History

Until the last decade of the twentieth century, there was not a single association dedicated to the profession of grantsmanship. Nor were there many formalized training organizations dedicated to the grant professional. The Grantsmanship Center, Inc. (TGCI), one of the first of its kind, offered week-long trainings and established the first online forum for its alumni. The forum had open discussions on many grant topics.        
 
Several reoccurring themes could always be found on that forum. “The grant professional is always the last to be hired and first to be fired when it comes to organizational budgets.” “If we had extra funds, we would hire a grant writer.” “Can you put the funds [to hire you to write the application] into the grant and we will pay you if we get funded?” “What are the qualifications to be a grant writer?” In 1997, a small group of alumni (most who had never met previously) came together, ready to change the state of the grants profession. With a single conference call on April 2, 1998, the idea of American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP) was formed. (Pulled from the article “An Emerging Vocation: The Grant Profession” by Renninger and Stinson, 2006)
 
In attendance on that historic day in 1997 were Iris Coffin (IA), Phyl Renninger (FL), Rachel Sherard (SD), Mike Brock (MI), Randy Givens (NE), Brad Knudson (SD), and VC League (CA). On that call, Phyl Renninger offered to record the first notes of the not-yet-formed organization and keep track of tasks to be accomplished. Over the next six months, the group continued to examine the feasibility of establishing an association. The rest, as they say, is history.
 
GPA History At A Glance
 
1998
 
Board of Directors
Randall Givens (NE) - President; VC League (CA) - Vice President; Phyl Renninger (FL) - Secretary; Iris Coffin (IA) - Treasurer; Mike Brock (MI) - Association Administrator; Brad Knudsen (SD) - Member.
 
Accomplishments

  • Conducted First Board Meeting (April 2 conference call).Six founding members designated with Emiratis membership status.
  • Held First Workshop and Board Meeting: Drake University, Des Moines IA. October 24. Meeting Attendance: 6.
  • Adopted the name “American Association of Grant Professionals”.
  • Adopted the “quill” as the logo and the colors “teal and burgundy”.
  • Adopted Mission Statement.
  • Started process to become a Professional Organization, 501(c)(6).
  • Drafted By-laws.
 Adopted the following AAGP Mission:
 
The American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP) enhances the role of grant developers who work for public or private organizations. The association maintains a code of ethics, and promotes the public image of professional grant developers. It also enhances grant developers’ relationships with funders and employers and advances educational opportunities.
 
1999
 
Board of Directors
Randall Givens (NE) - President; VC League (CA) - Vice President; Phyl Renninger (FL) - Secretary; Iris Coffin (IA) - Treasurer; Mike Brock (MI) - Association Administrator; Board Members – Brad Knudsen (SD), Kimberee Susan Wuertz (MO).
 
Accomplishments
  • Conducted Board Meeting, April 17, Chicago.
  • Held First Annual Conference: Holiday Inn, Chicago Mart Plaza, Chicago IL. November 19.  Conference Attendance: 22.
  • Adopted By-laws.
  • Opened first checking account.
  • Accepted Legacy (originally named Charter) Memberships ($50). Membership: 27 (April).
  • Filed as a Michigan nonprofit corporation.
  • Formed Committees (Conference, Membership, and Recruiting. Voted to added Credentialing and Communication).
  • Established first website at www.grantprofessionals.org.
  • Drafted first Code of Ethical Conduct for members of AAGP.
  • Designed first membership brochure.
  • Ended Legacy membership drive, membership: 73 from 28 states - dues increased to $75.

2000
 
Board of Directors
VC League (CA) - President, Brad Knudsen (SD) - Vice President; Phyl Renninger (FL) - Secretary; Michael Wells (OR) - Treasurer; Randall Givens (NE) - Past-President; Board Members: Deanna Nurnberg (IL), Iris Coffin (IA), Gail Vertz (MO), Frank Mandley (FL), Cynthia Renae Oda (IN).
 
Accomplishments
  • Conducted Board meeting in Berkeley, CA. Membership: 104 (April).
  • Held Second Annual Conference: Berkley Marina, Berkley CA. November 18-19. Conference Attendance: 45.
  • Voted Credentialing as an organizational priority.
  • Introduced Chaptering as an organizational priority.

