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Chapter Meetings

Note that currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, our Chapter meetings have been moved to virtual meetings until further notice.

Our meetings typically last 90 minutes. We have a short business meeting (15 minutes or less) followed by a training topic. 

Chapter meetings are held from 8:30-10:00 AM on the third Tuesday of every-other month. No RSVP necessary – just show up. Visitors may attend first meeting free. Please check the calendar for specific dates. You are welcome to come a little early or stay after the meeting for networking with other grants professionals.


Grant writers like to have fun, too! Please check the calendar for dates of socials or check our Facebook page.

We enjoy unstructured social time relaxing with like-minded professionals. Our social events are a great opportunity to get to know fellow GPA members and build connections in our Central Iowa grant community. 

Past Training Topics

May 16, 2023 - Become a Health Grant Pro

Johna Rodgers, current GPA President, presented to the group on burnout in the grants profession and how to become a healthy grant pro.

March 28, 2023 - How to Be a Great Grants Manager

We had presentations from Bethany Snyder about the Iowa Nonprofit Alliance), Lashon Brown about the National Grants Management Association and basics of Grants Management, and Lisa Pagel (ChildServe) and Devin Sweeney (Des Moines MercyOne Foundation) on Grants Management.

January 17, 2023 - Storytelling through Budgets

We had a panel, including local funders and a grant writer, discuss how to effectively create grant budgets and tell the story of your program/organization through your grant budget.

November 15, 2022 - Food Bank of Iowa

We met at the Food Bank of Iowa and learned about their fundraising team and how they work together to raise funding for the Food Bank. We also received a tour of their facilities.

September 20, 2022 - Annual Chapter Meeting

Updates were shared on the current status of the Chapter, accomplishments from 2022, and plans for 2023. We also received information from a Des Moines Public Library representative on the Foundation Directory Online.

June 28, 2022 - Meeting with Mandela Washington Fellows

We met with the Mandela Washington Fellows, young entrepreneurs from Africa, and discussed challenges, tips, and tricks in grant writing.

May 17, 2022 - Data for Grant Writing

We received information from Toni Pitchford, Data Dissemination Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau on data mining and discovery for grant writers.

March 29, 2022 - First In-Person Meeting Since COVID!

We met for the first time since COVID and did some chatting and networking.

January 18, 2022 - How to Level Up Your Grant Calendars, Grant Strategy, and Grant Teams (Featuring Diane H. Leonard, GPC, RST)

Discussion on creating and maintaining a grant calendar, developing a grant stragegy, and engaging your grants team. 

November 16, 2021 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) in Grant Writing (Featuring Dr. Tyane "Ty" Mobley and Dana Wilson)

Discussion of what you need to know as a grant writer to meet funder expectations, how to address DEI in your proposals, and how to lead your organization to being a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive space to work. 

September 21, 2021 - Annual Chapter Meeting

Election of Board members for the 2022-2024 term, along with discussion of current Chapter information and new strategic plan. 

July 20, 2021 - Facilitated Conversation on Future Chapter Goals

Discussion with Mackenzie Walters on Chapter strengths and weaknesses, and how we can improve in the future. These ideas will be integrated into future strategic planning efforts for the Chapter. 

May 18, 2021 - Strategic Planning (Featuring Stacy Fitzsimmons, Founder & CEO, SNF Writing Solutions

Discussion with Stacy Fitzsimmons about strategic planning and how strategic plans can be integrated into grant writing. 

March 23, 2021 - Making your Grant Application More Compelling Using Stories and Arguments (Featuring Linda Wastyn of  Wastyn & Associates, Inc.)

Discussion with Linda Wastyn about effective use of arguments and storytelling in grant proposals. 

January 2021- Making Friends with Funders: What Grantmakers Want Every Grantseeker to Know Before Submitting a Proposal (featuring Maryn Boess)

Discussion with Maryn Boess of GrantsMagic U on what funders want to see from grantseekers, and how to develop a successful proposal that fits both the needs of the funder and the needs of the project. 

