I am Kelly Walther, the founder of G$A and am a native Oregonian. Both my son and I graduated Sprague High School in Salem. I am also a proud, third generation Oregon State University alum. My grandfather attended when it was Oregon Agricultural College and my first OSU football game was at three weeks of age with my parents…in the student section!
A lifelong volunteer.
I am a Keizer Rotarian and have served on the Boards of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce (President), Marion County Fair (Chair), Keizer Community Foundation (President), Mid-Willamette Utility Coordinating Council (President), Keizer Iris Festival (Parade Chair), Bite of Salem (Restaurant Chair), Keizer Rotary, Oregon State Fair Foundation, National Association of Women in Construction, and Extreme Home Makeover Salem School for the Deaf (Food Chair).
I love budgets!
I was appointed to the Keizer Fire District Budget Committee, Oregon State University Extension Citizen Advisory Committee, and Salem-Keizer School District Budget Advisory Team. I threw out the first pitch at a Salem-Keizer Volcanoes baseball game, I was a Grand Marshal in the Keizer Iris Parade, and I won Marion County Outstanding Volunteer. I was part of a group who won the Salem Mayor’s Merit Award and I received the Keizer Chamber of Commerce Past President’s Award. I was recognized by Rotary International for Volunteerism and am a Paul Harris Fellow. I understand the needs of nonprofits.
My first grant.
After the City of Keizer experienced the 1996 flood, I saw an email regarding a mandatory meeting for cities interested in HMGP FEMA grants for flood mitigation. I was the assistant to the City Engineer so I was sent to the meeting and asked to report back. I thought we could win, so the City Manager appointed me to handle it. I won $375,000 and was promoted to Project Manager! I oversaw the moving of two water damaged houses out of the flood way! It was fun and exciting! Who knows what I would be doing now if I hadn’t won my first grant? I went on to win over $1M in awards for Keizer including the water tank at the baseball fields, the bridge on Chemawa and the sidewalks and widening on Dearborn. I was then hired by Habitat for Humanity and won over $2M for affordable housing. A Habitat house uses about 40 different funding sources, including in-kind donations; all with different deadlines and requirements. It was exhilarating and I loved it. I am competitive, but not an athlete. Grant writing fits my personality.
“What is your dream job?” Becoming Grant Services of Oregon, Inc.
The company I worked at for over 20 years sold and I was facing a job search. Three weeks later, at a Rotary Christmas Party, I was asked, “What is your dream job?” I already knew I enjoyed winning grants, so I said grant writing. That was a Saturday. Two nonprofit leaders were standing nearby and heard me. I had my first two clients on Monday. Tuesday, January 20, 2015, Grant Services of Oregon, Inc. was formed.
A pandemic pivot. Becoming Grant Services of America, Inc.
The pandemic taught society how to use Zoom and it taught me I didn’t need to meet clients in person to be effective. I took the opportunity to expand nationally and became Grant Services of America, Inc. I recently had an online meeting with an IRS qualified nonprofit in Zambia, Africa, so maybe someday soon G$A will become Grant Services Global, Inc.
My clients are the superstars!
I am extremely proud of the work of my clients. They are the ones putting in the effort day in and day out. I am honored to be a teammate with a front row seat to some amazing programs. I would love to hear about your mission and see if G$A can help you reach your goals.
Grant Services of America, Inc.
Do. More. Good.