Kris Westerson

Freelance Biography Writer & Grant Writer

Location:Charleston, South Carolina, United States
2 Skills



The Children’s Shelter, San Antonio, Texas
Director of Grants and Research, June 2009-December 2012

Responsible for identifying and responding to funding opportunities (state, federal, local government and private/corporate foundations) for a $10M agency and its affiliate, Girls Incorporated of San Antonio. Supervise full-time Grant Writer. Work with program Vice Presidents, accounting, development and other support departments to identify needs and then develop strong case for each request. Manage grant projects from inception to submission. Responsible for the submission of over 100 proposals a year and receiving between $750,000 and $1M a year in funding and $2M a year inclusive of renewals. Oversee comprehensive grant calendar, which includes stewardship and relationship building with foundation staff. Chair quarterly grant meetings and ensure grant funds are expended as proposal states. Work with researchers from regional university to create and evaluate ongoing and new programs. Establish and oversee Oral History program finding client and employee stories to share with donors. As primary writer for agency, edit and write twelve to sixteen page newsletters; materials for donor stewardship visits, annual fund appeals and speeches for board members. Member of Strategic Initiative Programs and Services Element Group, working to create a Trauma informed Care Initiative. Prepared on agency-wide fundraising strategy, analyzing, rewriting and expanding the agency Marketing Plan and other special projects including a summer program for the Residential Treatment Center, which helped lead to a minimal restraint rate for Summer 2011.

Grant Writer, July 2007 – June 2009
Managed grant process to include seeking, writing and submitting foundation, state and federal grant proposals for a multi-program non-profit agency. Successfully secured $1.4M in FY2006-07 which included two new programs funded by the State of Texas. Track status of grants expenditures working closely with Accounting, four Vice Presidents and Pres/CEO. Write and submit evaluations of funded projects to donors using outcomes and success stories. Maintain all grant files and funder communications in Raiser’s Edge fundraising software and paper files. Selected by senior staff as Employee of the Month in December 2007 and July 2008. Additional duties included briefing County legislators at the biennial Legislative Lunch,

Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas
Director of Sponsored Projects, January 2007 – July 2007

Responsible for writing and submitting grants and proposals to fulfill an annual budget of $1.5M. Developed relationships, in concert with other Senior Management staff, with corporations, foundations and individuals to support the Museum’s program and operating needs. With Pres/CEO, Museum Director, Director of Public Programs and Curators determined budget needs, exhibition statements and possible contributors for exhibitions and programs. Developed relationships with other fundraising professionals and institutions, pursuing collaborative and cooperative partnerships for the Museum.

Began working with the Museum in September 2007 on contract.

Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California
Collections and Digital Assets Manager, March 2006 – Sept 2006

Responsible for the preservation and management of the permanent collection for regional art museum with collection of 50,000 items. Maintained comprehensive records (computer database, accession file and digital image) for each item, including location and condition. Assessed storage area conditions and worked to maintain proper environments. Member of exhibition installation team for traveling and permanent collection exhibitions. Coordinated access to collection storage for volunteers, researchers and other museum staff. Supervised volunteer archivist and collection volunteers working on inventory of collection. Worked closely with Registrar assigning accession numbers and receiving of new works into collection.

Retained by museum on contract to research and write institution disaster plan from September 2006 – February 2007. Project completed as specified in contract and resulted in museum being reaccredited by the American Association of Museums.

National Western Art Foundation, San Antonio, Texas
Director, Planning and Special Projects, Nov 2003 – August 2005.

Co-responsibility, with Executive Director, for development and creation of new Western Art/Regional History Museum. Produced “The Night of Artists” art sale and gala in 2004 and 2005. Improved selection of artists, display presentation and collateral material, which resulted in increased sales. Wrote and oversaw the design and development of fundraising materials, show catalog and acknowledgement letters. Recruited, trained and supervised volunteers and managed multiple relationships with artists, graphic designers, special events staff board attendees and art buyers. Increased net profit by 12% in 2004 and 30% in 2005. The Foundation was an outgrowth of The Museum of Western Art in Kerrville, Texas.

