I have more than twenty years experience writing grants and ten years as a freelancer. I have had the pleasure of teaching over fifty grantwriting classes to hundreds of non-profit professionals in the last four years. 


Before becoming an instructor and freelance grantwriter, I was the lead grants manager for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington. I have been a Site Reviewer for 4Culture and am a Guest Columnist for the Foundation Center - New York's blog. I am proud to be listed as a consultant with the prestigious Statewide Nonprofit Resource Directory hosted by 501 Commons. I am a former board member of the Puget Sound Grantwriters Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Advancement Northwest.

I have written successful grant applications to the following grantmakers:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Health Resources Services Administration

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Kresge Foundation

Boeing Foundation

Norcliffe Foundation

Medina Foundation

Northwest Children's Fund

Employees Community Fund of Boeing

SAFECO Foundation


Bank of America

and many more.....





My Story

I was lucky. I had the great fortune of working for an organization early in my career that strongly believed in continuing education. I was sent to attend every grantwriting workshop that came to the Seattle area.

As a freelance grantwriter, I realized that there were a great number of nonprofit organizations out there that needed help with grantwriting and it became my goal to help nonprofits build their own internal capacity to write grants. I taught my first class at my local library and it was a hit. And I loved it!

Every since then, I have been continuously refining the curriculum of my classes based on feedback from my students and daily experiences working with nonprofits as a grantwriter and consultant. I have had the privilege of working with some of the most innovative and effective nonprofits out there. There is no greater joy than having a career that is so incredibly fulfilling.

I invite you to contact me with any questions you have. Invite me to come teach in your community. Let me know how I can be of service to you. Together we can make a difference! 


Let's Get Started

Interested in working together? Here's my contact info.

spark the fire grantwriting

allison shirk

PO Box 2124
Vashon, WA 98070

(206) 734-6521