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Rebecca Vermillion Shawver, MPA, GPC

About Rebecca

International Grant Professionals Day

Did you know that March 18th is International Grant Professionals Day? If not, let me be the first one to share with the good news.

Founded by the Grant Professionals Association (GPA), this one day has been set aside to honor and recognize grant professionals for the contributions and dedication to raising funds and overseeing funded programs throughout the world. GPA says that it’s a “time to celebrate the administrators, consultants, managers, grant-makers, and grant proposal developers for their beneficial contributions to people, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. It’s time to honor more than 1.5 million grant professionals around the world who seek, implement and award approximately $700 billion in grant funding each year.”

It’s a great reminder to grant professionals everywhere that we important to our agencies and organizations – even if we aren’t internally or publicly recognized.

Does This Story Sound Familiar?

I n just about every organization for which I’ve worked, I am accustomed to being the drab, uninspiring wallpaper on the wall. You know what I mean. I’m the plain, pastel striped and somewhat boring background that no one really notices.  I’m there all the while working my heart out, but no one notices me or my work unless I “start to peel.” Then, they notice me.

I’m also the person that no one quite knows what I do for the organization. I’m the person that is seldom (if ever) included in a photo op when the million dollar checks come in. I’m the invisible grant writer! And that’s fine with me most of the time; but, every once in a while it would be nice if I were recognized for my professional expertise and contributions.

But Sometimes, Life Can Get Exciting!

International award for Rebecca Shawver and Dr. Bruce KielerLast year was an exceptional year for me and another of my grant professional colleagues. Dr. Bruce Kieler and I were honored to receive an international award for our collaborative grant fund development and program implementation strategies that brought together two community colleges and our regional nuclear power industry. Yes! Two grant writers received international attention. Isn’t that the greatest thing you’ve heard in a long time?

We were recognized for our key contributions to the success of the  Nuclear Power Technology programs at Wharton County Junior College and Brazosport College. The award was given by the Indian Science Monitor, a non-profit organization that promotes scientific discoveries and knowledge throughout the nation of India.

Dr. Kieler and I received the Sir J.C. Bose Memorial Award for 2014 which were awarded on January 18, 2015 for our ability to successfully secure numerous grant awards to initiate and support the expansion and implementation of the nuclear power training programs with monies from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, US Department of Education, and other funders. Our joint efforts and the strategies that we helped bring together were deemed a “model education for the students of India.” We were greatly honored. And even though we could not attend the presentation ceremony in India last year, we each received our certificates and ceremonial silk shawls from the Indiana Science Monitor.

Why Should This Matter to Grant Professionals?

I believe that it matters to all of us when any grant professionals receive recognition for their contributions to the success of their employers. It matters because it elevates the grant profession that we all represent. And perhaps more importantly, it is an outward sign that what we strive to do each and every day really does matter – for without us, our agencies and organizations would lack adequate funds with which to provide key programs and services to communities most in need of them.

Could you image our world without AIDS outreach programs, animal shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, college scholarships, after-school programs, homeless shelters, childcare centers, employment training programs, or any of the million other programs provided for those with no other means of obtaining needed assistance? I can’t – and if I could for a moment image that world, it’s one that I wouldn’t want to live in.

So just when you think that you too are an invisible piece of wallpaper that no one notices, remember that you play a critical role by ensuring adequate funds are raised – and you never know who is watching and reading your work.

Hopefully, someday I might just be reading about you receiving an international award!


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