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Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson

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  • 11/14/2022 10:39 AM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    One of our key missions at GPLH is to provide educational information, for grant writers interested in enhancing their skills, and for aspiring grant writers looking to learn more about the profession. Towards that goal, we offer numerous educational programs, resources on our website, one-on-one mentoring, and plenty of opportunities to network with and learn from experienced, successful grant writers.

    John Scuderi, a member of the GPLH Board since 2021, made use of all of these resources when he decided to enter the grant writing field. In this article, he shares how beneficial all of these tools were to him as he launched his new career:

    Since May 2, I have been the grant writer at Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem. My school, which opened in 2004, is one of 38 Catholic, college-prep schools in a coast-to-coast network that shares the same social-justice mission: to provide opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds to go to college, build careers, and climb out of poverty. Our school has been tremendously successful at getting our students to college, and our students have been tremendously successful at earning their bachelors’ degrees once they get there.

    In my six months on the job, the school has secured $695,000 in grants. Most of these are renewals with funders who have been supporting the school for several years, but one is an $80,000, two-year grant that our school won in a competition against other Cristo Rey Network schools. The Director of Admissions and I collaborated on our school’s proposal, which was one of six chosen in a network-wide effort to boost enrollment. I also have submitted proposals for another $429,500 in renewals – all of which my boss expects will be approved. If my boss is correct, then my work will have yielded $1.1 million for the school in just half a year!

    Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson is a major reason why I have been able to reach this point. The guidance, support, and professional development I received from the people at GPLH prepared me for success as a grant writer at Cristo Rey. Alison Paul, Joanne Stewart, and Lisa Keogh all deserve special thanks, but many others in the organization were patient with me and generous with their time, and their expertise contributed to my growth as a grant writer.

    When I joined GPLH in 2020, my career was in transition. After more than 25 years as a sports reporter and copy editor at the Gannett-owned daily newspapers in Westchester, I was looking for a new role that would put my journalism skill set to good use. I was able to land a variety of freelance assignments, so my work was getting published in books, in newspapers, in a local magazine, and online. But it was always in the “gig economy.” I wanted something more sustainable, a second career that hopefully would carry me to a happy retirement.

    Several unsuccessful job interviews went by as I continued searching for a full-time staff position. The passing years and repeated rejections took a bite out of my confidence. But after many, many discussions – with my career coach, a cousin who worked as a grant writer in New Jersey, and numerous professional contacts – I decided that grant writing might be the right fit. Unlike the journalism field, grant writing offered several professional organizations that presented numerous opportunities for networking. Still, I wasn’t fully convinced that I really belonged in the grant-writing world. We work in a fast-paced, tech-driven economy, and as a middle-aged person, I worried that a career change might not be a realistic goal for me.

    In GPLH, I found a collaborative group of like-minded professionals who welcomed me as their peer. My age and lack of grant-writing experience didn’t seem to matter. Almost immediately after becoming a GPLH member, I was encouraged to join the Board as a way to gain contacts and increase my level of involvement. Alison Paul’s online grant-writing course (offered through Westchester Community College) strengthened the foundation I had started to build through seminars and webinars. Some GPLH contacts shared the stories of the paths their careers had taken. Others served as mentors and connected me to opportunities to apply for grants as a consultant.

    With the help of GPLH, I grew to the point where last spring, Cristo Rey New York High School could see that I was the right candidate to fill its vacated position of grant writer. To all my good friends at GPLH, I send my sincerest thanks!

  • 10/31/2022 4:43 PM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    At the “Meet the Experts” event held on 10/12/22 by the Association of Development Officers, GPLH was represented by two of our board members, Deborah Brown and Maureen Fox. There was a great turnout and the event was a huge success.

    The topic presented by Deborah and Maureen, “Three Things to Make Your Grant Proposal Shine,” was very popular with those in attendance. And, during one of the sessions, some of GPLH’s current members and board members joined the conversation. Each group of participants was unique and the questions varied, including where to look for grant opportunities, how to get started and how to make your grant stand out.

