|Steve Densmore, President and Founder
Steve Densmore has spent the last 25 years working as a communications professional in the Hudson Valley. An award winning writer and journalist, Steve spent much of that time working in the trenches for several weekly newspapers and magazines, serving as a reporter, editor and publisher (sometimes all at the same time!) Steve’s career path evolved substantially in 2005 when he began working as a communications consultant for several Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations. This grew to include the Dyson Foundation and the Walkway Over the Hudson nonprofit organization, where he has spearheaded public relations and grant writing for the last several years. Steve launched Choice Words in 2010 in response to an increasing call for supportive communications services among Hudson Valley nonprofits. He has served on various boards of directors during his career including the New York Press Association, the Vassar Warner Home of Poughkeepsie, the Barrett Art Center, and the environmental advocacy organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. He lives in Montgomery.
|Briana Maloney, Vice President
Briana Maloney has been grant writing for ten years. She is a research and information specialist with experience in social media and web design. She has previously worked as an academic librarian at Rockland Community College, Mount Saint Mary College, and at the New York State Library as a public information advocate where she sought funding for various statewide public education programs.She is on the board of the Rondout Valley Education Foundation. She currently resides in Kerhonkson, NY.
|Jennifer Gutman, Senior Grant Writer
Jennifer Gutman graduated summa cum laude from SUNY New Paltz with an M.A. in English Literature in 2011. Since then, Jennifer has worked as the assistant editor at Luminary Publishing, publisher of Chronogram magazine, as well as a freelance writer and research assistant. In addition to her work with Choice Words, Jennifer is an Adjunct Instructor in the English Department at SUNY New Paltz.
|Emily Vanston, Grant Writer
Emily Vanston has secured more than $5 million in grant awards for her clients since joining Choice Words in 2016. Previously she enjoyed a 10-year career in publishing and marketing in New York City, where she served in a variety of capacities for Bookspan, LLC, including Acquisitions Editor, Copywriter, Director of Member Services, and Print and Online Marketing Manager. Prior to that she worked as Market Research Manager for News America Marketing. Emily has served on the board of the Vanaver Caravan Dance & Music Company, and has worked closely with a number of arts organizations throughout her career. She is a graduate of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and is a member of ACES: The Society for Editing, the nation’s leading organization of editing professionals.
|Aaron Fumarola, Grant Writer
Born and raised in the Finger Lakes town of Homer, NY, Aaron is a 2007 graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he studied political science and philosophy. In 2010 he completed a Masters of Professional Studies in Environmental Policy from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. After working for three years as Development Coordinator for Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortland, NY, he transitioned to Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, NY, where he worked for nearly two years as the organization’s sole grant writer. With a lifelong enthusiasm for the arts and humanities, he joined Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in 2015, where he was responsible for cultivating and soliciting donations from new and existing donors in support of arts and education programming. In April of 2017 he transitioned to ChoiceWords on a part-time basis to research and write proposals on behalf of a number of our clients.
|Teryl Mickens, Grant Writer
Teryl is a seasoned grant writer experienced in both non-profit and for-profit business sectors. Over the last 12 years she has secured federal, state and private sources to fund projects ranging from affordable housing, community development and the arts. In addition to grant writing, Teryl specializes in procuring federal and state historic preservation tax credits. Teryl is a current board member of Ulster County Habitat for Humanity, the Business Alliance of Kingston and has served as a panelist for Arts Mid-Hudson. She is a former Kingston Landmarks Preservation commissioner and was appointed to serve on the Kingston Comprehensive Plan committee. Originally from Manhattan, she now resides in Kingston.
|Kim Andresen, Grant Writer
Kim Andresen has spent the better part of a quarter-century working in non-profit administration. With an emphasis on bolstering underserved populations, her grant, RFP, and content work has focused primarily on projects that promote sustainable tourism, combat homelessness, and inspire arts-in-education initiatives. Kim has developed grants ranging from $500 to $5 million dollars, and has secured a variety of funding from private, state, and federal agencies. She specializes in grant administration and helping recipients decipher the requirements of their specific award. A recent transplant to the Hudson Valley, Kim spent two chilly decades in the High Peaks Region of upstate NY where she was the Program and Marketing Director for the Lake Placid Center for the Arts before transitioning into the role of Senior Content Developer and then Grant Developer and Administrator for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism — the accredited DMO for eight regions of the Adirondacks. Kim is happily acclimating to the shorter winters and warmer summers of this southern NY region. When not biking the rail trail with her family or working in some capacity for the thriving local film and theatre scene, Kim can be found at Vassar College where she is the Concerts Administrator.
|Kate Heidecker, Public Relations Specialist, Grant Writer
Kate Heidecker spent two years covering education and politics for The Daily Freeman in Kingston, NY after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in English from Messiah College. Following her years as a reporter, Kate spent a decade as a school communications specialist, assisting public school administrators in communicating about school budgets, building projects, and changes in the landscape of education both locally and nationally.
|The Chazen Companies
Founded in the historic Hudson Valley region of New York in 1947, The Chazen Companies provides engineering, land surveying, planning, environmental and safety services, landscape architecture and construction services to clients throughout the Northeast and beyond.