The Chicago Area chapter typically provides four events per year in downtown Chicago that include networking and professional development.   Our quarterly chapter meetings follow a set agenda:

9:30am – Board Meeting
11:00am – Registration and Networking
11:30am – Lunch
12:15pm – Program
1:45pm – Committee Meetings (optional)

Upcoming Events

Chapter events will be held online until at least mid-2021. Save the date for these virtual programs:
February 18, 2021: A Conversation on Ethics in Grants (see details)
April 29, 2021: Grant Success Conference
September 16, 2021: (virtual) True Cost Budgets with Alicia M. Schatteman, PhD, Director at Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies at Northern Illinois University
December 9, 2021: (in-person) Holiday Social, Venue TBD
When in-person events resume, the chapter will meet at the Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Center (400 S. State Street, Chicago IL).


2021 programs

Thursday, September 16

The Costs of Realizing Your Nonprofit Mission

presented by Alicia Schatteman, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies

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GPA Chicago’s September program will be held virtually. The program will begin with 15 minutes of networking at 11:45am, followed by announcements and the presentation. The Costs of Realizing Your Nonprofit Mission will focus on the role of charity watchdogs and the media, how nonprofits are responding to scrutiny, and a path forward requiring donor education, advocacy, and boldness to talk about true costs of service delivery including fundraising. For more program details and registration info click here.

GPA Chicago Members : $10

Non-Members: $15

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Our keynote speaker, Michelle Muri, shared her work with Community Centric Fundraising and the movement to evolve how fundraising is done in the nonprofit sector.

The program included a keynote, funder panel and two breakout sessions.

Recent Programs

Thursday, February 18

Ethics for Grant Professionals

presented by Kathi Badertscher, PhD, Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy


GPA Chicago’s first program of 2021 will be held virtually. The program will begin with 15 minutes of networking at 11:45am, followed by announcements and the presentation beginning at 12:10pm. Weaving Ethics Into Your Work as a Grant Professional will focus on the strong code of ethics grant professionals must follow and adhere to.

GPA Chicago Members : $10

Non-Members: $15

Chapter program: Resources for Advancing Your Career
December 17, 2020

Bring your lunch, turn on your camera and get ready to expand your reading list! In this quarterly program, the Chicago Area GPA Program Chair will moderate a discussion with grant professionals from various industries and varying levels of experience about the books, blogs, podcasts and resources that are their sources for the latest information.  Leave the meeting with a reading list of books that will help advance your career, build your knowledge and spur professional development.

Grant Success Conference

GPA Chicago’s Grant Success Conference 2020 was held virtually on Thursday, September 17, 2020. The full-day conference included a keynote, funder panel and two breakout sessions (total 4 breakouts). 


Thanks to our sponsors


GPA Chicago Lunch and Learn series


Our Lunch and Learn series is offered exclusively to GPA Chicago members as a membership benefit. Each program in the series will begin with a 15-minute lead discussion and a presentation followed by 15 minutes of topic-related Q&A. Serving as a way to build a social space for our grants community, this series can be especially helpful for single staff grant departments.

November 19, 2020: Personality in the Workplace

12:00 noon  Room opens
12:15-1:00pm  Conversation

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Are you Myers-Briggs type ISTJ or ISTP? Or maybe ENFP or ENFJ? Where do you fit on the DiSC profile? What do these terms mean, anyway? Chapter Vice President Konnie Dulu will facilitate an open conversation on personality strengths and weaknesses and their impact on the workplace. Various personality tests and theories of personality type will be discussed.

Look for your members-only email to register for this online event.

Past Lunch and Learn topics and speakers 


Nonprofit Consulting: Skills You Need to Succeed

 with Kristin Raack, Principal, AltruNext

On August 13, members participated in a brief discussion about how to position yourself as a consultant-either solo or with a firm-as well as some of the legal and professional questions to consider.


Earning Your Grant Professional Certification 

 with Maureen Stabile, GPC

On July 9, members participated in a brief discussion about how the Grant Professional Certification can add value to your resume. Participants received an overview of the certification process as well as tips on how to pay for the GPC exam.


How to Use Social Media Effectively

with Amy Chmura, CFRE

On June 11, GPA Chicago members participated in a Lunch and Learn on How to Use Social Media Effectively. The brief discussion focused on how social media can be used in branding, fundraising and funder outreach.


Preventing Burnout 

with Konstandina Dulu, MA

On May 14, GPA Chicago chapter members learned how to prevent burnout by recognizing signs and using coping skills. Additional resources were provided.


Managing Stress While Working From Home

with Felicia Houston, MA, LCPC, CWA

On April 21, as professionals in the grants community and beyond began facing the challenge of COVID-19, GPA Chicago offered this free presentation offering tips on how to resolve excessive stress while working from home during #QuarantineLife and in the future.

Future Lunch and Learn topics

  • August 13–Consulting
  • October 8–Project Management 
  • November 19–Strengths/Weaknesses and Personality 

Future Planned Event 

December 17, 2020: Favorite books and blogs.  Lunchtime meeting (11:30am-1:30pm)

Past In-Person Events

February 13, 2020: A Seat at the Table: Advocating for grants in your development plan. 

Grant professionals bring unique skills and value to the fundraising profession.  They are part of the broader fundraising landscape that encompasses the major gifts officer, annual appeal manager or events coordinator.  Yet many grant professionals, and sometimes other development staff, do not consider them as fundraisers. Whether real or perceived, this divide among development teams can be bridged by making sure grant professionals are seated at the table when discussing fundraising strategies. We will hear from a panel of Development Directors on how to create a culture of collaboration which celebrates the similarities and differences of grant professionals and other fundraising positions.
For details on speakers and the meeting agenda, click here.

November 8, 2019  Chapter Event 

Group viewing of GPA National Conference live stream. Free event for chapter members only.

Location: Oakton Community College
Check your inbox for the members-only invitation!

October 18, 2019  Chapter Event 

Special guests Marcia Festen and Marianne Philbin shared their expertise on how nonprofit grant seekers can put their best foot forward to help a reviewer move their proposals through the review process successfully. Discussion will cover components of a proposal, how to help program officers quickly understand the impact of your organization, and tips to help prepare for and execute an effective site visit.

August 16, 2019  Chapter Event

“The Art of Storytelling: A Powerful Tool to Engage Funders” with Pon Angara of Barkada Circle Storytelling Studio, Crystal Robinson of Siragusa Family Foundation and Emily Dreke of Chicago Foundation for Women.

May 17, 2019  Chapter Conference


February 15, 2019  Chapter Event: National Conference Round Up

Chicago chapter members provided summaries of some of the hottest topics from the national GPA conference and lead discussions on lessons learned.