Tag Archive for: Grant Professionals Foundation

Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference 2018

River Wilson, 2018 GPF Conference Scholar

Attending the Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference in Chicago this year seemed impossible for me. I am the development manager for a small hospital foundation in Dayton, Ohio, with a staff of just four people. In January of this year, the decision was made that our hospital would close. As our foundation grieves the loss of our home, we’ve shifted our focus to the vital process of strategic planning to continue our Catholic mission in an underserved and impoverished part of our city. I knew that the educational opportunity that the Annual Conference provided would help me better serve my foundation, our funders, and most importantly, our community during this critical point in our history. The Annual Conference would provide connections and information that would prove invaluable not just to me in my own work, but to my health system as we restructure our approach to philanthropy and confirm our continuing mission.

I received both a scholarship for registration and travel from my GPA Ohio Valley Chapter as well as the registration scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation, allowing me to pass along my chapter scholarship to be redistributed within my local chapter. As a result, a total of eight grant professionals from the Ohio Valley Chapter were able to attend the Annual Conference. Many of my fellow chapter members, like me, attended for the first time. It is my hope that this excellent turnout creates a local buzz of excitement for next year’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., to recruit new chapter members as well as GPA Conference attendees.

I arrived in Chicago excited to learn as much as I could during the Annual Conference, and to meet the Grant Professional Association staff whom had made my experience in the GPA online community and mentoring program so amazing this past year. It was so good to finally meet these talented individuals in person at the registration desk and the social media reception. My conference navigator, Amanda Day, made me feel so welcome. I was also able to meet my 2018 mentor, Andrea Ferreira, in person, and volunteer as her Session Ambassador. Andrea’s session seemed as if it was designed just for me.

Andrea, a grant professional for a large hospital network in Boston, presented on the role of a grant professional in a larger development department. Since my hospital closed, I’m moving from the position of Development Manager on a team of four to the position of Grant Writer on a team of more than 20 development staff, working in collaboration to fundraise for four hospital foundations, including my own. Her session spoke to the challenges of a grant writer having to wear many hats and attend to “other duties as assigned” all while maintaining relationships with funders and meeting ever-looming deadlines. I learned how best to communicate with my team and engage others to work with me, whether they are major gifts officers or program managers, to realize the value of solid grant programs.

When choosing my breakout sessions, I so appreciated the variety of topics available. I attended Trends in Grants; the Health Care Special Interest Group; Help the US Department of Health and Human Services Reinvent Grants Management; Grants and the Capital Campaign; Washington- Swimming through the Federal Grants Swamp; IGNITE-Eight Topics from Eight Successful Grant Pros; Strategic Planning-When Ideal Isn’t an Option; and Who Knew Stephen King Was a Grant Writing Tipster? As a new grant writer, I was careful to choose the topics that related most to my work and wouldn’t go over my head in terms of content, but I was also on a fact-finding mission on behalf of my foundation, to increase their knowledge of grants, and of course, contribute to the advancement of the profession. I have only completed one federal grant application, but I attended the Health and Human Services session to learn more about what is behind the scenes when grants.gov requests information that I’m certain is unrelated to the project at hand. I gleaned more information on this topic during Washington: Swimming through the Federal Grants Swamp, where attendees asked compelling questions of the presenter.

Finally, at the Health Care Special Interest group, I learned that while federal funding has a certain allure, these applications are most frequently left to the Principle Investigators of the healthcare world, rather than foundation grant writers. This information was eye-opening as I have been dipping my toe in federal funding opportunities for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

I was hyper-conscious of another fact when attending the Annual Conference: I was one of the only hospital grant writers present from Montgomery County, Ohio—a region often referred to as “The Epicenter of The Opiate Epidemic”. It was cathartic to meet with other health care professionals from other parts of the country that are struggling with the same issues I have had in funding substance abuse programs. I met another young grant writer, Jennifer Wright, from Philadelphia F.I.G.H.T., who seemed to fund very similar health programs as my foundation does, including a Federally Qualified Health Center. It was amazing to connect and network with someone that faces so many of the same issues and takes home so many of the same worries and stressors as I do when I think about the importance of the programs I’m charged with funding.