November 2020 - Continued Challenges with Covid-19

Discussion of continued challenges that members face as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

September 2020 - Annual Meeting

Discussion of where the chapter is at, and where we are headed, including updates on membership, strategic planning, and budget. We also discussed a couple grant tools at the end of the meeting - Trello and GrantStation.

July 2020 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – How it Impacts our Workplace, Community, and Grants

Discussion of DEI, including breakouts for members to discuss how DEI is being addressed within their organizations, challenges they face, and resources available.

May 2020 - Impact of Covid-19 on Grantmaking

Guests from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation discussed impact on grantmaking during the Covid-19 pandemic, and breakout groups were held to discuss challenges members were experiencing and resources available.

March 2020 - Networking After Covid-19

Original meeting topic was cancelled due to Covid-19. Chapter members gathered on Zoom to network and chat on current issues, challenges, and successes.

January 2020 - What to Know about Applying for Continuum of Care (CoC) and Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) Grants

Angie Arthur and Jim Cain from the Polk County Continuum of Care Board provided training on the CoC for Housing and Homelessness, how to apply for funds, and new funding available through the YHDP grant beginning Spring 2020.

November 2019 - Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI)

Amy Knudsen of Planned Parenthood North Central States provided information on GPCI and the Grant Professionals Certification. Topics included: 

  • What is a Certified Grant Professional?
  • What are the benefits of becoming certified?
  • What is the process?
  • Answers to these questions and more as we explore the world of certification.

September 2019 - Annual Meeting

Meeting included an update on the Chapter budget and strategic plan, along with election of new Chapter leadership.

July 2019 - International Grants

Mandela Scholars Discussion - Attendees gained a new and international perspective on the impact of grants. Twenty-five young business and nonprofit leaders who were selected to study at Drake University for six weeks through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders shared their experiences and expertise. Visiting under a U.S. Department of State grant, the Fellows spent the summer engaging with Des Moines business, nonprofit, and public sector leaders to learn U.S. best practices and share their experiences with our metro community.

May 2019 - Member Tips, Tricks, and Discussion

GPA member, Jim McWeeny, provided an overview of GrantStation and GPA webinars (both of these services are included in a national GPA membership).Then we had time for networking and discussion. We have a wealth of knowledge among our grant membership. During this meeting we will spend time networking. Members brought questions/problems that they needed help with to discuss with colleagues. We spent the remainder of the meeting talking at our tables and working through those issues.

March 2019 – Data Analytics

Brad C. Meyer, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Management and Business Analytics, Drake University

Data and analytics can play a big role in improving nonprofit strategy. Dr. Meyer will discuss data analytics and how it can impact nonprofit organizations. Brad C. Meyer received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University in 1989 and shortly after joined the business faculty in Drake’s College of Business and Public Administration. He teaches operations management, data analytics, and management science. From 2000 to 2014 he served as chair of the Management and International Business Department, and then transitioned to chair of Information Management and Business Analytics. He is also currently co-director of the data analytics program at Drake. His research focuses on continuous improvement and the use of technology in education. He has published in the Journal of Management, Interfaces, Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, the Journal of Management History and Engineering Economics.

January 2019 – Meet the Funder

Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, MA, Chief Community Impact Officer & Brianne Sanchez, Director of Nonprofit Relations, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

Angie Dethlefs-Trettin and Brianne Sanchez will share about the work of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines as it relates to community leadership and nonprofit support throughout the community.  They will highlight grantmaking initiatives, GIVEdsm, nonprofit capacity building programs and also provide an overview of the ways the Community Foundation partners with nonprofit organizations.  Tips and tools to support your role as grant writers will also be shared from the Central Iowa Funders Forum network that the Community Foundation facilitates.  This promises to be an engaging conversation and time for questions from the group. 

November 2018 – “Wherefore ART thou, grant dollars?”

