Tag Archive for: Grant Professionals Foundation

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.


Long-Distance Trail Running and Grants Management– It All Depends on Community

by Lucien Darjeun Meadows, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
2016 Membership Scholar

As I write this blog post today, on a much warmer-than-average morning in Northern Colorado (52 degrees!), I am in the midst of training for the Quad Rock 25/50 Trail Race in Fort Collins, in May. I am also in the midst of finalizing a major foundation proposal, revising several letters of introduction, preparing a few corporate grants, and beginning to draft a major federal grant for my organization: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the only discovery museum in our region.

Today, I will research, read, and write for several hours, then go for a sunny 7-mile lunchtime run, then return to my grant writing projects. And while I sit at a computer for grants and prance down the trails for running, I realize, through the education I have gained as a recent GPF membership scholar, success in grants management parallels success in long-distance trail running*—it all depends on community.

Grants management is usually an independent process (since a keyboard generally works best for only two hands at a time), as is long-distance trail running (even for a group run, you have to decide to lace up your shoes and power them down the trail). Still, I find that above all, it is the community that gives each of us the greatest chance of success.

Though 95% of my running occurs alone, with just me and the trail, I rely on my local running community for inspiration, advice, and support—even consolation. Last year, I was just three weeks away from a race that had been on my to-do list for two years when I had an injury that kept me from running for two months. While going from rigorous training (that had been building for months) to zero was hard, my fellow runners helped me keep this setback in perspective. Through them, there were opportunities to stay involved, successes to celebrate, others to support, and, always, future races and group runs to look forward to. And when I ran the Black Squirrel Trail Half-Marathon that September, this race-day community watched out for each other throughout the technical course, encouraged each other when the hills became steep, and celebrated each other as each crossed the finish line, from the sub-1:30 winner to the 4:00+ final finisher (who received rousing applause from everyone).

In a similar way, I am blessed with the support of my museum’s team, who willingly brainstorm, read drafts, provide feedback, and celebrate all results, whether the grant is gained or declined—since fundraising is, like long-distance trail running, a long-term process.

But of special thanks over the last year is GPF, and the community they granted me access to through a GPA Membership Scholarship. While grants management connects to many of my prior interests (10+ years of library experience, grant-seeking as a researcher and graduate student, ongoing fascination with nonprofits), GPA gave me the tools I needed for high success in my first year as an official grants professional. Because of GPF’s scholarship, I have been able to enroll in GPA webinars, share thoughts with grant professionals nationwide, and learn from this incredible network of knowledgeable, inspiring, and, above all, supportive professionals.

Because of the GPA community, I exceeded grant-funding goals for my organization in my first year as a grants professional. Because of your support, I realize a declination is no reason to be sad, because it means someone, somewhere, read this proposal—and as a result, there is now more awareness of my organization in the world. Thank you, GPA. Thank you, GPF for the gift of a membership scholarship.

Happy trails—er, drafts—everyone!


*Of course, I am far from the first grants professional to see similarities between this profession and running! Diane Leonard, GPC shares how grant writing is like training for a half-marathon, Scott Herr, Ph.D. explores what running marathons have taught him about grant writing, and Dawn Newcomb, Ph.D. discusses the overlap between marathon running and “marathon” research. From them, we learn successful grant writers, like successful long-distance runners, prepare for inevitable setbacks (Leonard); avoid being greedy in asking for more than is reasonable, in budget or pace goals (Herr); and take time to relax and refresh between challenges (Newcomb). Absolutely!

Welcome new board members!

The Grant Professionals Foundation is pleased to introduce and welcome our new board members:

  • Judy Riffle, Ed.D.
  • Nicole Sibilski, GPC
  • Fayre Crossley, MBA, GPC
  • Ericka Harney, ABD, CAE, CFRE, GPC, CVA
  • Margit Brazda Poirier, GPC, MS

Thank you for you volunteering your time, talent, and resources to advancing the grants profession!

GPF Silent Auction Team Hits a Home Run

By Becky Jascoviak, GPF Silent Auction Team Coach

Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The individual “parts” that make up the Grants Professional Foundation are pretty incredible on their own, but put a group of passionate, service-oriented, step-up-to-the-challenge grant pros together on a team and you get a whole lot more “whole” to the individual “parts”.