I felt empowered attending the breakout session on Grants and the Capital Campaign. An issue that often arises when working in a large health care system like mine is that the development department is too frequently the last to know of large construction projects or purchases of equipment. Learning the cadence of a successful, multi-year capital campaign, and how crucial it is to keep funders informed in the earliest phases of such projects is something I’ll communicate to leadership in my organization and work toward in the coming year. My next focus is a capital campaign for a construction project that will increase access to preventative healthcare for homeless women and children in my region, and I know that the information I took from this session is going to contribute to whatever success I have in the future.

I left the conference feeling like I’m a better grant writer for having attended the annual conference, not just because of the educational component, but for the camaraderie I discovered among grant professionals. In my own chapter, I’m one of only two hospital fundraisers, and the other hospital fundraiser is from our local children’s hospital, so there isn’t a lot of overlap in our work. Finding contacts from other hospital systems and meeting other Catholic fundraisers was inspiring. Locally, sometimes other grant writers in your niche seem standoffish as we are often ostensibly competing for the same funding. But on a national level at the annual conference, there was more freedom of communication with similar funders from other areas, and there was more an attitude of “everybody wins when everybody wins” as Jo Miller said so eloquently.

During one of my sessions, I was feeling particularly down. I don’t travel well, I never have, and I think the mere hour time change was getting the best of me. I was feeling guilty for yawning during a particularly upbeat and informative session, but I was exhausted, as if I’d stayed up all night writing against a deadline. Suddenly, the presenter randomly displayed a photo of Jesuit ruins in Paraguay on the screen. I thought to myself, “This is a presentation on the United States Office of Budget and Management. What are we doing in Paraguay?” And it was soon revealed to me that the presenter had pulled up an article from the Washington Post about how the social stability of a geographic region that used to be a Jesuit mission in Paraguay still shows a benefit from that mission having been there today. The Jesuits were driven out of the region 250 years ago, yet the impact of their investment in the empowerment of the people of the region still has an impact on literacy and school attendance to this day. “Investing in people produces long term returns” was the point of the article. My takeaway is that I don’t need to see a return on investment for my time in the present day—as much as I’d like to see it—the work we do as grant writers has longevity.

I cannot express in words the gratitude I feel to the Grant Professionals Foundation and my fellow members who support it, whether as donors or volunteers—but because I am a grant writer, I must try! I didn’t think that I’d be able to afford this incredible educational opportunity, but I also felt I couldn’t afford to miss it, considering my expanding role as a grant writer. I know now that I was right on both counts, and that without the generosity of the Grant Professionals Foundation, I would not have been able to attend.





The Every Chapter Challenge campaign is THE annual campaign to support grant professionals and advance the grants profession! Funds raised provide scholarships to support GPA membership, credentialing and Annual Conference attendance! Help us rebrand this campaign today!
The GPF Annual Campaign will be rebranded in 2019, and we need a new name!
The “Name the Campaign” Contest goes from now until December 31, 2018.
The winner will receive a year’s membership to the Grant Professionals Association (a $225 value)!
To enter, simply email your ideas (as many as you want to submit!) to micki@lakeviewconsulting.net.
Only ideas submitted prior to 12/31 will be entered in the contest. 

GPF Silent Auction Online Bidding Opens 10/31/18

Get ready to bid, bid, bid! Our annual Silent Auction opens October 31,2018: https://www.biddingOwl.com/GPF. Bid early and often. Treat yourself, get your holiday shopping done or score that great trip you’ve always wanted. See you at #GPAConf18 in Chicago at the Swissotel, and don’t forget about our Wine Cork Pull fundraiser also. Here are some of the great items up for bid.

  • Adele Sheet Music
  • Handmade Ugandan crafts from Obwaagazi Children’s Foundation
  • Starbucks gift cards
  • Chicago Bears Legend helmet
  • Signed Avengers movie poster
  • Bruce Springsteen electric guitar
  • Taylor Swift acoustic guitar
  • B. King autographed record album
  • Princess Leia Organa
  • Big Bang Theory cast 11×15 poster
  • Barack Obama 11×14 photo
  • Carinne gold drop earrings and pendant in abalone shell
  • Ultimate meditation and relaxation kit
  • Corky’s BBQ gift card
  • Boston skyline votive
  • Cajun and Creole cooking collection
  • Sowing the seeds of grant writing success basket
  • For serious coffee drinkers only gift assortment
  • SmarEGrants grant professionals course and community
  • Cooperstown bat collectible
  • Golf lessons and vacations
  • Ski and tropical vacation trips
  • New England, Italy, Las Vegas, California, Costa Rica, Canada trips
  • Office Feng Shui kit for grant pros

We Need Your Help! A Letter to the GPF Board and Grant Professionals

Due to an increased focus on Fundraising and the effects on our Marketing and ECC Committees, I am asking for volunteers to help staff these committees. Both will have a lot to do over the next year or two, and, the more resources they have, the better!

