Tag Archive for: Founding Arizona Chapter

My Conference Reflection

by Laura Horochowski, AZ Founding Chapter Scholar

As I think of the Grant Professionals Association’s conference from my work office, I cannot help but think of all the Uber rides that were a part of the trip to San Diego. I was fascinated by the variety of drivers and passengers that were a part of the trip. There were the immigrants from Ethiopia, Venezuela, and Argentina. The young man from Haiti who was just finishing his work shift, studying law, and considering joining the Marines. The gentleman that pointed out all the party features of his SUV, black lights, and speakers, as he told us he usually drives celebrities. The young driver that complained of passengers who had dragged sand into his car, but who then remembered his surprise when a 16-year-old offered to put a towel down so she wouldn’t get sand in the car.

I found a similarly fascinating variety of people at the conference. As a new member of the profession and very much a part of the meandering that gets most of us into grant writing, I really enjoyed hearing about the different life paths and educational backgrounds that landed people in the grant writing profession. There were PhDs, scientists, social workers, Navy veterans, art historians, former business executives, and much, much more. I found the creativity to reinvent oneself, the ability to learn along the way, and the adaptability represented among attendees to be inspiring. The variety also gave me a hopeful outlook for the future. It showed me that being a grant professional can be creative, can lead to new opportunities, can evolve, and it can open doors.

Along with the great people, there was also plenty of interesting conference presentations and speakers. I particularly liked the idea of setting up a content library, analyzing where the gaps are in my professional knowledge and using that to plan for career development. The conference gave me a better perspective about my organization, my current position, where I can go, and plenty of topics from the presentations to digest, explore, and possibly implement.

Also, as people shared about how their agencies incorporated grant writing into their processes or for that matter, didn’t, I realized I work for a great organization – Child Crisis Arizona. I feel very fortunate to be a part of a very cohesive development department that truly works as a team, to have program staff that participate in creating proposals and feed us data and stories for reports, to have the support of management for professional development and a good work environment, and overall, an organization that works hard to implement best practices for programs and staff.

I highly recommend the conference. It is a great place to meet interesting people, and to learn about yourself and the grants professional’s world, plus an opportunity to experience the outside world.

GPA annual conference will be in San Diego! You just have to attend!

by Holly Craw, Arizona Founding Chapter Scholar

I heard this from several of my colleagues at the GPA-AZ Founding Chapter meetings for the past two years. Although I had been quite involved with the chapter for a couple of years, I had not really given much thought to attending the conference. I usually had other things scheduled for that time, and it seemed like a large outlay of funds for the combined expenses, which I wasn’t sure my organization was willing to pay. But San Diego with the possibility of a scholarship? That seemed much more workable than across the country. I was all in!

About the time I received word about the scholarship award, Barb Boggs and Kelli Romero started a Conference thread on Grant Zone. I eagerly read each post, making a note of the MANY great resources and spontaneous group dates being set for a variety of topics. Quickly realizing that the Conference App was the key to success at the event, I capitulated to downloading it on both my laptop and my phone. As a reluctant owner of a smartphone for the past six months, I really don’t want to get caught up in the incredible array of apps and gadgets. However, once loaded, I started to poke around with all the selections, somewhat ignoring the conference games. How fun to see that I could find people I knew among the list of 800 attendees, and I could set my schedule and have the app remind me where I needed to be. There are always so many great breakout topics at conferences that I often feel frustrated in choosing at the event, and I loved making those choices in the quiet of my home ahead of time. I also looked at sponsors and speakers, and finally looked at the games, and was shocked to find out that I already had enough points to be in 32nd place!

Suddenly my competitive side was ignited, and I clicked around a bit more and maxed out at 10th place. Uploading pictures were the only thing holding me back, and my novice skills with the smartphone didn’t take me there yet. When I checked the day before the conference, I still held my place, and I considered what it would take to remain competitive. I did upload one selfie with URL the Squirrel (with an assist from Shelly Wales to set up Facebook on my phone), and that was the extent of my competitive edge with the technology side.