Writing a grant for the Art Center might seem like it would be all about the art. The things that we don’t think about, like windows and carpet, are critical to keep a building thriving. The grants team from the Des Moines Art Center discussed their successes and challenges with locating funding. The meeting began in Levitt Auditorium with a group discussion. We then moved into a tour of the Art Center where the grants team showed us the areas they have funded with grants.

Barbara Briggie-Smith is a grant writer and communications associate at the Art Center. She has worked there since April 2005. She moved to Des Moines in 2004 after living in Washington, D.C. for 20+ years. Toward the end of her tenure in Washington, she earned a master’s in art history from American University. She has been writing grants at the Art Center for about seven years

Kristen Daily is the Grants and Research Coordinator at the Des Moines Art Center. She’s been in her position for just over a year and has prior grant writing and communications experience with the conservation nonprofit and land trust, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and Minitex, a library resource-sharing program out of the University of Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Education. She recently earned her Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Iowa State University.

September 2018 – Building a Grant Budget

“Five common mistakes in grant budgeting” with Danielle Johnson, Finance Director, United Way of Central Iowa. Overseeing the budget for a $20+ million organization is no sweat for Danielle Johnson. Complex grant budgets are her specialty. This session included a fun, interactive training on the ins and outs of grant budgets.

July 2018 – International Grants

Mandela Scholars Discussion - Attendees gained a new and international perspective on the impact of grants. Twenty-five young business and nonprofit leaders who were selected to study at Drake University for six weeks through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders shared their experiences and expertise. Visiting under a U.S. Department of State grant, the Fellows spent the summer engaging with Des Moines business, nonprofit, and public sector leaders to learn U.S. best practices and share their experiences with our metro community.

May 2018 – Networking

Deann Cook & Al Lorenzen, Next Level Nonprofits

They presented an interactive hour on networking to our group, leading us through a discussion where members were able to ask questions and do role-playing. In the grants world, we all know how important it is to make contact with funders and others in the community. But sometimes it can be hard figuring out just how to reach out. Topics covered –

  • Is there a strategy to working a room at a professional function?
  • What am I supposed to say when I call a funder?
  • Does this ever get easier?!

March 2018 – Round-table discussions

Round-table discussions – choose two. We spent 30 minutes at one table and then rotated to another table. Table topics were led by GPA members.

  • The ins and outs of federal grants (Lance Noe)
  • Obtaining your Grant Professional Certification (Moni Gaukel)
  • Have you ever considered consulting as a grant professional? (Trace Hoekstra)
  • What you need to know about grant ethics (Amy Knudsen)

April 2017 – Regional Conference – How to Write Winning Grants and Smile While Doing It!

Dr. Bev Browning, Author of “Grant Writing for Dummies”

As a high profile grants consultant, Dr. Bev is credited with more than $430 million in contract and grant awards. She is the author of 43 publications and is in high demand for facilitating training programs and delivering keynote speeches nationwide and internationally. Dr. Bev is a 16-year member of the Grants Professional Association and has taught grant writing and consulting courses online for Ed2Go since 2001.

Be the Shining Light in Your Profession (Keynote Speech)

In 2015, Dr. Bev trademarked Bethe Shining Light™, a motivational keynote speech theme that evolved into a journaling workbook and workshops for individuals seeking personal and professional life-changes

Logic Models—What are they and how do you create one?

Dr. Browning will offer an overview of how to develop a logic model and how the logic model can be used in program planning and evaluation. This hands-on session will offer concrete, useful examples which will help you during those deadline-driven times.

Creating a Persuasive Evaluation Plan

This session will dovetail off of the morning’s session on Logic Models. Dr. Browning will demonstrate how grant evaluation plans recapture data and highlight project accomplishments.

Meet the Funders: A Grantmaker Panel Discussion

Want to know more about the future of funding in our community? This moderated panel discussion will feature five grant funders.

