Tag Archive for: Susan Kemp Memorial Scholarship

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 Very Fortunate Series of Events

By Liz Ratchford; Keystone College, Director of Grants
2016 Susan Kemp Conference Scholarship Recipient

Like many of my fellow grant professionals, I did not start off my career in the grant world. I don’t think any of us when asked as a child what we wanted to be when we grew up answered: “grant professional!” But through what I consider a very fortunate series of events, I was asked by the small community I live in, with my husband and two daughters, if I could write a grant to help rebuild a park that had been destroyed by a winter flood. I had some experience as a technical writer before becoming a stay-at-home mom so I thought sure, I would like to help rebuild the park where my children play.

So now 21 years later, I am honored to work in this profession that is responsible for so many great projects and programs coming to fruition through the work we do every day. That park grant and the completion of the project to rebuild that park led to me becoming a full-time grant professional for a government organization.

I am now at a nonprofit, private college in the northeastern tier of Pennsylvania. Keystone College is a small, rural college, in the heart of the Endless Mountains region. I love the work I do, I love that every day I learn something new, I tackle a new challenge, and I get to work with professionals that have a passion for the work we can do together.

Being the director of grants at an educational institution afforded me the opportunity to become a member of the Grant Professionals Association. The college believes in education and life-long learning, so even though financial resources are limited, our president believed it was important for me to be a member of this professional organization.

The college faculty, staff, and administration are committed to educating our students and keeping the cost of a post-secondary education affordable for the students we serve. This vision is something I truly believe in and so I work to obtain grant funding to serve our students, staff, and faculty. I am so fortunate to have found that I have skills and talents that allow me to be a successful grant professional.

My next goal after becoming a member of the GPA was to attend an annual conference and improve my professional skill set (because we are always about articulating our goals and objectives). Since the college’s resources are limited I decided I would apply for a Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) Conference Scholarship.

I submitted the scholarship request and hoped I had made a convincing argument for my need and my institution’s need for the support. I was so honored to receive the Susan B. Kemp Scholarship.

I had a wonderful experience at the conference in Atlanta! The networking, educational sessions, workshops, grant vendors, and especially volunteering at the auction were professionally enriching experiences.

I came back to Keystone energized and ready to take on any new grant challenge that came my way to serve the college and our students! My attendance at the conference was only possible because of the GPF scholarship. For the first time in my grant career I was in a room of professionals that understood the joys, challenges, and disappointments we encounter as part of our work. It was a pleasure to spend a few days with you in Atlanta, and I hope to see you all again very soon.

#GPAConf16 & Silent Auction in Atlanta Nov. 9-12, 2016

Congratulations again to all those who won a scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation (GPF) to attend the national Grant Professionals Association (GPA) conference in Atlanta from Nov. 9-12, 2016! Here are some comments from our fabulous #GPAConf16 scholars who are so excited to learn from, network with, and have fun with their fellow grant pros from around the world. All these Scholars will be volunteering at our annual Silent Auction at the conference, so stop by, congratulate them, and bid on some fantastic items and trips: http://bit.ly/2dRpRds. See you soon!

Debra Burns (Waynesboro, VA), Susan Kemp Memorial Scholarship: “Attending the GPA Conference will help me become a stronger grant writer who helps strong programs build even stronger communities.”

Nancy Ellis (Oro Valley, AZ), Arizona Founding Chapter Scholarship: “The GPF scholarship will help expand my education, absorb new ideas and network with other grant professionals in Atlanta!”

Matthew Fornoff (Tucson, AZ), GPF Scholarship: “First GPA Conference. Pumped to meet, network, learn, and improve my grant writing. Couldn’t have done it without a GPF scholarship! Thanks!”

Linda Maddox (Atlanta, GA), Peach State Scholarship: “Looking forward to attending the conference for the first time and actually meeting others who do what I do, which until I joined GPA was a pretty big challenge.”

Liz Ratchford (Factoryville, PA), Susan Kemp Memorial Scholarship: “The Grant Professionals Foundation scholarship will allow me to attend my first-ever grant conference and expand my grant skills! I am so excited to be attending the Grant Professionals Association conference, after 18 years I get to attend my first-ever grant conference!”

Laura Scott (Fargo, ND), GPF Scholarship: “The networking and professional development opportunities at #GPAConf16 are essential for #grantpros – so grateful!”

Rachel Smoka-Richardson (Minneapolis, MN), GPF Scholarship: “So grateful for the scholarship to the annual GPA conference – looking forward to learning some advanced grant writing skills.”

Karen Watkins-Watts (Brockton, MA), Chuck Howard Memorial Scholarship: “The GPF scholarship has a tremendous impact for me – allowing me to attend the conference in a tight budget year for my school district.”

Lisa Yalkut (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), South FL Chapter Scholarship: “Feeling humbled and happy and looking forward to honing skills, helpful discussions, hanging with peers, and having a blast in Atlanta! #Grantchat

Are you a grant pro interested in applying for one of our scholarships in 2017? Find out more here: https://grantprofessionalsfoundation.org/. Many thanks to our compassionate donors and sponsors who make these scholarships possible.


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.