    Many attendees seemed to be new to grant writing. The presentation and handout helped explain some of the nuances associated with knowing your audience and making your application stand out.

    The discussion focused on many factors that go into crafting an excellent proposal, with special attention to these top three basics:

    1. Character and word limits: Tried and true tips for working within these limits.
    2. Speak to your audience: Know and write for your audience. Include stories and data to tell the full story.
    3. Make it look good: Tricks to making your proposal as visually appealing as possible.

    To view the handout with all of the tips and ideas from the workshop, click here.

    A key take-away from the day – read the directions!

    For more grant writing tips and resources, visit the Grant Writing Education page on our website.

  • 10/28/2022 10:20 AM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson is hosting a writing support session via ZOOM to discuss the mechanics and actual writing of the Initial Proposal for Impact100 Westchester's 2022 application. Initial Proposals are due 1/13/23.

    GPLH is providing the session as a free community service to Westchester County nonprofits. Part of our mission is to help increase the likelihood of grants being funded. The session is being held independently of Impact100 Westchester. The session is not “mandatory” and participation will not influence Impact100 Westchester’s review of your application.

    The workshop will be held via ZOOM and will be led by Joanne Stewart, Owner/President of goodworks Advisory Group, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in Grant Writing, Marketing and Communications, and Board Development for nonprofit organizations. Joanne is currently GPLH Secretary, and is also a GPLH founding Board Member and Past President.

    • Workshop Date and Time: Tuesday, December 13, 8:30 AM
    • How to register: Email Joanne Stewart at jstewart@goodworksadvisorygroup.com. Include your name, agency, email address, and phone number. A Zoom link and a copy of the questions will be sent to you prior to the workshop.
  • 08/22/2022 1:41 PM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    GPLH Co-President Alison Paul will be teaching a virtual course this fall through Westchester Community College: “Grant Writing Basics for NonProfit Organizations” will be offered via ZOOM from 6-9 pm on four Wednesdays: Oct. 26; Nov. 2, 9, 16. Alison has raised millions of dollars over her 30+ year career working with nonprofits and in her grant consulting business.  

    Class Description

    The course is ideal for those new to grant writing or those who work for a nonprofit and want to increase their skill set. Learn to write a grant to support a nonprofit’s mission and goals.

    The course will include how to: find funders; understand the components of a strong proposal; write a basic budget; articulate realistic and measurable outcomes; construct evaluation plans. It will also address how to get started as a grant writer.  

    The course is interactive. It will include many sample grants to review as well as access to a wealth of resources. The final project is a short letter proposal. We will read all proposals and then, in a friendly, constructive way, participants will vote yay or nay on funding – so you’ll experience being a grant reviewer as well.

    GPLH Board Member John Scuderi took this course and recommends it highly: “Alison is a knowledgeable, patient teacher who skillfully and expertly covers a lot of course material in a short amount of time. Over the course of just four sessions, she provided our class with an overview of the grant writer's role that went a long way toward preparing me for the full-time Grant Writer position I now hold. I strongly recommend Alison's course to anyone who is interested in grant writing, whether you are making a career change or just want to expand your knowledge.”

    Registration Information

    The course is listed in the fall SUNY Westchester Workforce Development and Community Education catalog, on page 8, under Careers in Writing & Publishing. (CE-GRANT 2000, #89943, $160) Click here to view the catalog.

    To register, call 914-606-6830 and press option 1.

    For more registration info, click here.


    Email Alison at apaulconsultant@gmail.com

  • 05/14/2022 12:47 PM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)
    GPLH operates an Internship/Mentoring Program for individuals interested in becoming a grant writer, so they can obtain experience. Participants are connected with a professional grant writer, who gives the participant real projects to work on. The program offers hands-on learning and practice, combined with mentoring from a seasoned expert. Internships are non-paid, but there is the potential to be hired by the mentor.

