees to share best practices and to connect and network with government officials, community leaders and higher education experts. She also is the lead planner for the #WVSolutions Seekers Student Leadership Conference that identifies a cohort of young leaders who can inspire service, leadership and innovation in other young West Virginians, thus encouraging our state’s brightest to invest their time and talent here at home. She is a seasoned project coordinator and serves as an event planner and performs administrative support and community outreach to build lasting partnerships for MURC and the University.

Born and raised in West Virginia, Bruce is committed to staying in the state and helping grow our workforce and strengthen our communities. She is a 2018 graduate of Marshall University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is currently working on her master’s degree in Leadership Studies for Non-Profits and Public Agency. She resides in Huntington with her husband John and sons, Tate and Eli.

Emily Brammer was born in Huntington, West Virginia, where she later attended Marshall University. Interested in the power of storytelling, Emily earned her degrees in Communication Studies (MA), English (BA), and History (BA). While pursuing her education, she gained experience writing about cultural and historical sites across Appalachia and teaching others to use their voice about what they find important. Emily worked as a technical writer, adjunct professor, and grant writer before joining the West Virginia Grant Resource Center. Now, she uses the skills she has learned from her education and experience to help communities, organizations, and individuals in West Virginia develop their own grant-writing capabilities.

Dr. Liz Vitullo, is co-managing this statewide effort, she holds a dual role at West Virginia University serving as the Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives at the John Chamber’s College of Business and Economics and the Assistant Vice President of Economic Innovation. Liz brings experience in economic development, grant writing, higher education, and community outreach. She supports special projects and initiatives for the University and is well positioned to connect WVU resources into this effort.

She is passionate about education and serves as the Coordinator of the Healthcare MBA program. Prior to her current role, Vitullo managed the portfolio of graduate programs in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, launching its nationally ranked online MBA beginning which led to the creation of subsequent nationally ranked online master’s programs and other specialized programs for national guardsmen and corporate offerings. She was part of the inaugural cohort of IDEA fellows at WVU and served as the Dean of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship.

Vitullo received her PhD and MBA from WVU and her undergraduate and MS degree from the University of Toronto. She has served as an adjunct faculty in entrepreneurship, marketing and management and has published in several areas. She lives in Morgantown with her husband, two daughters and son.

Morgan Saunders is the Co-Director of the West Virginia Resource Center employed through the Marshall University Research Corporation. With a bachelor’s degree in K-12 special education, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and a Certified Grant Writer through the American Grant Writer’s Association, Ms. Saunders brings extensive background knowledge in education, administration, grant writing, implementation, reporting, data, and analytics. In her previous role she served as the Grants Officer for the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College. Within that role she secured a successful ARC Power grant and many other successful grants. Saunders was responsible for the Universities continued economic growth, expansion, and developed and implemented large projects to boost graduation rate and retention rates. Her experience as a freelance grant writer secured many grants for private organizations and allowed for implementation of USDA grants as well as SOR, and OVRDC grants. Saunders’ careful attention to detail and meticulous ability to write, implement, and report on grants will serve her well in this new position. Saunders’ is approachable and prides herself on her communication abilities and her collaborative nature.

Priscila Santos, Research Scholar, West Virginia Forward

Priscila Santos was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has been living in West Virginia since 2014. Priscila holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Shawnee State University, and a master’s degree in Political Science from Marshall University. She has previously worked for the West Virginia Senate. Priscila joined the West Virginia Forward team in 2018. As a West Virginia Forward Research Scholar, she is responsible for carrying out applied research, in collaboration with state, business, and university experts, and advancing community and economic development projects that are based on a shared blueprint of nonpartisan, data-driven recommendations. She has written successful national grant applications and white papers on site readiness, tangible personal property taxes and dependent care. Priscila is a WV Women Moving Forward member and is helping to coordinate the implementation of grant-funded and collaborative projects aimed at addressing workforce barriers that disproportionately affect women, including dependent care insufficiencies and pay inequalities.

Sara Payne Scarbro, Associate Vice President for Government Relations at Marshall University, is the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) and oversees all administrative, fiscal, and process related activities for this funding. Sara brings expertise in the development and strengthening of Marshall’s relationships with communities and organizations across the state, and she has experience leading federal projects. She is an expert communicator who has been recognized by her peers for her public excellent relations and leadership skills. Honors include West Virginia Public Relations Practitioner of the Year Award in 2010; 40 under 40 Generation Next young professionals award 2013; West Virginia Young Guns in 2022; and a graduate of the highly competitive ARC’s Appalachian Leadership Institution in 2022. As a lifelong West Virginia, Sara has spent most of her career in public service at the state and federal levels. She brings intense passion for her home state and its people. She is married to her college sweetheart Derek, and they have one daughter.

West Virginia Grant Resource Centers will:

Mission

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Vision

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Values