Assistant Museum Director, September 2002 – October 2003.

Responsible for internal operations for local museum (The Museum of Western Art, formerly the Cowboy Artists of America Museum) including youth and adult education programs, docent training, exhibit development, exhibition display, art and library collections, museum facility and the Western Art Academy, a three-week intensive art camp for high school students. Wrote five-year business plan. Organized Home on the Range exhibition whose thesis examined how the range was settled at the end of the 19th century. An adjacent gallery featured aerial photographs of the contemporary landscape to create a contrast with traditional paintings in the main gallery. Managed $2.3 million budget, individual project budgets, cash flow projections and critical management reports. Tightened control on expenses, which resulted in a 30% decrease in yearly budget.

U.S.Art Company, Inc., Boston, MA
Regional Manager, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas January 2001 – July 2002.

Established a new regional office in Irving, Texas for the largest fine art services company in the country. Led twelve employees from previous operation to this competing company to establish new warehouse. Located 18,000 sq ft warehouse space, fitting it with appropriate equipment and materials to provide climate and non-climate art storage, crate-making shop, local and national art transportation and fine art handling sales and service. Secured a large base account (museum relocation and storage) that established office. Completed seven sales/marketing trips (five in Texas), which resulted in more than $75,000 in booked sales. First year bookings in office exceeded company expectations.

FAE Worldwide, Boston, MA
General Manager, Fort Worth, Texas. April 2000 - January 2001.

Reorganized and managed a fine art services district office in Fort Worth, Texas with twelve employees and departments of local services, art storage, crating, transportation and sales. Coordinated district-wide marketing and sales plan to develop and improve client relations. Improved relationships increased booking volume by five percent.

Client Services Representative. January 2000 – April 2000.
Booked jobs for national and local clients. Effectively communicated with operations staff to ensure proper completion of jobs. Established client relationships and provided customer service that resulted in repeat business.

• CONSULTING EXPERIENCE [Simultaneous to employment]

Eva’s Heroes, May 2013– present

Contract grant writer for nonprofit providing services to youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities in San Antonio and Bexar County, Texas. Create grant calendar providing background information on potential funders. Implement calendar matching needs of organization to potential granting entities. Effective ongoing communication with Executive Director.

American Women Artists, Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 2004 – December 2009

As Consulting Executive Director, worked closely with five-member Executive Board of a national non-profit membership organization to encourage, celebrate and inspire women in the visual arts. Developed agenda for and facilitated monthly conference calls for the board and lead yearly planning meeting with board and other Master Signature and Signature Members (up to 40 women). In partnership with the Board President, located venues for annual juried competition and members show, then planned and coordinated all aspects of the shows, including fundraising efforts through grants and sponsorships. Wrote newsletters, solicitation materials, and press releases; tracked membership database; organized educational programs; planned and executed all membership exhibitions; managed website content; supervised website subcontractor and graphic designer for ads, invitations and other collateral materials;, maintained yearly files.

Aqua Caliente Cultural Museum, Palm Springs, California, June 2007-October 2008

Researched and wrote institution-wide disaster plan for museum with Native American collection and three locations. Project completed as specified in contract.

Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, Jan – May 2000

Exhibition Coordinator for exhibitions in development for new museum space. Developed action plans, time lines, budgets and contacts for Santiago Calatrava:Structures in Movement, the first temporary exhibition in the new museum building.

University of North Texas College of Museum, Denton, Texas, Nov 1998 – May 2000

Designed three temporary exhibitions for the College of Music.
Anthropology of a Building. Designed exhibition furniture and collateral material, interviewed all people involved in building a new performance hall, and conducted research on music and building specifications. Refined and organized research into a five-part exhibit celebrating the opening of the Murchison Performing Arts Center. Exhibit contained seventy-five text labels, fifteen archival photographs, construction materials and a take-away collateral piece. Installed and deinstalled exhibition. Project completed on time and within budget.