2001
 
Board of Directors
Brad Knudsen (SD) - President; Phyl Renninger (FL) - Vice President; Gail Vertz (MO) - Secretary; Michael Wells (OR) - Treasurer; Randall Givens (NE) - Past-President; Board Members: Deanna Nurnberg (IL), Iris Coffin (IA), Frank Mandley (FL), Cynthia Renae Oda (IN).
       
Accomplishments
  • Conducted Board meeting in Florida. Membership: 190 (April).
  • Held Third Annual Conference: Radisson Plaza Orlando Downtown, Orlando FL. November 8 – 10. Conference Attendance: 125.
  • Increased membership to 212.

2002
 
Board of Directors
Brad Knudsen (SD) - President; Phyl Renninger (FL) - Vice President; Gail Vertz (MO) - Secretary; Michael Wells (OR) - Treasurer; Randall Givens (NE) - Past-President; Board Members: Deanna Nurnberg (IL), Frank Mandley (FL), Cynthia Renae Oda (IN), Linda Lambert (FL), Janel Patteson (FL), Rebecca Walsh (IA).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held Fourth Annual Conference: Radisson Governor’s Hotel, Portland OR. November 6 -9.  Conference Attendance: 300.
  • Membership: 321 (November).
  • Published First e-mail Newsletter, First AAGP Journal, and First AAGP Member Directory.
  • Established AAGP members only forum.
 

2003
 
Board of Directors
Phyl Renninger (FL) - President; Gail Vertz (KS) / Maryn Boess (AZ) - Vice President; Linda Lambert (FL) - Secretary; Michael Wells (OR) - Treasurer; Brad Knudsen (SD) - Immediate Past-President; Board Members: Frank Mandley (FL), Cynthia Renae Oda (IN), Deanna Nurnberg (IL), Janel Patteson (FL), Jerry Dillehay (AZ)
 
Accomplishments
  • Conducted First Board retreat for Strategic Planning and Long-term goal setting, Phoenix AZ, February 21-22.
  • Held Fifth Annual Conference: Westin Crown Center, Kansas City MO, November. Conference Attendance: 300.
  • Membership: 481.
  • Established first contract for Association management services.
  • Published three e-Newsletters.
  • Published second and third AAGP Journal.

2004
 
Board of Directors
Phyl Renninger (FL) - President; Maryn Boess (AZ) - Vice President; Deanna Nurnberg (IL) - Secretary; Michael Wells (OR) - Treasurer; Brad Knudsen (SD) - Immediate Past-President; Board Members: Randall Givens (NE), Jerry Dillehay (AZ), Cynthia Renae Oda (IN), Pauline Annarino (CA), Mary Hale Meyer (PA), Bernard Turner (TN), Joani Sarkiss (AL)
 
Accomplishments
  • Held Sixth Annual Conference: Westin Copley Place hotel, Boston MA. Conference Attendance: 400.
  • Membership: 700.
  • Introduced individual grant review sessions at conference. Immediate success.
  • Contracted for first Executive Director.
  • Formed first AAGP Chapter in Alabama.
  • Held first Credentialing Test Development workshop in Boston.
  • Formed AAGP’s first affiliate organizations, Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI) and the AAGP Foundation.
  • Drafted first Committee Policy and Procedure Manuals.
  • Updated and created new AAGP logo with new colors “red and black,” new logo, “G”.
  • Initiated First Annual Conference Awards Ceremony.
  • Presented First Presidents Award to Stephen Nill of CharityChannel.
 

2005
 
Board of Directors
Phyl Renninger (FL) - President; Pauline Annarino (CA) - Vice President; Deanna Nurnberg (IL) - Secretary; Michael Wells (OR) - Treasurer; Brad Knudsen (SD) - Immediate Past-President; Board Members: Cynthia Renae Oda (IN), Mary Hale Meyer (PA), Bernard Turner (TN), Joani Sarkiss (AL), Chuck Howard (OR), Susan Linn (MA), Karen Stinson (IA)
 
Accomplishments
  • Held Seventh Annual Conference: Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort, Scottsdale AZ. Conference Attendance: 500.
  • Membership: 941.
  • Published Sixth AAGP Journal.
  • Formed more than 18 new AAGP Chapters.
  • Drafted first AAGP Business Plan.
  • Expanded Association office staff to include Administrative Assistant, Membership Coordinator and independent contractors.

