Mastering the Grants Profession

Tracey DBy Tracey Diefenbach, GPC – Director of Grants, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri

2012 GPC Scholar

I feel truly blessed to work for an organization – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri – that is an innovative, one-of-a-kind agency – where we push from good to better to best, embrace challenges, study our craft, and strive to achieve the highest levels of performance. It is this environment and that of my local St. Louis GPA Chapter, where I serve on the Board of Directors, that really inspired me to master my profession.  For years, I attended regular GPA programs, I participated in community training, I read GPA literature and grant blogs, yet I often wondered what more I could do to set myself apart and become an expert in the field. That is when I discovered the GPC exam. This professional credential really goes far beyond three little letters or a piece of paper that says you are certified….it proves your knowledge of the grants field, your ability to perform at the highest level, your integrity and commitment to ethics. It was very clear to me that this was the next essential step in my journey to master my craft.

I can honestly say the timing was far from good –

  • I was five months pregnant with my second child and had a four-year old at home that already demanded a lot of my time and attention.
  • I had no less than 15 looming deadlines, including everything from those tedious 1,200-character count corporate online applications to long and complex government proposals.
  • The cost of the GPC exam – it is extremely reasonable especially in comparison to other professional certifications, but let’s be clear – there are many costs that come with the bundle of baby joy I was preparing for…from medical to diapers, formula and need I mention daycare!

While there were hundreds of excuses to postpone the exam, there were two powerful reasons which prompted me to take that exam and clearly outweighed everything else:
First, thanks to funding from the Grant Professionals Foundation, I was extremely fortunate to have been awarded a GPC scholarship covering the cost of the exam. Second, and even more significantly, for me GPC defines mastering the grants profession.

And so I did it. I took the exam and the rewards, opportunities, and satisfaction I have received are immeasurable.

  • GPC is highly valued in the field by: public and private agencies who benefit from highly qualified grant professionals working to further their mission; funders who are now, more than ever, looking for transparency and accountability; and employers who seek out and pay more for those with three powerful letters behind their name – GPC.
  • GPC puts you in the rankings of a community of grant professionals who are continuing to grow and learn each and every day. Receiving this certification is not the end, rather it is just the beginning. Much like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri has inspired me, the Grant Professionals Certification Institute pushes its members to reach new heights through mentoring others, learning new skills and giving back to the community.

I challenge each of you, just like I have been challenged to master your profession and go get your GPC!