The conference itself was first-rate with a wealth of topics, resources and practical information. After the session which focused on helping the non-grant co-workers to understand what the grants department does and readily supplying needed information, I could see the tremendous value in many of the tips that were shared. I also realized that setting up those processes would take a good bit of work. (May I write a grant for a clone of myself, please?)

I think my greatest takeaway from the conference is that grant professionals truly are wonderful, caring people who desire to stand together with colleagues to make the profession and the world a better place. Sharing of knowledge and expertise seems to flow easily without a sense of territoriality, and it is heartwarming to be part of discussions about the challenges we face to find mutually satisfying solutions.

Thank you so much, GPA National and GPA-AZ, for the scholarship opportunity to attend the conference. I highly recommend applying for the scholarship for first-timers who may be unsure if the time and expense are worth it. You truly won’t regret the decision to attend this great event.

San Diego and “Baby Got Grants”

By TJ Hansell – Arizona Founding Chapter Scholarship

I know what you’re thinking…San Diego is pretty awesome, but “Baby Got Grants” is even awesomer. Yes, awesomer is not a word, but can any word really describe how awesome of an intro that was? I am sure a few of you are looking through your thesauruses and/or scrabble word list as I type this. Speaking of Scrabble, my grandmother was a spelling machine and would repeatedly laugh when she schooled me in Scrabble. I digress, but sometimes you just got to write what comes to mind.

Getting back on track. “Baby Got Grants” was the perfect introduction for a first timer to the GPA National Conference. That experience alone made the trip worth it in many respects, but the rest of the conference was amazing as well. Not only did I get to meet new people; I ran into quite a few familiar faces there. Arizona was certainly represented well in San Diego.

As a first timer, it was great to see so many grant professionals in one area. The wealth of knowledge, experience, and talent was unbelievable at times. When you look at some of the presenters and individuals presenting (Lucy Morgan, Bev Browning, Sharon Skinner, and others) anyone, even a seasoned grant professional, could pick up something to help them in the future. I know I definitely soaked in as much as I could over the conference schedule. The sharing of information was one of the best aspects of the conference. As a seasoned grant professional, I tend to think I know a couple things about grants, but I also know I really don’t know that much at times. The conference proved that and got me really excited about talking to many of you who attended.

I would not have been able to participate without the generous support of the GPF scholarship. Before I knew I was a scholarship recipient, it was a decision between attending myself or sending my team. Luckily, I didn’t have to make that decision, and all of us were able to attend. The scholarship not only helped me, but it helped two others gain valuable knowledge and relationships that will help for years into the future.

Now back to that amazing intro. I would love to see GPA encourage more of their members to come up with ingenious ways to make the grant world fun. I’m thinking “Grants, Grants, Baby” could be a sequel to “Baby Got Grants.” Just throwing that out there.

Privilege of Remembering Through Giving

By Lauren Daniels, GPC; Writing Services

When I decided to enter the grant writing profession, the first thing I did was look for a group or association of colleagues. To me, being a professional meant linking to an association. I found a local group that in turn led me to the American Association of Grant Professionals. (You can tell by the name that was a while back.) I had been writing commercial proposals, but I found a mentor (one of my first colleagues) that guided me through the transition of working with nonprofit and government applicants. That personal involvement set me on a new path. I have been fortunate to be in a profession that has allowed me to have my own profitable business. It didn’t happen overnight but once established, proposal development and project management spawned a satisfying career.

