Tag Archive for: South Florida Chapter Scholarships


by Shannon Northorp, South Florida Chapter Scholar

In 2011, I became a member of GPA and quickly learned that GPA was my go to professional development resource. At that time, there was not a local chapter that I could get involved in. Fast forward a couple of years and the Broward County Chapter became the South Florida Chapter. The president at the time, Alan Tiano, incorporated technology into the meetings allowing all of South Florida to participate in a local chapter from the comfort of their office. Despite being over a hundred miles away from the majority of the members, I was welcomed into the Chapter via WebEx. In November 2015, I was elected the Chapter’s Treasurer. I have remained in that role for the past two years.

Attending the GPA conference is never a given for myself and my organization. It all depends on the budget during any given year. Knowing that our Department was making cuts to the budget and restricting travel (especially out of state), I knew that without a scholarship, my chances of attending the conference were slim to none. Professional development is important in our profession, and I was in need of some. Fortunately, my Chapter funds up to two scholarships for South Florida members through the GPF. So, I went for it.

Next thing I knew I was making travel arrangements and picking out what workshops I wanted to attend. I don’t know about you, but there were so many workshops that interested me, I wish I were able to clone myself to attend several workshops at one time. I did the next best thing, my chapter colleagues, as well as, other conference attendees, and I shared workshop information during the breaks and at the end of the day. Having all the workshop materials online was/is a great resource to learn, long after the conference is over. Just as technology was an intricate part of my involvement with my chapter, the new conference app, allowed me to be all in at the conference. The app allowed me to connect with other attendees; pick out my workshops; map out where I was going; check in to my workshop; complete workshop evaluations; and so much more right at my fingertips on my smartphone.

I came back rejuvenated with new ideas and goals for the year. When you are the only grant writer in your organization, attending the national conference with ‘your people’ provides an invaluable experience to learn, share and grow, that you can’t get elsewhere. I am grateful to the South Florida Chapter and GPF, for this opportunity, and I am a better grant professional for attending the 2017 National GPA Conference.



I Drank the Kool-Aid: Learning Best Practices from Seasoned Pros at GPA National Conference

By Jayson Babel – Strategic Non-profit Consultant at Florida Academy of Professional Mediators, Inc.

South Florida Chapter Scholar


As a relatively new grant writer, seeking best practices is a top priority to enhance skills and make our applications as competitive as possible. The opportunity to attend the Grant Professionals Association Conference 2015 in St. Louis presented itself as a chance to not only receive the hard facts and application guidance that is required, but it was also the opening to speak directly with the veteran grant writers whose experience is often untranslatable to text. I knew going into the conference that their experience, tips and, advice would be a great asset; however, their willingness to share and coach was more than I could have hoped. When arriving back at my workplace, post conference and working through a debrief with my superior, the two most significant “takeaways” from the conference were the Federal grants guidance and the wealth of knowledge from seasoned professionals.


Arriving at the Conference, I was excited to participate in the Special Interest Group (SIG) for Human Services. But before the SIG, I met a participant at breakfast who worked on similar disability issues. She was absolutely fantastic. We spoke at great length regarding the challenges and opportunities for grant funding and I must say, I was a sponge! This introduction to the conference was absolutely fantastic. Here I was, not even in my first session and with two pages of notes on where I should be looking for opportunities and how to navigate the vast expanse of information and resources. The conference continued on this high note working with the team from the Grant Professionals Foundation as a scholarship recipient, the staff were very kind in assisting in navigating the different sessions and dissecting what each session would offer me as a new writer. I then attended the First Timer’s Welcome and Breakfast where I learned I was not the only one who was working through the challenges of being a first-time attendee.


Needless to say, by the time I attended the SIG Human Services session, I had “drank the Kool-aid!” In my limited experience as a grant writer, I’ve experienced challenges…and as the only grant writer in my agency, I’ve often felt alone in the process. Listening to other professionals indicate they had the similar challenges and sharing our methods of navigating those challenges was invaluable. Not only did it offer guidance, but a shared experience that somehow invigorated my zeal for securing funding for the individuals with disabilities that I serve.


Overall, this was an exceptional experience with a plethora of information and grant coaching from the presenters AND the participants. I look forward to attending next year’s conference and continuing the relationship with the connections I made during my first GPA Conference experience.


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.