That is what I witnessed as the GPF Silent Auction Team Coach, as I dubbed myself. I dislike the term committee because “nothing ever gets out of committee”, and task force just seems overused. So I opted to call our group a team, and just as the coach leads and guides and trains, but doesn’t get to play – I was challenged to do the same. After taking the reigns as team lead, I found out I wouldn’t be able to attend the GPA National Conference. What to do? “Should I stay or should I go now?”

I believed in our team and I let go of a bit of control (hard for some of us control-freaks to do :-)). We met via conference call monthly because our team members were based in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and Georgia – that’s a whole lot of time zones to work across.

But this coach couldn’t be more proud of the team!

And just like the grant isn’t wholly dependent on the grant writer, but relies on the programs, directors, and beneficiaries, so did our team. They relied on each of you. You donated items and experiences. You made connections to partners and other organizations. You bid and bought and donated at the Silent Auction directly. You, each of you, made the 2016 Silent Auction the most successful fundraising event the Grant Professionals Foundation has ever had!

The Silent Auction raised more than $8,100 to support scholarships for GPA membership, GPC exam fees, and attendance at the conference as well as regional conference scholarships. The money raised from the event provides:

  • Memberships in GPA for 40 grant professionals to learn, network, and hone their craft.
  • Exam fees for 15 grant professionals to sit for the Grant Professionals Certification exam.
  • Registrations for 9 grant professionals to attend the annual GPA conference.
  • Sponsorships for 8 regional GPA conferences for grant professionals to connect locally.

A grant writer’s work is not done when the grant is submitted, there comes planning and program evaluations and so much more. And our team’s work must continue as well. We are already gathering our team for the 2017 GPF Silent Auction at the conference in San Diego next November. How would you like to be part of this highly successful silent auction team? Contact Heather Stombaugh, GPF President, to join today.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference but would still like to support your fellow grant professionals you can give directly to the work of the Grant Professionals Foundation at www.grantprofessionalsfoundation.org/give-now.

Thank you team! Thank you volunteers! Thank you donors! Thank you bidders!

Thank you all for all you do as part of the worldwide grants team – Together, we’re making the world a better place, one grant at a time.


Thank you GPF!

The Grant Professionals Foundation Board received the following thank you letter. The author preferred to remain anonymous, but agreed to let us share it on our blog.

Dear Kimberly and the Board of the Grant Professionals Foundation,

After 15 months of working as the full-time grant writer for my organization, I am only just beginning to self-identify as a grant writer. To me – and I expect many others – grant writing is about developing and designing programs, which I’ve studied and done professionally. I’m learning that grant writers are an eclectic group with a wide variety of background stories and entry points into the profession.

My organization has a strong history of successful grant funding from public and private entities. This has provided an excellent learning opportunity that I expect will continue with my membership in the Grant Professionals Association. I love learning and improving my craft, especially when I can apply those skills in an organization and for a cause I truly believe in.

This is all my way of saying that I’m extremely excited to rub shoulders with other new and experienced grant writers and program planners, and I offer my sincerest thanks to the Grant Professionals Foundation for offering and awarding a scholarship to attend the upcoming annual conference in November.

One at a Time

BMike Chamberlainy Mike Chamberlain, CEO, Grant Professionals Association

Ten years ago this month, I made the decision to start on a journey. A journey to better health and well-being. The first thing I did was schedule a physical exam with my Family Doctor, something I had not done on my own in my adult life. I met with my Family Doctor and after the poking, prodding, measurements and battery of questions, she said, “You know you really should lose some weight.” I replied, “Yes, but I really do not know where to start.” That is when the real journey started. She provided me with a diet plan and a guide to better eating, and told me it was important to watch portion size. I started slowly, first by changing lunch, then breakfast, and really watching portions at dinner. I added in a dose of daily exercise to build muscle and improve my health.

Over the next 12 months, I began losing weight and getting healthier every day. I had co-workers, friends and family ask me about my secret for making the change. My simple answer was “Diet and exercise”, which was often met with disappointment. However, one thing I learned during this journey was the importance of taking small simple steps and building on each success. For me, it was watching the scale go down one pound at a time and tightening my belt one notch at a time, that encouraged me to continue. Ten years later, I am happy to report that I lost the weight and have kept it off.