I have made a list of the desired skills sets each committee chair outlined. I am requesting that all of you consider volunteering for one of these committees. In addition, please send out this information to your network, as I would like for this to have as broad a reach as possible. GPF Committees are a great way to get involved in the Foundation without the commitment of a board seat. Committee meetings are usually held by conference call either monthly or bi-monthly for an hour.

The ECC Committee will be rebranding the current ECC program in the coming year and needs the following skills sets:

  • Marketing background
  • Calling people
  • Communications
  • Graphic Design person

If you or someone in your network wishes to volunteer of the ECC Committee, please email Kristi Crawford (Kristi.Crawford@sanfordhealth.org) or Susan Caldwell (susancaldwell1962@gmail.com).


The Marketing Committee is an integral part of the success of our fundraising plan and needs those with the following skill sets. In addition, we are looking for a Marketing Chair (or co-Chairs) starting in 2019:

  • Sticktoitiveness
  • Passion, time and willingness to regularly, consistently promote GPF through several social media platforms (including GrantChat) on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
  • Ability to complete volunteer tasks independently and with little supervision
  • Experience with fundraising through social media
  • Experience creating scopes of work for vendors and marketing, business and/or social media plans
  • Good organizational/time management skills
  • Strong speaking and writing communication skills
  • Graphic design experience or willingness to learn (for ads, social media, website, etc)
  • Website design experience
  • Blog writing experience
  • Mail chimp experience

If you wish to volunteer for the Marketing Committee (or wish to chair or help chair that committee), please email Dr. Judy Riffle at uscdrj@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance for your willingness to help and to help promote these needs to a broad GPA audience!

Micki Vandeloo, GPC
Chair, Grant Professionals Foundation Board

Need a reason to make a gift to support the grant profession?

Here’s one that impacts you in a direct and personal way.

When most of us joined GPA, we weren’t thinking about advancing the profession. We were focused on our development as grant writers by taking advantage of the many educational opportunities and benefits of networking with other grant writers.

But there’s another side to being part of GPA.

It gives us the ability to positively impact the entire profession by helping ensure that other grant writers are successful. In the end, we all benefit because the better we are at our jobs, the more the grant writing profession grows in credibility and stature.

I give to several nonprofits throughout the year but the gift I make every month to the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) is about me and my future.

I know those funds are being used to pay for GPA memberships, national conference scholarships and increasing the number of members who are Grant Professional Certified. Scholarships go to members who don’t have the financial means to become a member or take advantage of GPA educational and career advancement opportunities.

I benefit and GPA benefits because all these individuals will improve their skills and win more money for their nonprofits.

Please join other GPF donors and me and make a gift to support the GPF 2018 fundraising campaign. Make a one-time gift or spread it out over the entire year. Over the coming months and at the national conference, you will learn more about how your gift impacted the careers and lives of other grant writers.

Giving to support GPF scholarships is one way to influence how well all grant writers do their jobs and ultimately how our profession is perceived. Make a gift today!

Susan Caldwell, CFRE
GPF Board of Directors



The GPF Every Chapter Challenge

Why you should give…

One thing I have learned about grant writing – there is always something new to learn. The world of grant writing is not a place that we want to walk alone. From government grants to corporations to foundations, developing a grant proposal can be complicated, labor-intensive and full of twists and turns. It can also be a lonely profession. I need other grant professionals to network with and learn from.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t always have the financial means to afford the learning experiences and networking that is so important to developing our grant skills. The Grant Professionals Foundation was formed specifically to provide opportunities for GPA members who need the additional resources to pursue professional development, the GPC credential or simply to pay membership dues.

The annual Every Chapter Challenge plays a big part in making that happen. GPF is calling on all GPA chapters across the country to step up and support the campaign. Our challenge goal for each chapter is $250. Many chapters are also competing to become this year’s Star Chapter, a distinction awarded to the chapter which gives the most to the campaign.

