Phyllis Lewis
(810) 603-0000

April 16, 2008


Grand Blanc, MI: Phyllis Lewis, who is Director of Grant Development for SmartWORKS, Inc., has earned a nationally recognized credential in the grants field with the first cohort ever to do so. The recognition is conferred by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute, Inc. (GPCI, pronounced “gypsy”), an affiliate of the American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP). Phyllis Lewis is one of 170 certified grant designers and managers who were conferred the “GPC” title as Grant Professional Certified after the history-making first offering of the GPC exam. The credential recognizes proficiency in standards that include tenure in the profession, education, demonstrated achievement and a commitment to service for public and private philanthropy.

“The past decade of activity by the American Association of Grant Professionals shows this field now requires skills far beyond just the staff-level ‘writer’ role,” said GPCI President Marcia Ford. “Today, grant professionals are held accountable not just by their employers, but especially by charitable and corporate foundations and governments. They are called upon to negotiate elaborate collaborations between groups that can leverage more productivity than a single agency or advocacy group could manage on its own. They come from many walks,” she said, “and are more likely to have nonprofit management and program development skills than the typical proposal writer from the last generation.”

Beyond meeting eligibility requirements, GPCs have mastered nationally standardized competencies that are defined by nine skill sets. In partnership with the University of South Florida’s Tampa-based Institute for Instructional Research and Practice (IIRP), the GPC exam was established within the strict rigors and standards of psychometric testing. The exam, which took seven years since inception, is the result of numerous interactions with grant professionals, employers, the funding community, and other stakeholder groups throughout the country.

Credentialed individuals agree to uphold AAGP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice. GPCs receive certification for a three-year period. In order to maintain the status, conferees must continue documenting their education, practices and contributions to the field, or pass the same examination as new GPCs.

“The new national standards for the grants field are becoming the basis for current professional development, no matter what organization is offering the training,” President Ford said. “Some of the best recognized training firms participated in the test development, and others are updating their courses to help candidates prepare for the exam,” she said. Many states have chapters of the American Association of Grant Professionals, and some organized study groups last year to prepare for the original examination, held in Arlington, Virginia, in November. Others are doing so for upcoming regional exams.

“GPCI will apply for accreditation as soon as our track record makes us eligible to seek confirmation of our credentialing process at the end of 2008,” Ford said.

Distribution of certifications by states is: Alaska 1, Arizona 4, California 13, Colorado 1, Connecticut 1, District of Columbia 2, Florida 28, Georgia 7, Idaho 1, Illinois 4, Indiana 5, Iowa 3, Kansas 5, Kentucky 1, Maryland 7, Massachusetts 2, Michigan 4, Missouri 2, Nebraska 1, New Jersey 4, New Mexico 1, New York 9, North Carolina 1, Ohio 6, Oregon 10, Pennsylvania 1, South Carolina 2, Tennessee 17, Texas 4, Vermont 2, Virginia 9, Washington 8,West Virginia 1, and Wisconsin 2.

More information about GPCI can be found on its website,


GPCI is an affiliate organization of the
American Association of Grant Professionals
1333 Meadowlark Lane, Suite 105
Kansas City, KS 66102


Since SmartWORKS began in 1991, their experienced staff has written more than $50 million in successful grant applications. Funds acquired have provided services to those in need through varied arenas including education, housing, health, mentoring, welfare to work, employment training, family literacy, substance abuse prevention and treatment, mental health services, and prevention of juvenile delinquency.

SmartWORKS provides skilled consulting services as well as a systems perspective on programmatic design, implementation and refinement. The organization has been privileged to work with many individuals and institutions in moving their program and organization toward innovative, "cutting edge" practices. Most importantly, they offer a strategic approach to setting priorities, acquiring, and allocating resources needed for client organizations to achieve their mission and goals.

SmartWORKS, Inc.
7550 S Saginaw Street, Suite 3
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Phone: (810) 603-0000
Toll Free: (888) 810-8885
Fax: (810) 603-2975