This journey taught me the importance of starting with small steps, being persistent and knowing that in the long run, it is through these efforts that you can reach your goals.

The Grant Professionals Foundation works to fund professionalism in the grants field through its many efforts. One of those efforts is Giving Well which is the opportunity to make a difference one small gift at a time. By giving as little as $10 per month, you can start to make an impact. I know this as a current contributor through Giving Well. I have seen the impact it has in providing scholarships for grant professionals to attend conferences, participate in local chapters, and contribute to the grants profession. I know mine is a small contribution that added with other small contributions over time can make a significant impact in the grants profession. I invite you to join me on this journey by taking a first small step and start Giving Well today.

You actually LIKE writing grants?


By Katy Shoemaker, Grant Writer, Thanksgiving Point Institute

Leadership Member Scholar – Utah Chapter

Upon graduating college or entering the first few years of your career, the question, “What is your direction and what are you going to do for a profession?” is constantly posed. Society creates a pressure for those entering their career, those exploring new careers and those who have lost their way to find direction. Directions could be found in the most unobvious places, when one is most unsuspecting. My direction, whether it be life, career or both, was found through writing grants and becoming a part of the Grant Professionals Association-Utah Chapter.

GPA has been my connection and entry-way into the grants field in so many ways. My year of public service that I completed with AmeriCorps VISTA led me blindly into a GPA-Utah Chapter training one sunny afternoon, and I was hooked. The people, professionalism, topics and the networking were just profound. I immediately felt as though I was among a group of my peers in the grants field and this was a welcoming feeling. After this training, I was graciously provided with a membership to GPA through the organization that I was employed with. I joined the Communications Committee and was soon asked to be the Vice President of the chapter. This soared me to levels I never even imagined possible. I found myself representing GPA everywhere I went, to whomever would listen. I wanted everyone in our community to know what a great organization GPA is and what a wealth of helpful professional development resources for grant and development professionals it provides.

As such, the feeling was profound when I was notified that I was selected to receive a membership scholarship through the Grants Professionals Foundation, a smile fell across my face and I felt so grateful. I was at a point in my career where I was unsure if I would be able to financially afford the cost of the membership on my own, and this was detrimental to my professional growth and development. I couldn’t imagine my life without being involved in GPA and this scholarship allowed me the opportunity to continue to be not only involved, but to professionally grow and develop within my grant community.

Being involved in GPA in fact has made me become a more passionate grant professional in my community. My favorite question is, “You actually LIKE writing grants?”. Every time I am asked this question I actually laugh out loud (which probably makes me seem even more crazy), but it is true, I find it so funny that other people, especially in the nonprofit sector ask me if I like my job. Well of course I like my job, if I didn’t like it; I would choose something else to do. I choose to be a grant writer because I want to make a difference in my community. Grant writing and being a grant professional makes a different type of impact than say someone who is working directly with clients in a programmatic way and oftentimes, it is hard for the other half to see how I am making a difference. Being involved with GPA though, has taught me that no matter how small or large, grant professionals make a huge impact. We are the wheels making the vehicle run and are essentially vital to the success and impact that our organizations make for our communities.

My GPA membership is invaluable and I would not trade it for anything else. This membership scholarship has allowed me to continue to lead my chapter into great and innovative directions. My career has grown because of this opportunity, meeting other professionals in the field and even becoming involved in contract grant writing work. It has allowed me to reach my professional goals, attend training that furthered the fundraising mission of the organization I am employed with and to push myself as a grant writer and fundraising professional. I am so completely grateful for this opportunity and for being selected to receive a scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation.

GPA Membership = Networking & Collaboration

Janell Harvey

By Dr. Janell Harvey, Associate Professor of Business, DeVry University

Renewing Member Scholar – S. Shore Indiana Chapter

As a Professor of Business and fundraising professional, membership in the Grant Professionals Association has afforded me a wealth of opportunities. Networking with like-minded people has allowed me to better understand fund development trends in a number of areas. For example, I am a member of the Faith Based Special Interest Group (SIG). Recently, the group leader sent out information allowing members to introduce themselves and the groups that they advocate for. This engagement certainly sparked interest between members resulting in ongoing communication. Most importantly it shed light on the causes that we care for most. I anticipate that great collaboration will emerge from there.