  • Carrie Clogg, Director of Philanthropy, Kum & Go
  • Suzanne Mineck, President, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
  • Sally Dix, Executive Director, Bravo Greater Des Moines
  • Anna Nalean, Director of Nonprofit Relations, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
  • Matt McGarvey, Executive Director, Telligen Community Initiative

Diversity, equity and inclusion: What is it and how to discuss it organizationally and with funders?

(Panel discussion with Amy Knudsen, Manager of Grants and Prospect Research for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland; Izaah Knox, Associate Director of Urban Dreams; and Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Executive Director of One Iowa.)

This interactive workshop is designed to assist attendees in examining diversity in their organization, how to ensure they are advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, and communicating these efforts to funders. A panel discussion will focus on examining the topic, how to assess your organization, attracting diverse staff and board members, creating an inclusive environment, and communicating efforts to funders.

Prospecting by Searching for Alignment

(Mike Tramontina, Grant Consultant and Stephanie Fruhling, Information Services, Des Moines Public Library)

Advanced training in using Foundation Directory Online to prospect for funders whose mission, geographic priorities and donation history demonstrate alignment with your organization’s mission. Topics covered will include: identifying words and phrases to search by, setting up Boolean searches, and using actual donation history to target and prioritize prospects.

How to Develop a Strategic Extramural Funding Plan

(Mary Wohlford, Ph.D. & Tracy Bainter, MPA – Drake University)

This presentation will focus on the steps required to develop a strategic extramural funding plan. The basic steps are applicable to just about any organization. The steps begin with processes that focus on how to assess an organization’s funding potential and end with a road map that can be utilized in the development of a strategic funding plan. The presenters will utilize interactive processes during the session to engage participants.

May 2017 – The Future of State and Local Funding

Our guest speakers will discuss the status of funding streams that affect the non-profit sector. As timing would have it, our guests will have just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. and may be able to impart information that they learn on their travels.

  • Chris Kramer, Deputy Director, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Joe Murphy, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy, Greater Des Moines Partnership

July 2017 – Advanced Excel Training

Using data properly is an important part of a grant submission. Excel can be your best friend during those critical moments, if you know how to use it properly. Marian Godwin will be sharing some tips and tricks with us. Please feel free to bring your laptop to follow along, if you wish.

  • Marian Godwin, Research Associate, United Way of Central Iowa

September 2017 – Writing the Right Grants: Why and How Your Organization Should Create a Proactive Grant Writing Strategy

Finding potential grants that do not fit well your mission is easy, but finding grants that serve your mission and expand your capacity can be a challenge. This session will provide best practices that will assist in the development of a mission-focused, sustainable and successful grant seeking capacity that will serve well your mission and enhance your relationship within the grant making community.

  • Lance Noe, Director, Center for Professional Studies, Drake University

November 2017 – Panel Discussion: Dissolving the Mystery Behind Getting Your Grant Noticed by the Media


Perry Beeman, Managing Editor, Des Moines Business Record

Tom Torpy, Managing Editor, KCCI-TV

Phil Roeder, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Des Moines Public Schools

January 2018 – Using data to support grant proposals

Gary Krob

State Data Center, State Library of Iowa

Gary Krob provided a general overview of the resources and support that the State Library provides, as well as common resources utilized for data searches.

Ryan Murphy & Donna Burkett

Iowa Workforce Development, Labor Market Information Division

Ryan Murphy and Donna Burkett discussed Iowa Workforce Development’s Labor Market Information site (www.iowalmi.gov). Murphy and Burkett also reviewed IWD’s data tool (Tableau) and explained what labor market information is available and how to access it.



        November 2015 – Writing an effective needs statement

        Almost every grant you write will ask for a needs statement. This is the portion of the grant where paint a picture of the problem that your project will remedy. By using data and other evidence, you will be illustrating your understanding of the community need for your project.


