Tag Archive for: GPC credential

Amy made the leap to attend the 2017 National GPA Conference in San Diego


2017 Susan Kemp Memorial Scholarship

by Amy Shankland, GPC

Once upon a time there was a grant professional named Amy who loved her career. She joined the Grant Professionals Association in 2007, became active with her chapter, and attended every national GPA conference starting in 2009. Amy even obtained her GPC in 2010. An unexpected job change in 2015, however, brought a halt to her conference attendance. While she still did some grant work, it wasn’t enough to justify attendance to her employer.

Every day she went to work but missed using her grant skills and experience. Amy also missed her grant professional friends. She made do with the occasional webinar and local GPA meeting, but she knew she was missing out on the big picture for her development.

One day, Amy made the leap to become a full-time grant consultant. She had an amazing client and wanted to become the best possible development director for her organization, the Link Observatory Space Science Institute. She applied for a scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation in order to attend the 2017 National GPA Conference in San Diego.

Because of that, Amy received the Susan Kemp Memorial Scholarship and was finally able to return to the conference to get the latest information on trends in her field. She flew to San Diego in November and was thrilled to be reunited with her grant “peeps” from all over the country. Amy enjoyed her morning walks from the Hyatt to the conference hotel, Paradise Point, and loved her first ever visit to San Diego. The perfect weather, sunshine, and beautiful surroundings kept her alert and open to learning, despite the three-hour time difference.

Because of that, Amy attended workshops that gave her valuable information she could use right away for her organization; networked with others who worked in the science field; and gave her own workshop showing attendees that grant professionals really are superheroes! Amy discovered she loved healthy California food, right down to her last bites of quinoa, rice porridge, and steel cut oatmeal.

Finally, she returned to Indiana with incredible enthusiasm and is already implementing what she learned to help Link Observatory Space Science Institute become Indiana’s Space Center. Her bosses were quickly impressed with her new knowledge and expertise.

THANK YOU, Grant Professionals Foundation!

A Little Snow Didn’t Stop This Test Taker

By Dale Braden, GPC; Gethsemane Grant Consulting Service and Oregon Health & Science University

2016 GPC Scholar

A short version of my background…I’ve worked at Oregon Health & Science University a total of 20 years. Over the last 11 years, I have helped a total of 63 investigators process over 300 different grant applications. I’ve processed small foundation applications to multi-project federal NIH P01 applications. I manage the entire grant process…I read and interpret the RFA, let investigators know the submission timeline, what sections are needed for the application, help prepare the budget, assemble the entire application, route for institutional approvals and ensure the application is complete and submitted on time. Until a year ago, I also managed the post-award processes including financial projections for funded projects.

My goal is to start a part-time consulting service for now eventually growing to full-time consulting. I have been a GPA member since May 2015. I attended the national conference in St. Louis in November 2015 and went to the session explaining about the GPC. I learned that the GPC is a valuable credential for an independent consultant.

It seemed like studying for the exam was the next step to take after the conference. I spent most of 2016 preparing to take the exam. It made sense to me to study for the exam. I enrolled in the “Blueprints for the GPC” course through SmartEGrants. Some of the material was review; some of the material was new to me. For me, the time spent studying was valuable.

I learned about the scholarship opportunity from the GPA website and was excited to apply. I was very happy and honored to be selected to receive the scholarship. The scholarship added inspiration for me to study and pass the exam.

It has been many years since I have taken any kind of exam so I was pretty nervous about it. The day before I was scheduled to take the exam, Portland was shut down by snow! The Portland State University testing center was closed. The day of the exam, it was not snowing, but the roads were still bad. The news said there were no closures though which was a relief. I made it in to the testing center without any incident.

I felt like the multiple-choice section went pretty well. I was nervous about the written section. The applications I process are for medical research. I’m not a scientist and lack the knowledge to help write the grants. The class I took included a practice writing prompt, and I received excellent feedback on my practice attempt. When I finally sat down and read the exam writing prompt, initially, I didn’t really understand the scenario I was presented. I had a fleeting thought that I should just skip the written part!! I think it was brief anxiety induced writer’s block! I was determined to pass and knew that I had to complete the writing section in order to pass. So, I pressed on.

I was relieved to have the exam in my past instead of my future. The next day, the testing center was closed again due to snow!! During the month before I received the notification that I had passed, I waivered back and forth between thinking I should start preparing to retake the written part to having confidence that I had done well enough to pass. I was elated when I read the email and found out I had passed!

Passing the exam has given me renewed confidence I can become a successful grant consultant. My current next step is taking the SmartEGrants “Grant Consulting Essentials” course. The class is providing information, inspiration and resources to help me figure out how to transition into grant consulting.