    Many GPLH members who have utilized this program have gone on to established careers in grant writing. Here are personal testimonials from two recent program participants:

    “Working with a GPLH mentor was an excellent decision, as it helped me to gain some of the skills needed for grants research, writing LOIs, and even writing select grant proposal responses.  My mentor was patient, always available to answer questions, and gave me real work experience.  When we were awarded a grant that I helped to write, it was extremely satisfying. I then had the confidence I needed to look for a grant writing job.”  Laura Kaplow-Goldman

    “The Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson provides mentees with hands on experience to learn the skills and techniques of grant writing. Receiving a mentorship through GPLH has given me the confidence to assist with raising over $500,000 worth of grant funds for programs at multiple organizations. I am thankful to gain this knowledge from one of GPLH's dedicated educators to serve communities in need.” Jorel Lonesome

    To learn more about receiving mentoring, or about becoming a mentor, contact us: info.gplh@gmail.com

  • 05/07/2022 3:41 PM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    GPLH is pleased to announce the Founder’s Scholarship Fund, which will provide one-year memberships to GPLH.

    The scholarships are made possible by a generous contribution from Lydia Howie, President of Howie Grant Writing & Consulting, LLC, and GPLH founder. Lydia sought to create an organization that would bring grant writers and aspiring grant writers together to provide educational events and networking opportunities as well as raise the profile of the grant writing as a skill-based profession.

    How to apply for a scholarship:

    To apply for a scholarship for a one-year GPLH membership, complete this short application. Preference will be given to new members or those currently unemployed. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

    Benefits of GPLH membership:

    GPLH is dedicated to professional development and helping the people who write grants be more effective, so the organizations and people we support have the resources they need to fulfill their missions.

    GPLH members receive:

    • Exclusive access to a member’s only page on our website where you can view past educational webinars.
    • Free admission for all education events / webinars.
    • Email notifications about grant writing jobs and consulting opportunities.
    • E-blasts on industry news, survey results, and more.
    • Extensive networking opportunities with other grant writers
    • CONNECTION CALLS where members “talk shop,” share resources, and get valuable advice from peers.
    • Opportunity to participate in our internship program which pairs experienced grant writers with those newer to the field.
    • Scholarship opportunities for educational enrichment.
  • 02/13/2022 10:45 AM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    The GPLH Board of Directors is a talented, dedicated group of professionals who volunteer their time to ensure that GPLH is a vibrant and effective organization that brings benefits and enrichment to our members.

    We are proud to announce our 2022 GPLH Board of Directors:

    Starting with our Executive Committee, all of whom are returning Board members:

    • Nancy Keane, Co-President
    • Alison Paul, Co-President
    • Deborah Brown, Vice President and Treasurer
    •  Joanne Stewart, Secretary and founding Board member

    We are grateful to the following returning Board members:

    • Lisa Keogh, Fundraising Chair and founding Board member
    • Maureen Fox, Programs Co-Chair
    • Jill Levey, Membership Co-Chair
    • Michelle Nepton, Programs Co-Chair
    • Eric Roth, Internship/Mentoring Chair
    • John Scuderi, Communications Co-Chair
    • Carol Nordgren, Job Bank Chair.

     We welcome the following individuals who are new to our Board this year:

    • Laura Kaplow-Goldman, Communications Co-Chair
    • Laura Newman, Membership Co-Chair
    • Sherry Rose, Membership Co-Chair

    Many thanks to this year’s outgoing Board members who generously gave their time and talents while they served on the Board: Barbara Cervoni; Steve Densmore; Brian Kane; Terri Eberle Katz.

    Special thanks to Lydia Howie, GPLH  Founding President, who has stepped down from Board service this year. In October of 2008, Lydia convened a meeting with a group of local grant writing professionals to discuss ways in which they could support each other and the grant writing profession. Out of that meeting, GPLH was born. Lydia’s contributions to our organization over the past 14 years are immeasurable. We are indebted to Lydia for her incredible dedication and service, and are grateful that, while not on the Board, she will continue to be an active member of GPLH going forward.