Funds raised by the campaign will be used to award scholarships for the GPA Conference, the GPCTM Credentialing Program, GPA Membership and Regional Conference Sponsorships. Chapters have the distinct opportunity to invest in growing the grant profession and helping their fellow grant writers improve their skills.

But it’s not just about growing the profession and individual grant professionals. It is also about the critical work that the agencies, organizations, and institutions would not be able to do without their grant writers in the trenches, sweating over deadlines, trying to make sense of the latest curveball thrown in an application. Every time we help another grant writer become better at their profession, we are also helping the myriad of nonprofits that can do good works because of the expertise of their grant writers.

I’ve had the opportunity to review applications for the GPA Conference Scholarships. The scholarships have been awarded every year since 2007 by the Grant Professionals Foundation. One common bond between all the applicants was a sincere desire to get better at their job.

One particular applicant put it this way, “It is easy to get bogged down in our day to day reporting and sustainability sections, which leaves little mental room for growth and new ways of thinking. However, putting away my computer and research for four days so I can focus on thinking about the grant process and the grant world will, I hope, open me up for Aha! moments and fresh perspectives.”

Reading those applications reinforced my commitment to the important work of the Grant Professionals Foundation. We hope every GPA chapter will join us in raising the funds that directly support individual grant professionals, the grant profession and most of all, the nonprofits that are positively impacting lives every day throughout our nation and the world.

Susan Caldwell, Co-Chair
Every Chapter Challenge

International Grant Professionals Day 2018


International Grant Professionals Day – March 9, 2018

Overland Park, KS: The Grant Professionals Association (GPA) announces the fourth annual International Grant Professionals Day to be held on March 9, 2018. International Grant Professionals Day increases awareness internationally of the work grant professionals perform as well as celebrates the work of grant professionals, who serve as administrators, consultants, managers, grant-makers, and writers.

Every day, grant professionals work diligently, usually behind the scenes, to seek grant opportunities, administer projects and implement important programs for the benefit of society’s disadvantaged and underserved people. These talented professionals are dedicated to providing the highest standard of ethics, quality program development, thoughtful project implementation and wise financial stewardship. Often, those standards extend beyond the mere financial and include capacity support, long-term solutions to challenges, fundraising assistance, expert project management, sustainable programming and so much more.

“Please join me in celebrating International Grant Professionals Day. Grant professionals are actively involved in making things happen in our society, from public works to helping the less fortunate. All of us are impacted by the hard work that grant professionals accomplish to make our communities better. Please take some time to thank a grant professional today.” stated Jo Miller, GPC-President of GPA.

Events planned for March 9, 2018 encourage grant professionals and their organizations to celebrate themselves, the profession and highlight important issues faced by grant professionals.

GPA is a professional organization that builds and supports a community of grant professionals committed to serving the greater public good. We have partnered in this effort with GPCI, the grant profession’s organization that is dedicated to promoting competency and ethical practices within the field of grantsmanship, and the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF), the fundraising partner ensuring that resources are available to train, credential and advocate for all grant professionals.

For more information, visit the International Grant Professionals Week web page at www.grantprofessionals.org/igpd.

For Immediate Release Contact:

Kelli Romero, Membership & Marketing Director

Grant Professionals Association


(913) 788-3000

GPA Member Benefits are Endless

By DeaRonda Harrison

Taking the leap and sharing with my peers to work with nonprofits I could see the stare and gaze of concern in their eyes. In 2013, I attended my first GPA conference where I had never even written 1 grant, yet. I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. This conference sealed the deal, and I knew this was what I wanted to do. The 2013 GPA national conference was my first BIG date with GPA, and I knew it was time to make a career transition and do more purposeful work. I desired to have a greater impact on people and just because you desire to do good doesn’t mean that it won’t come with challenges and I had to at least create a plan.

I joined GPA to surround myself with professionals that were experts in the field of grant writing. I knew it was a skill I wanted to pursue further as someone who was thrust into the industry; I thought it would be most advantageous to be around people that knew what they were doing and took their craft seriously. I desired to learn from those proficient in the field and little did I know it would be because of the GPA membership that I would acquire 90% of my clients as a consultant.

I get often asked where I get the majority of my clients, and I typically say through word-of-mouth, but through some shape, form, or fashion they have come from a GPA contact. It was not my intent to become a member to attract clients, but it has become a beautiful residue of my membership.

