Courtney M. McSwain is an independent writer and creative entrepreneur driven by the belief that the best of us is possible. As a freelance copywriter, she helps creative and social-impact businesses, including nonprofit organizations, incorporate storytelling into their work in order to engage audiences, build community and inspire action. She also seeks to support, motivate and encourage artists and changemakers to stay on the path of their creative calling.
Courtney’s independent writing career builds upon a decade of work in the nonprofit sector, where she has used the written word to tell the story of social change for public policy, philanthropic and general audiences. Most recently, Courtney worked as a development officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit community development organization that works with local partners to transform distressed communities into thriving neighborhoods. As a development officer for LISC, Courtney honed her skills for detailing how community-based programs improve the lives of families across the country. For example, she wrote grant proposals and concept papers showcasing programs that help families increase their income and assets, bridge the digital divide and support entrepreneurs living in low-income neighborhoods.
Courtney has also written about policies that impact families and students within the area of higher education. Prior to joining LISC, Courtney served as a research analyst with the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), where she authored nationally disseminated policy reports on equity in postsecondary education. Essential to her work at IHEP was the ability to couple rigorous quantitative analyses with fist-hand interviews that conveyed the experience of students in higher education. In the report “College Access for the Working Poor: Overcoming Barriers to Succeed in Higher Education,” Courtney detailed first-hand accounts of the challenges working poor students faced while pursuing postsecondary degrees.
Using her writing to support causes she believes in, Courtney volunteered as the director of communications for the Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network, an auxiliary of the Northern Virginia Urban League, for two years. In this capacity, Courtney oversaw all external communications activity, including website maintenance and copywriting, newsletter article assignment and editing, copyediting for a weekly e-newsletter, public relations writing such as press releases and media pitches, and general editing oversight for all externally disseminated material. Additionally, she provided public relations writing services to the parent organization, the Northern Virginia Urban League, garnering press coverage in the Washington Post’s “Root DC” section, Alexandria Gazette, Mount Vernon Voice, Northern Virginia Sun Gazette and the popular philanthropy blog BlackGivesBack.com.
After living in the Washington, DC metro region for 12 years, Courtney relocated back to her hometown of Greensboro, NC where she now resides. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, and her master’s degree in public policy from American University in Washington, DC.