Our VP Development, Claudia Johnson

About Claudia Johnson
VP Development, CSllc

Claudia Johnson Professional Writing Services

A native of Giles County, I am a graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and hold a bachelor’s degree in English-Journalism.

I am a professional writer. To serve my diverse clientele, I write (and do layout and design for web or publication when applicable) magazine articles, books, webpage content (and design web pages), autobiographies, federal, state and foundation grant applications, marketing plans, strategic plans, brochures, tour maps, flyers, resumes, family histories, technical manuals, project reports, annual reports, cookbooks, community history publications, newsletters, catalogues, letters of solicitation, class reunion books, press releases and more. I conduct extensive genealogical research as well as prospect research for fundraising. 

I am excellent at creation and maintenance of an online presence for my clients through Facebook, Google+, Blogger, LinkedIn, issuu.com, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler, YouTube, Picasaweb, Flickr, Vine, Vimeo, MailChimp and other social media sites. For nonprofits, I create their GuideStar profiles for use in solicitation of donations.

I write three monthly columns for Larry’s Country Diner and Country Family Reunion Magazine.

I have more than 40 years experience as a photographer.

Partial Portfolio of Work By Claudia Johnson

Public Relations, Marketing, Nonprofit Management, Development Experience

Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation, Executive Director, Cookeville, TN
For two years, I was responsible for the fundraising for and management of a 16-year-old nonprofit Foundation dedicated to preserving the legacy of Sgt. Alvin York through educational programs, public relations, marketing and tourism development associated with the World War I hero’s home place and related sites in Pall Mall and Jamestown, Tenn. I regularly worked with funding sources such as foundations, federal and state agencies, elected officials and community groups, and I executed successful grant projects participated in by the Foundation. Additionally, I was responsible for oversight of a staff and management of a general store and interpretive center located on the property of the Sgt. York State Historic Park. I created and published an 8-page quarterly newsletter distributed to several thousand supporters and potential donors across the country. Other responsibilities included grant writing, public speaking, private presentations to donors and partners, speculative phone calls and visits, coordination of events and activities, research and organization of information to assist with future planning for Foundation. During this time, I also served as a volunteer board member for the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association and on a special strategic planning committee for the Alliance for the Cumberlands. My work in obtaining and implementing a federal grant for interpretation, promotion and tourism development for Sgt. York and Cordell Hull State Parks garnered a regional Ovation Award for Excellence in Tourism Development for 2011. For details about this project, visit www.sgtyorkpatrioticfoundation.blogspot.com.


Rifkin and Associates, Inc., Denver, CO 

As Marketing Manager from January 1993-November 1995 for Rifkin, a cable television multi-system operator, I handled all marketing responsibilities for a number of cable television systems throughout the state working closely with different managers to plan campaigns, prepare budgets, serve as managers' liaison to corporate marketing and network programmers, plan launches of new channels or services, and perform all other duties as required to meet budget goals. I was also responsible for public relations duties and budget considerations. A restructuring of operations and subsequent sale of the company to Charter Communications and Comcast Cable eliminated all marketing manager positions, including mine.

Community Development Programs Manager, Columbia, TN
Between November 1985 and July 1987, I assisted the 50 local governments in the 13-county South Central Tennessee Development District in identification of community development needs and formulation of plans for meeting needs. I served as a regional contact for various state and federal agencies and prepared applications for funds as part of long-range planning. Other responsibilities included supervision of a three-member staff, preparing proposals and budgets, conducting public meetings, editing a quarterly newsletter and attending training seminars and conferences. I prepared federal grant applications which, when funded, brought more than $4 million dollars into the region during this period. One ongoing project was a comprehensive community assessment of the 13 counties and 37 municipalities for which I worked.

Homecoming '86 Coordinator, Columbia, TN
I recruited and organized communities in the 13-county South Central Tennessee Development District into the Homecoming '86 program between December 1984 and November 1985; developed and distributed instructional and promotional materials; made oral and audiovisual presentations to more than 350 groups; assisted in organization and implementation of project and celebration plans; prepared press releases, news and feature stories for publication and broadcast; photographed and videotaped projects upon request; edited a
bi-monthly newsletter with a circulation of 500; solicited votes from legislators for funding of special projects related to Homecoming '86 on a state-wide level; designed methods used throughout the state for involving all possible groups within a community – social, educational, civic, religious, agricultural, professional, etc. I was promoted from this position to Community Development Programs Manager.