One of the opportunities I’m considering pursing is to find a consultant who is willing to sub-contract with other consultants. I believe the credential will be valuable in helping other consultants and potential clients know that I am a skilled and qualified grant professional. I believe the GPC will be instrumental in helping me reach my goal of becoming a successful grant consultant. I am grateful for the scholarship which afforded me the opportunity to take the exam.

Leap of Faith

By Amy Knudsen, MA, GPC; Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

2016 GPC Scholar

During my senior year in college, I assisted in writing my first federal grant for an education program I developed while working at a homeless shelter. I could not have predicted that experience would have led me to where I am today, with 25 years of grants writing and 10 years of grants management behind me. I am grateful grant writing gives me an opportunity to use my knowledge and skills to contribute to organizations I am passionate about and to the wider community. As my career progressed, I have long wanted to become more involved with the local grants community. I am fortunate to have found a home with GPA, which provides me opportunities to network with other grant professionals and engage in active learning with chapter meetings, webinars and conferences. Most importantly, I love connecting with people who understand jokes about logic models and character limits and supports grants as a profession.

In addition to networking, joining GPA was also the kick I needed to sit for the GPCI exam. Despite being out of school for MANY years and swearing off exams for the rest of my life, I wanted to take the exam to show my dedication to my profession AND for validation of my chosen profession. However, I kept putting it off until the time was right. After joining GPA two years ago and with the encouragement of my peers, I took the leap of faith last year and decided to apply for a scholarship for the exam. To my surprise, my application was approved. I submitted my packet in September and there was no more procrastination. I took the exam in January 2017 and am happy to report that as of February 1, 2017, I am now a certified grant professional.

I am ready for the next chapter in my professional career and am grateful to GPA for the opportunity to provide a standard of excellence for the grant profession.


7 GPC Scholarships Awarded

Seven Grant Professionals Certification (GPC) Scholarships were awarded through joint support from the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) and Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI). Congratulations to our new scholars!

  • Erin Leigh Birch, Gallatin, TN
  • Dale Braden, Milwaukie, OR
  • Arthur Davis, Portland, OR
  • Amy Knudsen, Des Moines, IA
  • Anna Kraxner, Kansas City, MO
  • Cydney Peters, Houston, TX
  • Nicole Sibilski, Nashville, TN

The GPF is grateful to our donors, and volunteers who make all our scholarships possible!

After the Exam

BethanyBy Bethany Turner, GPC of bmtconsulting
GPC Scholar

When I first learned about the Grant Professional Certification (GPC) through a #GrantChat, I knew I wanted to become a GPC. About a year ago I earnestly started preparing to sit for the GPC exam. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation. This gave me a definite timeline to sit for the exam. I knew I had to take it by September 30, 2016, and that really gave me a lot of motivation.

To be able to sit for the exam, I had to take the eligibility quiz, submit my eligibility packet, and then once it was approved, schedule my exam. The GPCI outlines all the steps and the timeline you need to complete them on their website. Since I had to take the test by September 30, 2016, I scheduled my test at a Kryterion Testing Center near me. The hardest part of scheduling my exam was deciding when I wanted to take it. Kryterion Testing Centers have options all day long. I took both the multiple choice and writing prompt on the same day.

I thought I would feel a huge relief after the test was over, but I more felt anxious and extremely tired. I took the exam on a Thursday, and it took me the whole weekend to feel energy again.

But after taking the exam, I still celebrated with Starbucks and a steak dinner cooked by my husband.

When I received the email to let me know I had passed the GPC exam and become a GPC, we celebrated even more. I sent texts to my family and a few close friends and then made the announcement on my favorite social media sites. I spent part of the day updating my professional profiles, resume, email signatures to include the GPC. My husband brought me flowers. That evening we went out to dinner, GPC’s choice, and got dessert. During that day when I would think about passing the exam, I would just smile to myself. It still brings a smile to my face. I felt a huge sense of relief and accomplishment after I received the official email.

I had lots of people cheering me on through the process, and I appreciated all of their support! Many are GPCs. Knowing that these grant professionals who have gone before me and become GPCs were encouraging me on made such an impact.

Sitting for the GPC exam does take a great deal of preparation. I had to dedicate a lot of time to studying and preparing. The preparation alone to sit for the exam has made me a much better grant professional. It gave me the tools and specifically confidence I needed to feel like a true professional.

Bio: Bethany Turner is a Grant Professional Certified (GPC) and owner of bmtconsulting – funding your future. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies from Ball State University, Bethany got her start in the grant professional as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in 2011.Since becoming a grant professional, Bethany has worked with many different organizations securing more than a million dollars in federal, state, and private foundation funds. These grant monies have been awarded for disaster response and rebuilding, humanitarian aid, grief counseling, arts and culture, arts education, drama therapy, historic preservation, and higher education. In 2015, Bethany earned a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration from Western Kentucky University. Bethany loves reading, traveling (anywhere and everywhere), and cheering on The Ohio State Buckeyes and Denver Broncos.