        • Lance Noe, Director, Center for Professional Studies, Drake University
        • Gary Krob, Coordinator, State Data Center of Iowa
        • Matt McGarvey, Grants Director, Telligen Community Initiative

        • Lisa Pagel, Grants Manager, Mercy Foundation
        • Jim McWeeny, Grant Writer, Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX® Dome Theater

        January 2016 – Answering the Sustainability Question

        Do you find it difficult to answer the question, “How do you plan to sustain this program after grant funding ends?” Join us for a lively discussion on best practices and suggestions, featuring dialogue with the following individuals:

        • Suzanne Mineck, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
        • Matt Bruinekool, Drake University

        March 2016 – Using Results Based Accountability to Measure Program Effectiveness

        Do you know the difference between these words — outcome, benchmark, result, goal, objective, target, measure, indicator? They are often used interchangeably and can be quite confusing.

        Results Based Accountability (RBA) is a data driven, decision making process that can help measure the effectiveness of a program. Using RBA to write your grant can clear up confusion and help you develop meaningful program measurements.

        Join us for a presentation on RBA and for a hands-on chance to work through the process.


        • Corinne Lambert, United Way of Central Iowa
        • Mary Schlader, Project Iowa

        May 2016 – When the application asks, “How will you evaluate your grant-funded program?”

        Jennifer Farley, founder and president of Censeo Solutions, will be presenting information on answering this question in your grants, writing and developing a program evaluation, types of evaluation and methods of data collection. Censeo Solutions is a performance, data and evaluation management consulting company, based in Des Moines. Jennifer has worked with organizations for 13 years to evaluate programs and grants, manage projects, and utilize data to improve performance and increase impact.

        July 2016 – A conversation with a local funder

        Monica Fischer is a program officer for a private charitable foundation that gives anonymously. The conversation will focus on how she decides if a grant idea is viable or would be worthy to invest in. The format of this session will be a presentation with a lot of time for discussion and Q & A.

        September 2016 – Project Management

        Once we get the grant, grant writers often play the role of project managers. However, most of us have not had formal training in this area.

        George Hollins is a lecturer in the Tippie College of Business and serves as President of On-Track: The Strategic Solutions Company, an Iowa City based business consulting and training company specializing in project management, leadership, innovation and strategic planning. He will share an overview of the basics of project management as well as items to consider as we go through the life of a grant.

        • George M. Hollins, University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business

        November 2016 – Foundation Directory Online (held at Des Moines Public Library)

        Stephanie Fruhling will guide us through a training on the Foundation Directory Online, with specific emphasis on the Grantmakers Database. The Grantmakers Database includes information on over 140,000 grantmakers, including foundations, grant making public charities, and corporate giving programs. The service also allows you to e-mail information to yourself, or save information to a flash drive.

        • Stephanie Fruhling, Information Services, Central Library

        January 2017 – Federal Grant Management

        We will be learning about federal grant management and ISU’s implementation of the federal Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200). Whether you work at a small or large organization, have experience working with federal grants or not, this informative presentation will provide you with valuable information.

        Becky Musselman is a Certified Research Administrator (CRA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She holds bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Management Information Systems, and a master’s degree in Business Administration. Becky’s first position at ISU was in the Internal Audit Office, and she has over 23 years of experience in sponsored programs, including previous ISU positions as a Sponsored Programs Accountant, Business Manager of a research institute, Manager of Sponsored Programs Accounting, and Associate Controller.

        • Rebecca (Becky) Musselman, Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration at Iowa State University (ISU)

        March 2017 – Networking

        We have a wealth of knowledge among our grant membership. During this meeting we will spend time networking. Bring a question or problem that you need help with to discuss with your colleagues. We will spend the remainder of the meeting talking at our tables and working through those issues that you could use some help with.

          Copyright © Central Iowa Chapter GPA, All Rights Reserved.

          Office: +1 515-964-6645
          Email: sebecker1@dmacc.edu 

          Sarah Becker

          President, Central Iowa Chapter

          Grant Professionals Association

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