Meet the Aurora Grants Team
Our grant writers are independent contractors who adhere to Aurora Grants Policies and Procedures, and sign a Conflict of Interest and Relationship Policy. You may view our standards and Codes of Ethics by clicking here, and you may view some client testimonials by clicking here.
Linda Kleinhans Beeman, MBA, GPC
Founder and President
Linda is a certified Grants Professional, holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of North Texas, received a Comprehensive Fund Development certificate from Rice University, and is a former Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Houston Chapter Board Member. She is also a member of the Grant Professionals Association’s Southeast Texas Chapter, Houston Philanthropic Society, a past member of Texas Trotters Toastmasters, and a certified AFP Master Trainer.
Linda brings experience gained over twenty-five years in various marketing roles to the field of writing grant proposals. In the for-profit sector, Linda’s expertise stems from working primarily with small- and mid-sized entrepreneurial ventures. This, she believes, was an excellent training ground for working with nonprofits
Before starting her company, Linda was Development Director for Archway Academy, a high school for kids in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This gave her an insider's perspective on the role that grants play in a nonprofit's comprehensive fundraising efforts.
“Like all entrepreneurs, nonprofit executive directors are driven, passionate, and very focused. Our team approach of working together with them, their development directors and board members, offers optimal opportunities for grant funding success.”
Suzanne von Lengerke, MBA
Contract Research Assistant, Grant Writer
Suzy joined Aurora Grants in 2012 as a consultant. She researches background materials, seeks potential funders, writes and edits grant applications, and helps clients manage their grant calendars. Suzy holds an MBA in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her BS in Economics from Georgetown.
After more than a decade working on Wall Street as a stock trader, Suzy switched careers to become a writer, editor and publisher of specialized newsletters for consumers and professionals. As a result, she brings to Aurora Grants a strong research background gained through her experience in the medical, legal, estate planning and insurance fields.
Suzy is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, sits on the grant review committee for the Caldwell-West Caldwell Education Foundation, volunteers as a grant writer for the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association and the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy, and began her grant-writing career working as a volunteer for several other not-for-profit organizations.
Susan Byrd, BA
Contract Grant Writer
Susan joined Aurora Grants and Consulting in 2014. She has spent her entire career working for Houston area non-profits organizations in various capacities, including the American Heart Association and the Houston Zoo. Susan has an extensive background in individual, corporate, foundation and special event fundraising. She has proven experience with volunteer recruitment and management and her collective knowledge allows her to have a unique understanding of Houston’s vast philanthropic community.
Susan graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in History. Her interest in writing and research compliment her work for Aurora Grants and Consulting and she enjoys working with organizations that strive to make a difference in the world. Understanding the need to give back, Susan enjoys volunteering her time and is active in her children’s school and local community.
Emily Barlow, BS
Contract Grant Writer
Prior to joining Aurora Grants & Consulting in 2016, Emily Barlow worked for eleven years in the philanthropic sector as a founder, program director and development director for several Texas nonprofits. Through her work, Emily gained experience in all phases of nonprofit business including fund development, event planning, volunteer coordination, program management and grant writing.
Emily holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Edward’s University and performed graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Texas before choosing to pursue her passion with a career in the nonprofit sector. She is a member of The Junior League of Houston and serves as a volunteer for the Houston Area Women’s Center.
Candace Okin, MA
Contract Grant Writer
Candace Okin joined Aurora Grants in 2017 and offers nearly 10 years of professional writing, communications and relationship management experience. Having worked as a professional Grant Writer for several nonprofits, Candace has effectively raised more than $3.3 million in private and government funds over the course of her career.
She has been published by several Houston-based publications including 002 Magazine and Bliss the Magazine, a relationship themed online magazine. Candace holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Texas Southern University and a Masters in Psychology from Houston Baptist University.
After 27 years as a cataloger and archivist at the Harry Ransom Center, UT Austin, Lisa began full time work in nonprofit development in both Austin and San Francisco, specializing in arts, cultural, and historical interest funding. Her staff positions include Austin Lyric Opera, the United States Lighthouse Society, Texas Book Festival, and UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum. In her 40 years as a writer, researcher and editor she has produced a wide array of academic, high tech, and popular publications.
Lisa currently serves on the boards of Austin Shakespeare, SIGHTLINES (an online magazine of arts, culture, news and ideas), and in•situ, a producing company in light and sound media.
Sarah Hart Miller, MBA
Contract Grant Writer
Sarah joined Aurora Grants in 2019. A seasoned fundraising, marketing and communications consultant, she enjoys designing and implementing creative, comprehensive, and results-focused narratives to help clients achieve their fundraising objectives.
Over a two-year time-span, Sarah wrote grant proposals to secure more than $4M in funding. Previously, in her role as Executive Director of UTHealth's Development Communications team, she wrote content, provided creative and editing support and implemented communications and stewardship initiatives for more than $100M in high-level proposals, including $75M, $25M and $10M campaign gifts.