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!

Realizing My Worth as a Grants Manager

Meghann AdamsBy Meghann Adams, GPC – Grants Manager at Zoo Atlanta

2014 GPC Scholar

I grew up wanting to be an English teacher just like my dad. Or I could be a movie director. My dad and I even joked about me growing up to be a beer truck driver. You get to travel at least, right? Well, needless to say, I did not pursue any of those career paths. I decided to be a grant professional. When I tell people what I do for a living, they either cringe at the thought of writing or they instantly become my best friend (because they could really use a grant writer!).

I recognize the need to educate others about our commonly misunderstood occupation. We need to share with others not only the purpose of grants, but also our role as a grant professional. All of us are making a positive impact in some way within our organizations, our communities, our world. Most of us collaborate with so many different people or ghost write for our organization’s leaders that we forget we are an important piece of the puzzle too. We need to trust in ourselves and speak up because we are a vital part of the team.

Now that I know I am on my most fulfilling career path, I am focused on improving my skills, knowledge and experience as a Grants Manager. I became involved with the Grant Professionals Association on a local and national level. I had been considering pursuing the CFRE, but when I learned about the GPC, I knew that was the credential that made the most sense for me.

Thanks to the GPC scholarship that I received from the Grant Professionals Foundation, I was able to pursue my professional development goal of earning my GPC in a short amount of time. My husband and I were ready to start our family, so time was of the essence. When I found out we were expecting twins, I realized I needed to obtain my GPC NOW or it may never get done. My life was going to change tremendously in a short amount of time, and I needed to do this first for myself and my career.

The fact that I had two babies on the way motivated me to study hard, read everything I could get my hands on and chat with seasoned colleagues to prepare for the GPC exam. As I sat down to take the exam, morning sickness in full swing, I hoped that my hard work would pay off. It did. Less than a year after earning my GPC, my employer promoted me to Grants Manager and I received a nice raise as well. I was also asked to conduct an organization-wide workshop about grants for our employees that was well received. I am fortunate because my supervisors understand and value the importance of professional development. They fully support my efforts to continually grow and learn as a grant professional. By earning my GPC, I have shown them that I am committed to my profession and my employer. I help put our best foot forward when I cultivate grantmakers. Going through the process of becoming certified has made me realize that people value me and my contributions.

After obtaining my GPC, I am more confident in myself since I took the extra steps to prove that I have the education, experience, community involvement and ethics of a certified grant professional. Sure, it is not required to have a GPC to be a successful grant writer, but in my experience, it has furthered the success of my career and helped me gain respect for the experience and knowledge that I bring to the table.

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!

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.

Before the Exam

By Bethany Turner – Grant Writer, Big Sandy Community & Technical College

GPC Scholar


When I first learned about the Grant Professional Certification (GPC) exam, I knew I wanted to become a GPC. I understood the importance of the certification to my career and our profession. I’m an achiever by nature and by nurture. If there is some credential to obtain or a way to set myself apart, I want to do it. There are not many degree options specific to the nonprofit sector, and there are none specifically relating to grantsmanship. The GPC is the only way to set yourself up as an authority and expert in the field.


At the time, I was not eligible to sit for the exam. As soon as I reached the three-year mark as a grant professional, I started thinking more and more about taking the exam, but the cost of the exam kept standing in my way. So when members of the #GrantChat community tweeted the link to the scholarship application, I jumped on the opportunity to apply. The application was not difficult. It takes just a little time and thoughtfulness. In September 2015, I submitted my application. During the Grant Professional Association Conference in November, they announced the winners. I was ecstatic and so thankful to learn I had been awarded the scholarship!


Earning the scholarship has relieved the stress of figuring out how to pay for the GPC exam. It means taking the exam will not be a financial burden to my family. It is giving me the motivation to study hard for the exam, learning and growing as a grant professional. The scholarship means I am now able to take the next step to further my career. It also means I can better help others because I am becoming a better grant professional.


Thank you to all who support the Grant Professional Foundation. Without you, I would not be sitting for the GPC exam later this year.



Bio: Bethany Turner knew she wanted to work in the nonprofit sector from a young age. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies at Ball State University, she started her grant profession as an AmeriCorps VISTA and fell in love with the profession. Bethany is the Grant Coordinator for Muncie Civic Theatre, the Grant Writer with Big Sandy Community and Technical College, and a consultant. She loves reading, traveling (everywhere and anywhere), and cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes and Denver Broncos.