ROI from GPC Scholarship: Promotion, Expanded Knowledge, Stronger Network

Julie Boll

By Julie Boll, Director of Grants, Quincy University

GPC Scholar

Let’s cut to the chase: the most obvious and measurable Return on Investment of the GPC scholarship was a promotion to Grants Director and a raise. It wasn’t just the GPC credential, of course, but the credential was absolutely part of a series of events and achievements that led to my promotion. The GPC scholarship literally catapulted me into a new level of grant professionalism. I now have a broader knowledge of the grants profession, I have a much stronger network of grant professionals (you guys are awesome people!), and I have seen a greater level of respect from my colleagues.

Now back to the beginning: I was awarded the GPC scholarship in the fall of 2014 at the GPA conference in Portland. This was the second time I had applied for the scholarship. I took that initial step because, like all of us, my life is crazy-busy and it was a way of “forcing” myself to take action on this particular professional goal. When I won the GPC scholarship, it was no longer optional for me to pursue my GPC. The scholarship held me accountable: I had a timetable and I had a deadline. And more importantly, other people knew about it!

Preparing for the GPC exam prompted me to explore subjects and topics I otherwise “didn’t have time for,” so it launched an intense period of learning and growing for me. As an avowed introvert, I generally stay in my “lane”. Like many introverts who end up in the grant-writing field, I thought if I did enough research (in my office, by myself), I could figure it out. When I was confronted with the comprehensiveness of the exam, I realized that I needed resources beyond the study guide. I needed to step outside my comfort zone and get to know other professionals in the field. I would never have done such a thing on my own because of a myriad of respectable reasons, but mostly because I am an introvert.

Thankfully, I am just a couple hours’ drive from the St. Louis Regional GPA Chapter, which offered a weekly GPC study session that was enormously helpful as I prepared for the exam. There I found a small band of accomplished grant professionals willing to teach and mentor others. The study sessions covered everything from the fundamentals, to ethics, to effective communication tools for managing a grants team. I learned how grant professionals from a variety of nonprofit sectors operated and found success. I learned from one-man-shop grant professionals and professionals who specialized in a specific type of funding. What a diverse field we are in!

There is a level of credibility the GPC credential brings, and more importantly, a level of confidence that results from earning it. I feel more equipped to face the ever changing challenges of the grant field. I can create a logic model, I know how to look up guidelines in the CFR, and I have learned better ways to create and manage grant development teams. With that knowledge and confidence, I am more direct with my colleagues and as a result, more effective.

For those of you toying with the idea of pursing your GPC credential: apply for the scholarship. Make a case for yourself, your institution, and your region. If at first you don’t succeed, apply again.

You actually LIKE writing grants?


By Katy Shoemaker, Grant Writer, Thanksgiving Point Institute

Leadership Member Scholar – Utah Chapter

Upon graduating college or entering the first few years of your career, the question, “What is your direction and what are you going to do for a profession?” is constantly posed. Society creates a pressure for those entering their career, those exploring new careers and those who have lost their way to find direction. Directions could be found in the most unobvious places, when one is most unsuspecting. My direction, whether it be life, career or both, was found through writing grants and becoming a part of the Grant Professionals Association-Utah Chapter.

GPA has been my connection and entry-way into the grants field in so many ways. My year of public service that I completed with AmeriCorps VISTA led me blindly into a GPA-Utah Chapter training one sunny afternoon, and I was hooked. The people, professionalism, topics and the networking were just profound. I immediately felt as though I was among a group of my peers in the grants field and this was a welcoming feeling. After this training, I was graciously provided with a membership to GPA through the organization that I was employed with. I joined the Communications Committee and was soon asked to be the Vice President of the chapter. This soared me to levels I never even imagined possible. I found myself representing GPA everywhere I went, to whomever would listen. I wanted everyone in our community to know what a great organization GPA is and what a wealth of helpful professional development resources for grant and development professionals it provides.

As such, the feeling was profound when I was notified that I was selected to receive a membership scholarship through the Grants Professionals Foundation, a smile fell across my face and I felt so grateful. I was at a point in my career where I was unsure if I would be able to financially afford the cost of the membership on my own, and this was detrimental to my professional growth and development. I couldn’t imagine my life without being involved in GPA and this scholarship allowed me the opportunity to continue to be not only involved, but to professionally grow and develop within my grant community.

Being involved in GPA in fact has made me become a more passionate grant professional in my community. My favorite question is, “You actually LIKE writing grants?”. Every time I am asked this question I actually laugh out loud (which probably makes me seem even more crazy), but it is true, I find it so funny that other people, especially in the nonprofit sector ask me if I like my job. Well of course I like my job, if I didn’t like it; I would choose something else to do. I choose to be a grant writer because I want to make a difference in my community. Grant writing and being a grant professional makes a different type of impact than say someone who is working directly with clients in a programmatic way and oftentimes, it is hard for the other half to see how I am making a difference. Being involved with GPA though, has taught me that no matter how small or large, grant professionals make a huge impact. We are the wheels making the vehicle run and are essentially vital to the success and impact that our organizations make for our communities.

My GPA membership is invaluable and I would not trade it for anything else. This membership scholarship has allowed me to continue to lead my chapter into great and innovative directions. My career has grown because of this opportunity, meeting other professionals in the field and even becoming involved in contract grant writing work. It has allowed me to reach my professional goals, attend training that furthered the fundraising mission of the organization I am employed with and to push myself as a grant writer and fundraising professional. I am so completely grateful for this opportunity and for being selected to receive a scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation.

GPA Membership = Networking & Collaboration

Janell Harvey

By Dr. Janell Harvey, Associate Professor of Business, DeVry University

Renewing Member Scholar – S. Shore Indiana Chapter

As a Professor of Business and fundraising professional, membership in the Grant Professionals Association has afforded me a wealth of opportunities. Networking with like-minded people has allowed me to better understand fund development trends in a number of areas. For example, I am a member of the Faith Based Special Interest Group (SIG). Recently, the group leader sent out information allowing members to introduce themselves and the groups that they advocate for. This engagement certainly sparked interest between members resulting in ongoing communication. Most importantly it shed light on the causes that we care for most. I anticipate that great collaboration will emerge from there.

My involvement with the Grant Professionals Association has also led to the publication of a journal article and participation on both the GPF and GPA’s national board of directors. I am so elated to have the opportunity to work with such brilliant individuals while promoting integrity and sustainability within the grant profession.

Last year, I was awarded a membership scholarship by the Grant Professionals Foundation. I have a wonderful seven year old son who is hearing impaired. Costs associated with some of his necessary equipment led to the need for additional support. When I received the funds, I was so elated. I couldn’t imagine any gaps in my membership. I whole-heartedly thank the foundation for rendering their support as I know there were others who too were in need.

I look forward to the lifelong learning experiences that the Grant Professionals Association provides. Ultimately, I look forward to sharing my knowledge with other professionals who are not yet members with hopes to spark their interest.

GPC Exam and Conference Scholarships deadline is July 1st

The 2016 GPA Conference and GPC Exam Scholarships close, July 1!

These applications are only open once a year, so get your apps in while there is still time!

Want to earn your GPC, or go to the GPA Annual Conference 2016 in Atlanta? Below is the link to apply.

Conference & GPC Exam Scholarship:

Special thanks to our partners at ZoomGrants and the Grant Professionals Association!


The Grant Professionals Foundation offers three types of scholarships.

Grant Professionals Association Conference – offered annually (closes July 1, 2016)

Grant Professionals GPC Exam – offered annually (closes July 1, 2016)

Grant Professionals Association Membership – offered two times per year (October – March and April – September)