J. O'Connell & Associates

Our Team

Jean K. O’Connell



Jean has been meeting the grant development needs of municipalities, school districts, and nonprofit organizations since 1986. In November of 1991, she assumed the position of sole proprietor of J. O’Connell & Associates, Inc., Grant Consultants. Jean has a varied professional background, which includes teaching, serving as an Executive Director of a senior center, and working as a grant writer for another firm. Jean and a partner worked two years in a new grants consulting firm, which soon became J. O’Connell & Associates, Inc.

Jean is a graduate of Buffalo State College, and has a BS and MS in Education, as well as a New York State Teacher’s Certification. In addition to her credentials, she is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Western New York Chapter. In June of 1997, she graduated as a fellow of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management. She enthusiastically embraces the development and implementation of all of the challenges presented in entrepreneurial leadership for the betterment of her business.

The success of J. O’Connell & Associates, Inc., has been recognized by the business community and Jean has received many awards, as well as serving on numerous boards and committees. Jean is a member of, or received recognition from, the following:

  • 2005 – “Women Who Mean Business” Award – Business First
  • 2002, 2003 – Woman of Influence – recognized by Business First
  • 2002, 2003 – Top 50 Woman Owned Businesses in WNY – Business First
  • 2001 – Who Runs WNY Business – Business First
  • 1999 Nomination/Working Woman Magazine – Entrepreneurial Excellence Award
  • Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL)/SUNY at Buffalo – Class of 1997
  • Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association – Treasurer 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2004
  • Buffalo Launch Club, Grand Island, New York, Member Long Range Planning Committee
  • 2011-2016 Clarence Hollow Business Association – President 2012-2016
  • American Planning Association, WNY Chapter
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals, WNY Chapter
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Clarence Chamber of Commerce
  • New York State Teachers Certification



Rick Mancuso

Operations Manager

Recently retired from Clarence Central School District, Rick joins us after more than 20 years as a Chief Financial, Operations and Business Administrator for school districts in WNY. His experience in the municipal environment has given him a thorough understanding of the grant process.

Mary Kearns

Grant Writer & Administrator

With a bachelor’s degree in English, Mary has years of experience as a journalist, writing for online and print publications. She also works as a fundraiser for nonprofits.


Katelyn (Katie) Kerker

Grant Writer & Administrator

With a master’s degree in International Development, Katie has extensive experience in the nonprofit and library services sectors, focused on communications, fundraising, and community development.

Jesse Orrange

Grant Writer & Administrator

Jesse has a master’s degree in Humanities (Anthropology and Women’s Studies) from the University at Buffalo. She has worked for several nonprofits across the Western New York area.