A component of being a professional is the obligation to assist or “bring along” those new to the profession. The recent death of Michael Wells highlighted a benefit of being a part of a group of colleagues. As comments about Michael appeared on Grant Zone, the idea of memorializing him through a scholarship was presented. How fortunate we are, as a profession, to have already institutionalized a charitable nonprofit entity, the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF), that allows us to collectively honor and remember colleagues. We remember them by supporting others through professional development activities such as providing registration fees for the national conference, annual membership dues, and GPC examination fees, or through assisting chapters with regional conferences. GPF services extend to providing a venue for chapters to support their own members through their own objective scholarship program. I especially enjoy hearing the names of the scholarship recipients, while also remembering or honoring those that inspired the rest of us. It is further gratifying hearing those same recipient names mentioned again over time as chapter leaders, national committee members, GPC credentialed professionals, and GPF, GPCI, or GPA board members. To me, this demonstrates investment in a legacy rather than simply making a donation.

To support my profession, I contribute annually to the GPF. This is a part of my yearly charitable giving. For me, it is a privilege and reflection of my gratitude for the good things that I have received. We as colleagues have a couple of options for supporting GPF. We can participate collectively through the Every Chapter Challenge or individually through a personal donation. Recently, GPF has added a monthly giving option for those who prefer distributing their giving over a longer period. I invite you to support our profession by remembering GPF in your annual contribution habits. Remember that Giving is a Privilege.

GPC Scholarship Changed My Career and Life

Kim JoyceBy Kim Joyce, GPC of Kim Joyce & Associates, LLC

2013 GPC Scholar

Nearly six years ago, I went out on my own as an independent grant professional. In the span of two short weeks, I landed my first two clients, quit my full-time job, became self-employed, and never looked back. At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing. But I quickly came across a professional organization with people just like me – the Grant Professionals Association – Arizona Founding Chapter. It was a myriad of personalities and job titles, but we all had one thing in common – we were all grant professionals. In an instant, I belonged to a professional group, and this sea of unknown faces became friends who were there to help.

As I navigated my way through the consulting world, I learned something very quickly. While interviewing with new potential clients (and often the first 6 months of having a new client where they instantly wanted to know what their “ROI” was going to be), I was constantly trying to prove my worth.

At GPA chapter meetings, our President would talk about becoming certified and the benefits of becoming a GPC (gypsy). What did that mean? Why did I need to do that? Would I pass the test? If I didn’t pass the test, would I be able to show my face again?

I thought about it and thought about it, and wanted to take the test. But as a consultant, it is sometimes feast or famine, and it was quite expensive. Could I afford it, and what if I didn’t pass? I desperately wanted to join the ranks of the many colleagues I admired. I too, wanted those three little, yet powerful, letters behind my name (GPC).

After months of perusing the GPCI website, studying the timelines, and figuring out what I thought I should study, I completed my application to see if I was eligible to sit for the exam. Success! Now what? Since I was self-employed and the test was costly, I decided to fill out the application for a scholarship. This application, and becoming a scholarship recipient, changed my career and my life.

I found out at the GPA National conference in Baltimore that I had received the scholarship! I took the test several months later and passed. That was all I had originally wanted – to pass the test. However, looking back, I see how this has changed the path of my career and I am even more grateful now, than I was on that day when I received the scholarship (the same day that Michael Phelps’ mom was a speaker at the conference!).

Since then, amazing things have happened as a result of my certification. I can say that I am among an elite group of 19 in Arizona who are GPCs; I can negotiate contracts at a higher rate; I have been able to secure clients over other grant writers who are not certified; I can explain to others “my worth” and why I am not “just another grant writer”; and most of all, I can mentor others who want to take the test but are afraid – I can give them the push they need to do it (as others did for me), encourage them to apply for the scholarship, and let them know the benefits it can have on their career.  I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come as a result of the scholarship I received from the Grant Professionals Foundation. My consulting business has grown by leaps and bounds, and it is my hope that all scholarship recipients are able to use their strengths, talents, and their certification to advance in, and elevate this profession. Thank you GPF – I am forever grateful!

Every Chapter Challenge Tool Box

ECC Online Tool Box

The Tool Box items are provided as a resource to Chapter Presidents, leaders and members to assist with your fundraising efforts.