College of Music. Designed threefold tabletop display to be used by professors for recruiting students to the College. Interviewed students and faculty, edited photographic images, provided original photographs and designed three different layout options for text and images. Project completed on time and within budget.

Visual Curriculum Vitae. Designed exhibition that featured four different faculty members from the College of Museum. Interviewed and photographed each faculty member. Selected personal objects from each, photographs, text, publications and ephemera to report each professor’s professional story using visual elements. Completed ten text labels for each professor and installation of objects and labels. Project completed on time and within budget.

Dallas Visual Art Center, Dallas, Texas, June 1998.

Researched locations of over 100 exhibition venues in the state of Texas for non-profit art center who in turn offered the information to member artists taking a “The Business of Art” seminar. Information was summarized for a future publication.

Heard Museum, McKinney Texas, October 1997 – February 1998.

Co-curator for three-part exhibit, Building McKinney, created to celebrate town’s sesquicentennial and to recognize the natural environment, cultural responses and creative solutions involved in building a city. Conceived idea for overall exhibit, selected objects from lenders (private, corporate and museums), completed loan agreements, designed exhibit, wrote label text and promoted exhibit with co-curator. Exhibit was installed for seven months at the Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas.


Assistant Curator, Master Teacher Internship, Curatorial Apprentice, Curatorial Assistant, Assistant to Registrar, 1997- 2000
Program Coordination, Teaching Assistant, Administrative Secretary, University of North Texas, 199-1997
Graphic design and freelance calligrapher, 1990-1992.
Marketing Director, 1986-1990
Retail Management and Sales, 1978-1987.


Visual Artist
Hand paper maker creating individual pulp paintings and artist books. Also work with letterpress, calligraphy and photography. Juried into regional Texas art shows. Awarded Best of Paper and Book Category at the All-School Show, Southwest School of Art, August 2012.
Poem, “Carvolution” published in the San Antonio Express News, December 23, 2012.
Community Involvement
San Antonio Nonprofit Council Planning Committee for Issue in Profile Luncheon on Child Abuse and Neglect
Community Theater, member of fundraising musical performance group
North Texas Tree Coalition
Volunteer for MWR programs
Docent, Amon Carter Museum, Forth Worth, Texas


University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. B.A. Anthropology, May 1997
22 hours graduate coursework in Anthropology, Museum Education and Art History.
North Dakota State University. Fargo, North Dakota. September 1978-March 1979.
Concordia College. Moorhead, Minnesota. August 1976-May 1978.


Association of Fundraising Professionals, Jan 2007 - present


March 2005
Presenting Chair. Session entitled “Models for Board Accountability” Texas Association of Museums, State Conference, Dallas, Texas.

February –March 2003
Presenter. “Museum Seminar for Docents” four-part seminar to accompany Home on the Range exhibit at Cowboy Artists of America Museum, Kerrville, Texas.

May 2001
Panelist. “Museum Collection Moves,” American Association of Museum Conference, Pre-conference session. St. Louis, Missouri.
Slide Lecture. “Overview of Photography,” Continuing Education class, Tarrant County Junior College Northeast, Fort Worth, Texas.

September 1999
Slide Lecture. “The Anthropology of a Building,” American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Program, Dallas, Texas.
Publication. “Very Few Things Can Replace a Friendship” in Artifact , The Newsletter for Alumni and Friends of The School of Visual Arts, UNT, 1998-1999 edition, pgs 16-17.

November 1997
Guest Lecturer.“Art and Anthropology” in Anthropology 1010. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

February 1997
Guest Lecturer. “The Art Museum as a Ritual Space,” to Anthropology Association at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

November 1996
Guest Lecturer. “Culture Change,” in Anthropology 1010, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. “Art and Anthropology,” in Anthropology 1010, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

August and September 1996
Gallery Talk. “Making Connections in the Prehistoric Southwest” at the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas.
Skills (2) Rating
Biography Writing
Grant Writing