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Rebecca Vermillion Shawver, MPA, GPC

About Rebecca

What Is NGMA and Why Should You Be a Member?

If you aren’t familiar with National Grants Management Association (NGMA), please let me tell you about this organization and why membership in it is important to anyone involved in the process of grant management across all levels—from the grantmaker through the grant recipient and everyone in between.

NGMA is recognized throughout the grant management industry as the membership association leader, providing tools and resources for grant professionals to support and maintain high levels of grant-management competency and to establish standards of excellence for grant managers. It provides:

  • Comprehensive full life-cycle grant management training
  • Professional certification, known as the Certified Grants Management Specialist (CGMS)
  • Continuing professional education, tools, and resources
  • A forum for networking with grant industry professionals

NGMA connects professionals in the grant field to improve and unify the grant delivery process by bringing together the professionals involved in this process so that they may learn from each other. Members represent diverse grant professionals from all levels of government (federal, state, local, tribal), nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and affiliated private sector organizations. Members include, but are not limited to:

  • Grant management specialists
  • Grant management officers
  • Grant coordinators
  • Grant developers
  • Grant administrators
  • Grant compliance managers & officers
  • Grantees
  • Grant policy analysts
  • Chiefs of grants
  • Directors of sponsored programs
  • Budget analysts
  • Financial managers
  • Financial analysts
  • Financial specialists
  • Financial administrators
  • Procurement officers
  • Fiscal officers
  • Program officers

NGMA offers a variety of opportunities and venues to increase grant staff members’ knowledge base (I’ve participated in several of these learning options):

Immediate Electronic Announcements about Important Grant Management Actions, Procedures, and Laws

These announcements have been especially helpful to me as I’ve tracked changes in the new Uniform Grant Guidance and other federal regulations.

Opportunities to Network with Federal Funders and Agencies

Annually, I attend the Council for Resource Development’s (CRD) national conference for community college fundraisers. Federal funding agencies are always available to speak with potential applicants and current grant recipients about their programs and the application process. However at the NGMA national conference, I had the opportunity to hear directly from grant management administrators and program officers. This was a unique learning opportunity that has broadened my understanding of post-award rules, regulations, and policies that often differ between agencies.

Quarterly Newsletter

NGMA’s quarterly newsletter offers an in-depth look at grant management best practices and issues. I always look forward to reading what my professional colleagues have learned and are sharing with the grant community.

Webinars and Free Webcasts

Through webinars and FREE on-demand/recorded webcasts, NGMA offers the latest in grant management training. I have viewed several of these and find that they are excellent professional development tools that are only a few clicks of my computer mouse away.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits

NGMA offers NASBA accredited CPEs for training. Although I don’t need CPEs in my position, I think it is an important aspect of NGMA’s services because this is a confirmation of the quality of the educational offerings of the organization—especially the NGMA Grants Management Body of Knowledge (GMBoK).

First Local Chapter Formation

When Shelly Slebrch was hired to be the executive director of NGMA, she knew that growth opportunities were being missed. She recognized that while NGMA was a national organization, it appeared that the organization was focusing mainly on feds in the Washington, DC area and the national conference. She quickly realized that this meant that grant professionals around the country weren’t being offered enough opportunities to become actively involved in the organization.

After all, not all social service, universities, community colleges, hospitals, health departments, and other grant-funded programs could afford to send their staff to national conferences each year. She felt strongly that NGMA needed to find a way to reach out to potential members where they live and work—in a more affordable way.

With that goal, Shelly initiated the idea that local chapters or regional networking groups should be formed to meet the needs of grant management professionals throughout the country. With her diligent efforts and those of local members, the first two chapters have been formed in Houston and Austin, Texas.

Throughout NGMA’s 37-year history, the Houston Chapter is the first local chapter in the organization to have convened a regional meeting outside of the DC area. And I’m pleased to say that on December 10, 2015, I was one of the sixteen members that attended this inaugural event. Kudos to Shelly Slebrch (NGMA Executive Director), Rikitra Stewart (NGMA Houston Chapter Chair), and Nicole Johnson (NGMA Houston Chapter Co-Chair), and all the volunteers and members that made this moment possible.

If I’ve piqued your interest, you can learn more by going to Who knows? Maybe you would like to form a chapter in your city or town. If so, just contact Shelly Slebrch. She’ll be more than happy to work with you.


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