Questions? Want to learn more, email us: info@grantprofessionalsfoundation.org


  • Every Chapter Challenge Grant Expectations Blog Article by Danny Blitch
  • Press Release

Chapter Tools:

  • Every Chapter Challenge Top Ten Reasons to Give.pdf
  • Sample Request Letter
  • Sample Thank You Letter

How to Give:

  • Online via PayPal
  • Every Chapter Challenge – Star Gift Form
  • GPF Donation Mail-In Form


16th Annual Conference: BUILDING BRIDGES

Geraldine Whitaker

Principal, GrantWise Consulting, LLC


May, 2015


This year, I was privileged to attend the GPA 16th   Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. I was awarded the Susan Kemp Scholarship which covered my conference fee.

I agreed to spend four hours volunteering my services to support the conference activities. I volunteered at the hospitality table and the Silent Auction. I meet some amazing people from several different states and I learned some interesting facts about the City of Portland. There were various items showcased at the auction especially, books and grant making material, along with several other treats. With hundreds of items on display, GPA raised thousands of dollars and this event was a success, to say the least.

I am writing about my volunteer experience at the conference because this experience taught me so much about what GPA is really all about. By supporting this endeavor, educational opportunities are provided for grant writers and GPA ensures that resources are available to help all grant professionals improve their skills.

Overall, the conference was exceptional. The keynote speaker, plenary session speaker, and featured speaker, as well as the workshop presenters were prepared and well informed. Kent Stroman, the featured speaker, spoke about how to build bridges to relationships with funders. I now understand the “Why” it’s important to build these relationships rather than going out cold and asking a funder for money.

Networking during lunch with other grant professionals was an excellent way to learn and acquire information from attendees. Some very lively discussions were conducted while standing in the buffet lines. Information sharing occurred throughout the entire conference including games and exhibits that were ongoing during each day. The Thursday evening outing, “A Night at the Museum”, was a fun and relaxing way to network and get to meet new people also.

Over 70 workshops were offered at the conference. Each evening I would peruse the program book and deciding which workshops to attend the next day was always a difficult decision. Thanks to the GPA conference committee for providing all the workshops on a USB drive and including it in the conference bag.

The SIG workshop that I attended was for consultants. I learned about different ways to charge a client. We talked about return on investment (ROI), retainers and monthly billing. This workshop was on point for me because I have limited experience with setting fees for my clients.

The session, “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: How to Grow Your Grant Business,” was packed with tips and information that I was able to start using immediately on my return home from the conference. I started to do outreach using grant alert services to let the non-profits in my community know what RFP’s were out that they may be interested in.

“The Power of a Social Media for the Grant Profession” was fantastic. I opened my twitter account during this session. The presenters gave an overview on Google+, Facebook and Pintrest. The information I gained from this course will benefit me as a grant consultant and throughout my daily activities. I can also participate in #Grantchat.

The presenter of “Alignment Ain’t Just for Astrology! It’s for Grants Too!” offered insight into how to conduct a grant search. We discussed using google.docs vs. excel spreadsheets. This was a very intense, well delivered session packed into a limited time space. But the points were well taken.

The workshop, “Your Proposal Must Say This”, was an eye opener about always having a unified message. I learned the importance of always choosing the right words and when space is limited edit, edit, edit. This workshop is a must for the novice grant professional!

The conference title workshop “Building Bridges” was filled with information. I learned how to clue in on grant details and formulate a more targeted approach when applying for funding. Lastly, “Writing Powerful Case Statements to Support Grant Proposals”, emphasized the elements of a case statement, who, what, why, where, how, how much and so what. The “so what” outlines the ultimate impact of the project. This was an excellent workshop for the novice and a refresher for the seasoned grant professional.

The conference was the best three day investment of my time spent this year. I’m impressed by the dedication of the GPA staff who worked tirelessly to make this event the best that it could be. At the end of the day, I’m still in awe and thankful for the opportunity.