Hello, I am Colleen McNatt Engelbrecht, a freelance journalist and grant writer. I would prefer you call me a grant professional as there is so much more than just writing involved in this craft. In addition to my writing and journalism school training, comes decades of experience in the financial services industry. I am that grant professional who will ask for the budget first.

My focus is human services, including homelessness, poverty, food insecurity and family life issues, from therapeutic childcare to aging in place. I am particularly skilled at faith-based initiatives and see connecting stories of impact supported by objective data as the success in building relationships with funders.

Human interest stories are by far my favorite genre, but I have covered everything from airplane crashes to cranky planning board meetings. I still employ my J-school training skills with intent listening, those nagging follow-up questions and my trusted reporter notebook.

As a former editor of San Diego Parent magazine and a working mother of four, I understand the challenges and choices families are facing with raising kids. My articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the San Diego Union Tribune and The Southern Cross.

Writing and helping others is my calling. Blending these skills led me to a certificate program at UCSD Extension in Fundraising and Development. I expect to cross the finish line on this program by Summer 2023. I also serve as the Communications Chair of the Grant Professionals Association, San Diego County Chapter.


Showing off my GPA Scholarship medal at Pike Place Market – November 2021