Founder of #IGPW and #IGPD
The Grant Professionals Association didn’t exist when I drafted my first grant proposal. The Grant Professionals Certification Institute wasn’t incorporated either. Heck, my first grant proposal was written, awarded, and implemented more than five years before those 22 famous attendees met at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza for the first GPA national conference. Maybe I would have gone, but I wasn’t invited.
Back then, I didn’t know anyone working on grants in the Midwest. Few of you who are reading this article know what it was like to see your colleagues return from professional conferences energized and eager to show off their new found skills – knowing you had no conference in your field. Only a few of us had a network of more than a handful before the #grantchat community existed. We discovered RFPs on our own, searched the card catalog at the library, and happily attended every grantor workshop we discovered. It didn’t matter if the grant opportunity was a perfect fit or not. We learned from the grant-makers. Yes, we soaked it all up, but we longed for the peer affirmation, too.
That’s why I worked with so many of you to start #IGPW and #IGPD. International Grant Professionals Week is for us, for you, for all grant professionals. It takes a special breed to raise money for a good cause. Like you, my eyes have gone blurry staring into the blank space beneath the questions, with little idea of what to type. Collectively we know how emotionally challenging it can be to ask our friends, family, and strangers for money. I also remember the euphoria of giving every penny of those funds away to other people!
It takes great fortitude to muster a community around a common goal. The pain we feel is real when our passion does not get us funded. Somehow we still feel obligated to schedule the meeting to share the bad news. I have stood there wiping away the tears of my partners before dabbing my own eyes. Why do we do this work? Our passion for good causes and great people knows few bounds.
My fellow grant professionals, you are amazing, every day. You will do it again tomorrow, all of March, and every day next year. We are in “this” together. We are writers, program staff, grant-makers, accountants, executive directors, employees, consultants, and volunteers. Together grant professionals make social change happen, and without you, the world would be a lesser place.
Join me every day, March 14-18, 2016 as we educate, engage others, acknowledge our partners, and celebrate the grant profession. Why? Because #IGPW matters… to all of us.