Columbia State Community College, Director of Grants & Development Officer, Columbia, TN The Director of Grants is responsible for all aspects of grant research, writing and management for the College. This was accomplished through meetings with college staff and faculty to assess needs for programs or equipment and working with funding agencies, both public and private, to determine which funding opportunities could aid the college in reaching goals outlined it its strategic plan. During my two years in the position, applications were submitted requesting several million dollars of grant funding for expansion or addition of services and programs, with more than half of these proposals funded by state, federal or private sources.

Additionally, I conducted comprehensive prospect research and coordinated contracted donor assessment for the College’s fundraising efforts. Other responsibilities included writing or editing press releases and fundraising letters, as well as creating audio-visual presentations, posters and brochures. Because the CSCC Foundation manages the annual Performance Series and the Pryor Art Gallery, I worked with the managers of those programs for ongoing planning and promotion. I established accounts with various social media and web resources, all free, to cross promote the Foundation’s efforts. It was my responsibility to create a nonprofit profile with GuideStar, which was a six-week project that concluded with the Foundation receiving GuideStar’s prestigious certification seal.


Relocation Consultant to Saturn, Spring Hill, TN
I coordinated Saturn's community selection relocation service in Tennessee.
Working closely with real estate professionals, community development offices
and elected officials in a 10-county impact area, I developed a comprehensive
information packet and a three-hour multimedia program, which I used weekly for
a live presentation to a group of prospective employees. I assisted more than 200
families in selecting a community in the Saturn impact area by providing
specific information about each community matching each family's needs profile,
which I also developed. I researched specific questions about medical,
educational, economic, social, housing and occupational problems faced by the
transferred family. Nearly a month of this time was spent at Saturn
headquarters in Troy, Michigan. A special project I coordinated resulted in
production of a video highlighting various aspects of community selection.
Additionally, I designed the layout for the plant site's "Tennessee
Room" and acquired the information contained therein.


Editorial, Writing and Photography Experience

Editor-in-Chief, Cumberland Business Journal, Cookeville, TN

For three years, I was responsible for publication of a monthly regional business journal that served a 15-county area
in the Tennessee Upper Cumberland. I also served as editor of another 9-county
area journal in Kentucky, The Business Journal of Southern Kentucky. These publications were mailed
monthly to approximately 10,000 subscribers, who were primarily business owners
and managers, professionals and governmental officials. I supervised the
journalism internship program as well as staff writers, and I worked on special
projects as requested by the company owner. I was responsible for all editorial
content, production dummy and public relations for both these full-color,
tabloid-size publications. Additionally, I wrote 20-40 articles per month and
provided most of the digital photography. Copies are available upon request.
During this time, I was an active member of the chambers of commerce in 15
counties of the Upper Cumberland. Additionally, I attended numerous national,
state and regional community development conferences and training seminars
specifically related to economic development. I developed a program called “An
Editor’s View of Economic Development in the Upper Cumberland,” which I
presented to dozens of civic organizations throughout the region.


Staff Writer, Pulaski Citizen/Giles Free Press
Between December 1998 and June 2006 at this twice-weekly newspaper, I wrote hundreds of
stories on a multitude of subjects. As the hard news reporter, my primary
responsibility was front-page coverage of local government, the courts,
emergency services, law enforcement and politics. I also regularly contributed
stories and multi-part series on issues of interest to the public that were not
part of my regular beat. An example of this type of coverage is available at
www.claudiajohnson.blogspot.com. I supplied all my own photography. I regularly
attended governmental meetings, civic and community functions as a
representative of the newspaper. During this time I developed two programs, one
on reporting and the other on history, and offered them for presentation to
civic and special-interest groups, presenting dozens of times as requested. I
received the second place award for news reporting in the Tennessee Press
Association’s annual competition for 2003 for the story of a fire that
destroyed an historic building.


Editor, The Mt. Pleasant Record, Mt. Pleasant, TN 
I was solely responsible for gathering, writing and editing all news and features
as well as all photography, darkroom and layout in The Mt. Pleasant Record from August to December of 1984.
Staff Writer- Photographer The Daily Herald, Columbia, TN
Contributed feature stories and photographs in addition to news
assignments, court, education, church and hospital beats from June 1984 until
promotion to The Mt. PleasantRecord editor.