The GPA member benefits are endless. My membership has allowed me to create relationships with business professionals in the community to include other nonprofit associations and businesses. I have had the opportunity to work with successful grant writing firms as an independent consultant by making connections at both the national and regional GPA conferences.

GPA membership provides professional development. As the grant space shifts, I don’t want to get caught up in the way I’ve always been doing things but change and improve with the industry. The membership provides up to date training and webinars and addresses the concerns with solutions from professionals. I take full advantage of research tools offered to members through GrantStation and GPA’s own active Facebook-like community, GrantZone. In this forum, participants ask questions and provide suggestions to help each other and simply make new connections. Associating with other members who are willing to share their business practices and solutions is my top reason for being a member.

I am thankful that the association is ever evolving and comes up with new ideas and new ways to include and support their members. As a former regional board member, I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other chapter leaders that share their successes with other regions. As a former chapter leader, I was able to garner new relationships with others that understand each other’s expertise to be able to serve nonprofits best because not one grant writer can be everything to everybody. I am grateful for the benefit the GPA membership provides with support from GPA staff, chapter leaders, and members.

Telling my peers that I was transitioning from government to solely work with nonprofits would usually lead the reaction “oh um that’s rewarding.” All I know is that I enjoy grant writing and even though it has its challenges and is not for the faint of heart I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. But with the change in culture and the direct impact of philanthropic efforts especially with the popularity of TED talk videos, it finally makes sense why someone would be interested in changing the world today. Ultimately, it resulted in a more positive reaction from peers of “what a rewarding and purposeful career.”


Conference Experience as a Scholarship Recipient

by Karen Watkins-Watts, GPC

First, my sincere gratitude to the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) for the scholarship enabling me to attend the 18th Annual GPA National Conference in Atlanta in 2016! Defraying the cost of conference registration (and other travel expenses) made the 2016 conference possible for me.

I had the privilege of attending several past conferences, however, with a district-wide budget deficit and year-end reduction-in-force in 2016, my organization set a policy prohibiting district funding for out-of-state travel. Notwithstanding, district leadership understood the tremendous benefit of this important professional development opportunity for me as Grants Manager. With the GPF award, they provided me the professional development days and some travel expense reimbursement.

The annual GPA conference has been and continues to be greatly valued by my organization’s (Brockton Public Schools in Brockton, MA) leadership and myself as a key grants professional development opportunity. Attending the national conferences has been pivotal to my growth as a grants professional! The workshops and dialogue with grant professionals from across the country have increased my knowledge and skills of best practices in the profession, has produced better quality proposals, and increased public and private grant resources for our large, urban district. Serving a diverse population of nearly 18,000 students, many of whom face poverty and myriad of socio-economic barriers, this work is especially critical, compounded by an increasingly challenging funding environment in the public education sector.

I also credit the GPA conference for elevating my professional status in the profession as GPC in 2009. I learned about the GPC credential at a prior conference, then subsequently studied with a cohort of fellow members from across the country and took the exam at the annual conference in Long Beach, CA.

Since joining GPA and the GPA Massachusetts Chapter in 2007, I have served in a leadership capacity including responsibilities as Secretary, Vice President, and President. Then Immediate Past President, it was important that I attend the 2016 conference (and the Chapter Leadership session), to represent our chapter and to gain and share ideas from other chapters and chapter leaders. We had successfully convened our first New England Regional Conference in June of 2015 and had begun discussion on our next conference. We were eager to build on our success and learn from other chapters. The regional event is vital to the growth of our chapter and its presence throughout New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut).

I am extremely grateful for the work of the GPF to advance our profession and privileged to be an awardee of the 2016 GPF scholarship!

No Wining About This Event!

A fun new event is happening at the 2017 GPA Annual Conference in San Diego from November 8-11. In addition to our regular Silent Auction (which will be digital this year!), GPF will also hold a Cork Pull. A Cork Pull is a fun little mystery game involving wine. And what’s not to love about wine?

Guests attending the Welcome Reception (and continuing, if still available) will have the opportunity to ‘pick a cork’ for a donation of $20. The cork is assigned a number that corresponds to a matching mystery wine bottle for you to take home or enjoy in your room. The wine ranges in value from $10-$50 per bottle and has been generously donated by members of the GPF, GPA, and GPCI boards.

Don’t forget-you still have time to donate an item to our Silent Auction. Sign up here. Thank you for your support, and see you in San Diego!