2006
 
Board of Directors
Pauline Annarino (CA) - President; Susan Linn (MA) - Vice President; Karen Stinson (IA) - Secretary; Bernard Turner (TN) - Treasurer, Phyl Renninger (FL) - Immediate Past President; Board Members: Jane Hexter (NY), Chuck Howard (OR), Mary Hale Meyer (PA), Candra Parker (VA), Jodi Pearl (FL), and Joani Sarkiss (TX).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 8th Annual Conference: Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel, Nashville, TN. Conference Attendance: 481.
  • Membership: 1,194
  • Published Seventh AAGP Journal

2007
 
Board of Directors
Pauline Annarino (CA) - President; Candra Parker (VA) - Vice President; Susan Linn (MA) - Secretary; Bernard Turner (TN) - Treasurer; Board Members: Jerry Dillehay (AZ), Chuck Howard (OR), Mary Hale Meyer (PA), Jodi Pearl (FL), Phyl Renninger (FL), Joani Sarkiss (TX), and Karen Stinson (IA).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 9th Annual Conference: Crystal Gateway Marriot Hotel, Arlington, VA. Conference Attendance: 494.
  • Membership: 1,478.
  • Published Eighth AAGP Journal

2008
 
Board of Directors
Pauline Annarino (CA) - President; Bernard Turner (TN) - Vice President; Jodi Pearl (FL) - Secretary; Joani Sarkiss (TX) - Treasurer; Bill Smith (TN) - Executive Board Appointee; Board Members: Linda Butler (OH), Jerry Dillehay (AZ), Dena Hartigan (NJ), Mary Hale Meyer (PA), Candra Parker (VA)
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 10th Annual Conference: Hyatt Regency, Long Beach, CA. Conference Attendance: 395.
  • Membership: 1,537.
  • Published Ninth AAGP Journal

2009
 
Board of Directors
Bernard Turner (TN) - President; Jerry Dillehay (AZ) - Vice President; Jodi Pearl (FL) - Treasurer; Dena Hartigan (NJ) - Secretary. Board Members: Debbie DiVirgilio (MD), Doris Jean Heroff (IL), Sharon Skinner (AZ), Kitty Wojcik (MD), Bill Smith (TN), Linda Butler (OH).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 11th Annual Conference: Hyatt Regency Austin, Austin, TX. Conference Attendance: 450.
  • Membership: 1,705.
  • Published Tenth AAGP Journal
  • Updated staff titles to Chief Executive Officer and Membership Director

2010
 
Board of Directors
Bill Smith (TN) - President; Debbie DiVirgilio (MD) - Vice-President; Dena Hartigan (NJ) - Secretary; Linda Butler (OH) - Treasurer; Teri Blandon (VA) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Jay Janssen (SC), Johna Rodgers (KY), Gail Widner (SC), Jodi Pearl (FL), Sharon Skinner (AZ) and Doris Jean Heroff (IL).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 12th Annual Conference: Tradewinds Island Grand Beach Hotel, St. Pete Beach, FL. Conference Attendance: 586.
  • Membership: 1,674.
  • Celebrated 43 Active Chapters.
  • Changed name to Grant Professionals Association (GPA), November.
  • Updated staff title to Office Manager

2011
 
Board of Directors
Debbie DiVirgilio (MD) - President; Teri Blandon (VA) - Vice-President; Sharon Skinner (AZ) - Secretary; Johna Rodgers (KY) - Treasurer; Jay Janssen (SC) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Linda Butler (OH), Doris Jean Heroff (IL), Shelia McCann (FL), Jodi Pearl (FL), Bill Smith (TN), and Gail Widner (SC).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 13th Annual Conference: Bally's Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Conference Attendance: 545.
  • Membership: 1,723.
  • Launched Special Interest Groups Initiative
  • Redesigned the website