Author, “…a page from the past”
For 22 months of my employment at the Pulaski Citizen,
I was assigned to a special project that reviewed the Pulaski Citizen’s 150 years of operation in Giles County,
Tenn. Each week in 2004, I produced a full page of weekly material for
publication in the newspaper about the newspaper’s coverage of 52 separate
subjects pertinent to local, state and national history over a 150-year period.
I received the 1st Place 2004 Tennessee Press Association award for a 48-page
special keepsake section for which I wrote copy, selected additional materials
and illustrations, made all editorial decisions and designed the layout
concept. In 2005, I wrote and designed the layout for a 250-page
book, “…a page from the past,” based
on the 2004 project. More about this project is available at www.pastpage.blogspot.com.

Staff Writer, Your Community Shopper, Ardmore, TN
Contributed feature stories and photographs in addition to news assignments, court,
education, all city and county government and legal issues from August 1998
through March 1999. My areas of coverage were Giles County, Tenn., and
Limestone County, Ala.

Blogs and Books

I have created and currently maintain a
number of blogs for myself and others, as well as organizations in which I am
involved, mostly historic or genealogical in nature. I have authored or
coauthored and edited, including layout and design, a variety of books,
brochures, posters and other media, for both printing and web publication.
Several books are published at www.issuu.com/claudiajohnsonhistory,
each showcasing my research, writing, editing, layout and design skills.

Tennessee Historical Commission Certificate
of Merit for 2012 in the category of the Commissioners'
Special Commendation

Upper Cumberland Ovation Award, Leadership in Tourism Development, 2011

MMA Creative, Annual Outstanding Employee Award, 2006

Tennessee Press Association – 1st place, special section, 2004, annual awards

Tennessee Press Association ­­– 2nd place, news reporting, 2003, annual awards 

Memberships and Affiliations (Current and Past)

Campbellsville Area Association, Public
Relations Chairman; Program Chairman (former)

Elkton Historical Society Board of
Directors (former)

Tennessee College Access and Success Network

Giles County Trail of Tears Foundation,
Strategic Planning Advisory Board (former)

Council for Resource Development for
Community Colleges, National, Tennessee & Southeast
Chapters (former)  

Upper Cumberland Tourism Association, Board
of Directors (former)

Fentress County Chamber of Commerce,
Board of Directors (former)

Alliance for the Cumberlands, Strategic
Planning Advisory Board (former)

Tennessee Preservation Trust (former)

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Society of the Daughters of the
American Revolution

Giles County Historical Society, President
(former), Home Tour Director, 1988, 1989, 1990

Giles County Public Library, fundraising
volunteer (former).


Giles Heirlooms: Historic Recipes and Places, 1989. Author, designer and editor.

Finding Private Mason: Giles Civil War Solider Travels to Smithsonian. Newspaper article series, 2003. Author.

A Page from the Past, 2005. Author.

The Joines Family of Tennessee and Texas, 2005. Author, designer and publisher.

Pvt. G.W. Joines, 53rd Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A., 2005. Author, designer and publisher.
Auburntown Treasured Memories and Recollections Vol. II, 2008. Editor and designer.

Auburntown Treasured Recipes and Recollections, 2009. Editor and designer.

James Gattis, Soldier of the Revolution and his Descendants, 2010. Author, designer and publisher.

Sgt. York: A sketch of Life as it Was, 2010. Author and designer.

Diary of Sgt. York, 2011. Designer.

Carrell Ancestors – War of 1812 Soldier James Carrell and his Descendants, 2012. Author, designer and publisher.

Giles County Carvells, 2013. Author, designer and publisher.

Edward C. Johnson, Civil War Soldier, 2013. Author, designer and publisher.


Grant Experience (sample)

Appalachian Regional Commission – Tourism Development; Distance Learning

USDA – Distance Learning; Community Enhancement

Tennessee Arts Commission – Community Event; Rural Arts Support

Tennessee Board of Regents – Diversity Grants

Governor’s Workforce Partnership – Educational Workforce Development Grants

Humanities Tennessee – Organizational Assessment; Traveling Smithsonian Exhibition

Tennessee Historical Commission – Historic preservation; Preservation planning

HUD – Community Development Block Grants (multiple infrastructure for cities/counties)

Congressional Appropriation – Historic building remediation and stabilization

Lowe’s Grant – Historic preservation

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee – Community Arts; Historic Preservation

Governor’s Highway Safety – Officer Education

Title III – Technology Learning Enhancement Grant

National Endowment for Arts – The Big Read

American Library Association – Traveling National Archives Exhibit

Johnson Foundation – Remediation and Stabilization Grant for Historic Building

U.S. Department Health and Human Services – Healthcare Innovation Challenge