Our Story

Our founder, Mustafa Hasnain’s journey to create Grant Assistant was fueled by a deep-seated desire to level the playing field in the world of grant solicitation. As an immigrant to the United States, he experienced firsthand the complexities and challenges of the proposal writing process, a world that seemed inaccessible to those who weren't well-versed in its intricate lexicon. Brilliant ideas and projects fell by the wayside simply because their proponents lacked the necessary proposal-writing skills.

Determined to solve this problem, he envisioned a toolkit that would democratize the proposal creation process, ensuring that the merit of one's ideas would determine their success. Joining forces with Sean C. Carroll, ex-COO of USAID, with his deep experience and belief in the tool's potential underscored its capacity for global impact, fostering localization efforts for international organizations. Dr. Gilberto Lopez, a first-generation American who rose from rural farm life to a Harvard doctorate, saw Grant Assistant as a means to empower innovators. Bringing a strategic edge, Syed Murtaza, Hans Miller, and Rob Russell, with their experience in startups, finance, and government contracting, emphasize the platform's potential as a sustainable, scalable business and a strategic asset in the proposal production process.

Our Leadership Team

Mustafa Hasnain


Innovative media and technology leader with 20+ years of experience leading successful ventures in international development, technology, and communication, M.Sc, London School of Economics, UK.

Sean Carroll


International development leader with 35+ years' experience working in 75+ countries, Former COO and Chief of Staff at USAID, MIPP from Johns Hopkins/SAIS, and BSFS from Georgetown University.

Hans Miller


Seasoned entrepreneur with multiple successful exits. Founder/CEO of Airside Mobile (d/b/a Mobile Passport); former DHS executive; McKinsey | BA from Harvard, MSFS from Georgetown, MBA from Wharton.

Syed Murtaza


Ex-Corporate Banker | 10+ years of experience | Asia and the Middle East | Entrepreneur leading ventures in Content Creation, Animation, and Technology | Bachelor's degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Rob Russell


25+ years experience as leader of BD & sales in the government sector with large and small enterprises, including Thomson Reuters | BA & MBA from William & Mary.

Dr. Gilberto Lopez

Director research

Social and behavioral scientist with over 15 years of research and teaching experience. Doctorate from Harvard University, MPH from Johns Hopkins University, and MA from Southern Methodist University.

Charles Fromm

Director of Proposal Strategy

Strategy | Proposal development and donor reporting specialist with over 15 years of experience with UN agencies, state donors, and NGOs | MA from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment, New York.

Yahya Ehsan

Creative Director

Creative design director | 18+ years of experience | Asia and the Middle East | Creative Director in Animation and Technology | MA in Multimedia Arts, Gold Medalist.

Our Advisory Board

Dr. William Steiger

Dr. Bill Steiger most recently was Chief of Staff at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Previously, he was the managing director of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.

Bush Foundation fellow.

Dr. Wilneida Negron

Specializes in responsible innovation practices.

Advisor to Responsible Innovation Labs and Global. Task Force on Inclusive AI for the Partnership on AI.

Andrew Weinstein

Founder and CEO of Ridgeback Communications, a media relations and public affairs practice led by a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of experience in designing and implementing effective communications strategies.

Mike Zaneis

Leader in digital advertising, self-regulation, and cybersecurity.

President and CEO of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).

Former EVP and General Counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Neal Thurman

Serial entrepreneur and global education leader.

CEO of the Brand Safety Institute.

BA from Johns Hopkins University, MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Faith Grant

20+ years in public relations and management.

Smith College Alumnus in Government and Latin America Studies.

Heath Quakenbush

Expert in information technology and business strategy.

Leads Perrigo's Global Information Security for the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Member of governance groups for technology-business alignment in a secure framework.

Nick Martin

educator, technologist, and social entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in international development.

Founder and CEO TechChange, Nick at Noon.

Adjunct professor, Georgetown U, GWU and Columbia.

MA Peace and Education, University of Peace (UPeace) UN Mandated.

Patrick Schmitt

Co-founder of FreeWill, instrumental in generating over $8.8 billion in diverse charitable contributions.

Former email fundraising strategist for President Obama and Head of Innovation at Change.org

BS from Georgetown University, MBA from Stanford University.

Named one of the Top 50 Philanthropists in the World by Town & Country with co-founder Jenny.