Jaclyn Kaiser

Pronouns : she / her / hers

Driven by empathy and authenticity, Jaclyn looks beyond the data to see the comprehensive story of the people behind it. She has spent the past 20 years as a documentarian and small business owner, cultivating relationships and developing long-term growth and sustainability strategies. Most recently, she developed the database, marketing, and fundraising strategies for the Liberty African American Legacy Memorial, a grassroots campaign to honor the Black members of the community who were buried in mostly unmarked graves. The memorial is designed to further educate the public about the segregation of historic cemeteries and promote the protection and preservation of Black cemeteries throughout the country.
Jaclyn is a member of The Outdoorist Oath, a nonprofit committed to individual action for planet, inclusion, and adventure in the outdoors. Climate change advocacy and inclusion efforts are an integral part of her daily life as she continues to volunteer her time and skills towards local organizations.
In her spare time, Jaclyn thrives when spending time outdoors with her husband, two teenagers, and a dog (who is more like a tame goat). As a cooking enthusiast, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and sharing meals with friends and family. Or you may find her cuddled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a stack of books (usually a mix of insightful memoirs, historical critiques, social or climate justice essays, and unbelievably cheesy young adult fantasy novels).

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Sushmita, who goes by her nickname, Nanu, joined Elevate as a Grant Writer in 2018. During her time at Elevate, she has helped her clients build sustainable grant programs through her strong project management and technical writing skills. Nanu works with a wide range of both direct service and advocacy organizations, including nonprofits that focus on health, addiction recovery, housing, youth development, and investigative journalism.

Prior to joining Elevate, Nanu spent a year teaching literature and creative writing as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Calcutta, India. She also volunteered as a content writer at Tiljala SHED, a Calcutta-based nonprofit that provides educational services and financial aid to ragpickers (waste collectors).

Nanu graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BA in English. Outside of her coursework, she enjoyed working as a writing tutor on campus and volunteering as a science tutor at a local middle school.

On the weekends, you can find her exploring the city, trying new recipes, or relaxing with a cup of tea. When she’s not writing grants, she also enjoys writing prose and poetry on her blog, Aksharbet.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Mary brings a lifelong passion for service and youth development to Elevate. In her role, she is committed to making DC nonprofits better by leveraging the unique vantage points and perspectives that local nonprofits bring. Before joining Elevate in 2014, she spent seven years working with Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. While working for the Girl Scouts, she facilitated programs for youth and volunteers, including mentoring for children and their incarcerated mothers, bully prevention, financial literacy, outdoor recreation skills, and youth leadership development.

Mary graduated from the University of Tulsa, earning her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in English Literature. While at the University of Tulsa, her studies focused on the intersections of history, film, literature, and feminist theory, and enabled her to critically review power structures around gender, race, sexuality, and class throughout American history.

Outside of Elevate, Mary is a self-declared history nerd and enjoys watching her dog play at the dog park and reading fantasy/sci-fi novels.

Noura joined Elevate in 2015 and has 10 years of experience in proposal development and program design in community organizing, policy advocacy, homeless service provision, education, social services, workforce development, and international development. Prior to joining Elevate, Noura worked in grants and communications at Thurgood Marshall Academy, a high-performing public charter high school in historic Anacostia, where she was the lead writer on private and government proposals, annual reports, and print and e-newsletters. Previously, she worked in international development, designing and managing programs in the Middle East and North Africa focusing on women’s empowerment, workforce development, peacebuilding, and advocacy with Education for Employment and the American Islamic Congress.

Noura holds an MA in Global, International, and Comparative History from Georgetown University, and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in History and French from Goucher College. She was the 2008 recipient of the Goucher College Calvin Prize in History, awarded annually to an outstanding history major. She is also a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Alpha Sigma, an athletics honor society.

A lifelong swimmer, Noura spends most of her time at the pool when she is away from her computer. She competes with the District of Columbia Aquatics Club, and currently serves as a member of the team’s Board of Directors. She is a vigorous defender of the Oxford Comma and a frequent user of the em dash.

Melinda has a passion for organizational development and is committed to supporting her clients as they build sustainable and successful grant programs. She has several years of experience working with nonprofits, serving both as a grant writer and as part of a development team. Most recently she was a Site Director and Grant Writer at the YMCA, where she won thousands of dollars in support of their youth programs. She also carried out program development for the YMCA’s after-school and summer camp programs, creating developmentally appropriate curriculum for school-aged children.

Melinda stays involved in the community as the president of her local chapter of the Relief Society, the world’s largest women’s service organization. She recently graduated with her Master’s in Human Development from Virginia Tech and holds a degree in Human Development from Brigham Young University, where she was Valedictorian of her class.

In her free time, Melinda can be found attempting ridiculously complicated British pastry recipes and enjoying the outdoors.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Elevate’s first Vice President of New Client Partnerships, Jessica is responsible for all marketing and new business development at Elevate. Leaning into her own experience as a grant writer and her background in nonprofit strategy, program design, and management, Jessica brings a deep understanding of the “pain points” nonprofits face and a strategic approach to addressing these through smart grant programs. 

Jessica joined Elevate in 2016 as a team Director, and has held roles within Elevate’s management and business development teams since 2018. She is an experienced nonprofit professional with a background in corporate and foundation fundraising, program design, strategy, and partnerships. Prior to Elevate, Jessica worked in development and program management roles at the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Environmental Education Foundation, both based in the DC region. She also spent two years in her early career teaching high school biology in Northern Virginia.

A native of Atlanta, Jessica earned an MEd in Secondary Science Education at Georgia State University and a BS in Applied Biology at Georgia Tech.

When not hard at work, you may find Jessica on the river, in the kitchen, buried in an e-book, or traveling to Brooklyn to play “auntie.” Jessica works from her home in Falls Church, Virginia, where she lives with her husband, their son, and as many rescue dogs as the other members of the household will tolerate.