    Learn more about our Board members here.

    There’s always room for more talented and dedicated people! If you have interest in learning more about serving on the GPLH Board, or if you’d like to volunteer your time and talents in any way, we’d love to hear from you. To learn more, send an email to info.gplh@gmail.com.

  • 11/07/2021 12:03 PM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    Grant Professionals of Lower Hudson is hosting workshops to improve your understanding of how to write an effective Letter of Inquiry to apply for funding from Impact100 Westchester. The deadline to submit an LOI to Impact100Westchester is 1/14/22.

    GPLH is providing these workshops as a free community service. Part of our mission is to help increase the likelihood of grants being funded. These sessions are being held independently of Impact100 Westchester.

    The workshops will be held via ZOOM and will be led by Joanne Stewart, Owner/President of goodworks Advisory Group, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in Grant Writing, Marketing and Communications, and Board Development for nonprofit organizations. Joanne is currently GPLH Secretary, and is also a GPLH founding Board Member and Past President.

    You can choose one of two session dates:

    • Tuesday, December 14, at 8:30 AM
    • Thursday, December 16, at 4:30 PM

    To register:

    Email Joanne Stewart at jstewart@goodworksadvisorygroup.com. Please include your name, agency, email address and the session you plan to participate in.

    The ZOOM link and a copy of the application questions will be sent to you prior to the session.

  • 09/17/2021 5:02 PM | Barbara Cervoni (Administrator)

    GPLH Co-President Alison Paul will be teaching a virtual course this fall through Westchester Community College: “Grant Writing Basics for NonProfit Organizations” will be offered via ZOOM from 6-9 pm on four Thursdays: October 7, 14, 21 and 28.

    Class Description

    Learn how nonprofits raise funds, including the importance of grants. Gain knowledge and skills to develop effective foundation proposals. Topics include how to find grant prospects; the elements of a strong proposal; how to write a clear and compelling requests and the basics of budgets.

    The class is interactive with assignments culminating in completing a short proposal. There will be writing activities and interactive breakout groups, as well as a detailed PowerPoint presentation filled with guidance, useful information, and many examples of proposals and budgets. Designed for those who want to hone their grant writing skills or learn more about the field.

    Registration Information

    Click here to view the WCC course catalog, then:

    • View the course listing on page 2 at the bottom (CE-GRANT 2000, 4 Thursdays, $166, #83503)
    • View registration information on pages 54 and 55

    Register Online: Go to www.sunywcc.edu/mywcc. Click on “Class Search-Continuing Ed." then type CE-GRANT 2000 into the search box

    Register by Phone: Call 914-606-6830, press #1.

    About the Instructor

    Alison Paul launched her grant strategy and grant writing business in 2008. Inspired to help clients fulfill their important missions, she has written grants for the arts, advocacy, children, the environment, human services, social justice, and other causes. Her work includes grant writing, prospect research, assessing grant readiness, editing, and mentoring grant writers.

    Alison has also assisted organizations with strategic planning, creating fundraising plans and writing cases of support. She has presented grant-writing workshops and moderated panels for several organizations in Westchester. She is co-president of Grants Professionals of Lower Hudson (GPLH) and was previously President of the Association of Development Officers (ADO).

    In fall 2021, Alison was appointed CEO of Destination College, which helps under-resourced high school students achieve academic success, obtain admission to and persist in college. She was a grant writer for 10 years at the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, raising over $12 million. As Executive Director of the Pelham Art Center she was involved in all aspects of fundraising and management. She worked previously as Director of Education at the South Street Seaport Museum and The Hudson River Museum.

  • 08/25/2021 4:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In spring 2021, GPLH distributed two surveys to grant writers and consultants to get an accurate sense of compensation. These salary surveys guide potential employers about a fair rate of pay for grant professionals in our area.  

    GPLH 2021 Salary Survey Results.pdf

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