My involvement with the Grant Professionals Association has also led to the publication of a journal article and participation on both the GPF and GPA’s national board of directors. I am so elated to have the opportunity to work with such brilliant individuals while promoting integrity and sustainability within the grant profession.

Last year, I was awarded a membership scholarship by the Grant Professionals Foundation. I have a wonderful seven year old son who is hearing impaired. Costs associated with some of his necessary equipment led to the need for additional support. When I received the funds, I was so elated. I couldn’t imagine any gaps in my membership. I whole-heartedly thank the foundation for rendering their support as I know there were others who too were in need.

I look forward to the lifelong learning experiences that the Grant Professionals Association provides. Ultimately, I look forward to sharing my knowledge with other professionals who are not yet members with hopes to spark their interest.

Pajama Work: Don’t Give Up About Giving Back

By Kimberly Hays de Muga – Director of Development, Fraser Center

Board Chair, Grant Professionals Foundation


Oversized tees, sweatpants, tunics, sweatshirts, leggings, sweatpants—we’re in the throes of an increasingly comfort based, casually dressed society.  All hail “Athleisure!” Gone are the power suits, power ties, buttoned-up button downs, creases, and pleats from the 80s. (I was, of course a child prodigy in my non-profit career then, and could only observe these inexplicable fashions from afar :-))


Besides common sense and the joy of being comfortable, part of this trend comes from telecommuting.  According to the August 2015 Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll 37% of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted, up from 30% last decade but four times greater than the 9% found in 1995. Enormous strides in IT and telecommunications makes working from home so much easier and more efficient. Many employers seem willing to sanction working remotely, and most consultants often work from home.


So if working from home may work for many of us, why not consider volunteering from home?  Become a GPF Board Member or Committee Member and “tele-volunteer” your way to new friends, new skills while supporting the growth and recognition of the grants profession. And you can do your health a favor in the bargain. Researchers at the London School of Economics found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. According to a study in Social Science and Medicine, the odds of being “very happy” increased 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks compared to those who never volunteered. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/special-health-reports/simple-changes-big-rewards-a-practical-easy-guide-for-healthy-happy-living)


Don’t let your favorite loungewear keep you from stretching outside your comfort zone to take on a volunteer service role. As the Chair of the Grant Professionals Foundation, I’ve seen firsthand that the busiest GPA members often step up effortlessly when asked to take on a different role or committee task. How do they do it? Current GPF Scholarship Committee Member and former GPA Board Member Johna Rodgers said it best when she agreed to lead the management and distribution of GPA scholarship applications (https://grantprofessionalsfoundation.org/available-scholarships/).  “I need work I can do in my pajamas, on the weekend,” said the super-busy consultant and long-time GPA/GPCI board member and volunteer.


The GPF Board meets face to face, once a year, during the GPA Annual Conference. Yet together we connect with GPA members and supporters like you to provide scholarships for regional conferences, membership, GPA annual conference registration and the Grant Professional Certified Exam (GPC). But while we’re all conference calling, emailing and texting in our PJs or tailored suits, we’re volunteering, networking, getting our names known and more importantly, helping to advance the grants profession. GPF Board and Committee service also earns points toward maintaining your GPC.


GPF Board Member terms begin in January and are for three years with the option to extend to a second term.  In my five and a half years on the GPF board, I’ve made some fantastic friends and learned so much from them. Leadership, the fine art of delegation, recruitment, administration and collaboration are just a few of the skills I’ve developed or honed while helping forward the grants profession. Maybe three years, even in pajamas, is more than you can commit to right now.  Consider service on one of GPF’s committees; meetings are online or by conference call.  Committees include:  Silent Auction, Scholarship, Marketing, Every Chapter Challenge and Individual Giving.  Contact info@grantprofessionalsfoundation.org for more information.


So get comfortable, and get ready to make a difference for the grants profession today!

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.