GPC Exam Scholarship Reflection, by Liz Forster

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Since I first started writing grants as a side gig in 2017 and met Diane Leonard, GPC, I’ve been dreaming of the day when I’d take my GPC exam. By 2023, I knew I was qualified but I still wasn’t sure I was ready to take the exam. I was busy with a full client load and the exam fee was prohibitively expensive after a year of intentionally sparse work as I transitioned to motherhood. So I applied for a scholarship and was blown away to be selected as one of only a handful of recipients! 

As someone who was mostly self-taught as a grant consultant, I was doing well but knew there was still SO MUCH I didn’t know. I knew that preparing for the exam would help me position my consulting business on a more solid foundation. I knew that it would give me credibility among fellow grant pros. And I also wanted to gain knowledge and credibility to advance equity in my local United Way’s grantmaking procedures (I had joined the board and felt that our process was much too complicated and was leaving out deserving nonprofits). 

After participating in a study group led graciously by Isabel Milkovich and studying as time allowed over several months, I took the exam on an exhausting day in November. In January, I heard that I passed! 

Taking the exam provided all the benefits that I expected, plus some unexpected gains! Since adding my credential to my GPA Consultant Directory Listing, I’ve received more new client inquiries from the directory in ONE month than I typically get in a year! I’m not positive if my GPC is the only factor in this new demand, but I’m certainly feeling a lot more confident these days as I continue to refine my business strategies. 

Thanks to the scholarship that enabled me to earn my GPC, I’m looking forward to an upcoming year filled with meaningful work with great clients. I remain so grateful and indebted to the many people who donated to make this scholarship possible – THANK YOU!