2012
 
Board of Directors
Debbie DiVirgilio (MD) - President; Teri Blandon (VA) - Vice-President; Sharon Skinner (AZ) - Secretary; Johna Rodgers (KY) - Treasurer; Shelia McCann (FL) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Linda Butler (OH), Karen Cassidy (MO), Nathan Medina (IL), Bill Smith (TN), and Bernard Turner (TN).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 14th Annual Conference: Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN. Conference Attendance: 552.
  • Membership: 1,846.
  • Continued 41 Active Chapters

2013
 
Board of Directors
Debbie DiVirgilio (MD) - President; Sharon Skinner (AZ) - Vice-President; Nathan Medina (IL) - Secretary; Johna Rodgers (KY) - Treasurer; Bernard Turner (TN) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Linda Butler (OH), Karen Cassidy (MO), Janeen Gaskins (AZ), Shelia McCann (FL), Nathan Medina (IL), Bill Smith (TN).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 15th Annual Conference: Hyatt Regency on the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland. Conference Attendance: 625.
  • Membership: 1,812.
  • Confirmed 40 Active Chapters
  • Implemented Regional Representatives
  • Updated Mission Statement Adopted
    • GPA builds and supports a community of grant professionals committed to serving the greater public good.
 
2014
 
Board of Directors
Sharon Skinner (AZ) - President; Johna Rodgers (KY) - Vice-President; Nathan Medina (IL) - Secretary; Bernard Turner (TN) - Treasurer; Debbie DiVirgilio (MD) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Danny Blitch (GA), Kathy Brunot (GA), Karen Cassidy (MO), Janeen Gaskins (AZ), Shelia McCann (FL), Jo Miller (MN).
 
Accomplishments
  • Held 16th Annual Conference: Doubletree Hotel, Portland, Oregon. Conference Attendance: 617.
  • Membership: 1,973.
  • Confirmed 41 Active Chapters
  • Implemented Organizational Membership rate
  • Designed new website and database
 
2015

Board of Directors
Debbie DiVirgilio (MD) - President; Nathan Medina (IL) - Vice-President; Johna Rodgers (KY) - Secretary; Bernard Turner (TN) - Treasurer; Jo Miller (MN) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Danny Blitch (GA), Kathy Brunot (GA), Karen Cassidy (MO), Lauren Daniels (AZ)l Janeen Gaskins (AZ), Shelia McCann (FL).

Accomplishments
  • Held 17th Annual Conference: St. Louis, MO. Conference, November 11-14. Attendance: 609.
  • Membership: Over 2,000.
  • Reached 45 Active Chapters.
  • Added additional part-time bookkeeper to staff.
  • Relocated GPA Headquarters to Overland Park, KS.

2016

Board of Directors
Nathan Medina (IL) - President; Jo Miller (MN) - Vice-President; Kathy Brunot (GA) - Secretary; Janeen Gaskins (AZ) - Treasurer; Shelia McCann (FL) - Executive Committee Appointee; Board Members: Karen Cassidy (MO), Lauren Daniels (AZ), Debbie DiVirgilio (MD),  Janell Harvey (IL), Sue Jetter (WA), Bernard Turner (TN).

Accomplishments
  • Held 18th Annual Conference: Atlanta, Georgia. Conference, November 9-12. Attendance: 676.
  • Membership: 2,320.
  • Reached 44 Active Chapters.

2017

Board of Directors
Nathan Medina, GPC (IL) - President; Jo Miller, GPC (MN) - Vice-President; Kathy Brunot, GPC (AL) - Secretary; Janeen Gaskins, GPC (AZ) - Treasurer; Sue Jetter, GPC (WA) - Executive Committee Appointee;
Board Members: Karen Cassidy, GPC (MO), Lauren Daniels, GPC (AZ), Amanda Day, GPC (GA), Janell Harvey (IN), Bill Smith, GPC (TN), Bernard Turner, GPC (TN).

Accomplishments