Celebration of Philanthropy Draws Huge Crowd in Columbus

(Columbus, Ohio) – Nearly 650 of Columbus’ most philanthropic-minded individuals gathered at the 2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day luncheon celebration on November 21, 2017.

PRESS RELEASE: Celebration of Philanthropy Draws Large Crowd in Columbus

(Columbus, Ohio) – Nearly 650 of Columbus’ most philanthropic-minded individuals gathered at the 2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day luncheon celebration on November 21, 2017.

The annual event, celebrating it’s 25th anniversary year in Central Ohio, honors those who have significantly impacted our community through their volunteer and philanthropic efforts. The National Philanthropy Day luncheon was emceed by NBC4 anchor, Matt Barnes, and AFP Central Ohio Board President, Carolyn Caldwell of Raising Awareness, Raising Funds, and is reflective of the generous philanthropic spirit that characterizes Central Ohio.
The 25th annual award honorees recognized are:

  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser- The Reverend Monsignor Joseph M. Hendricks
  • Outstanding Small Corporation – Compton Construction
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group – Buckeyethon
  • Leave a Legacy Award (Presented by the Charitable Gift Planners of Central Ohio) – J.W. “Bill” Straker
  • Big Lots Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award – Meagan Warren, Books for Bedtime
  • Outstanding Foundation – The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation
  • Outstanding Professional Fundraiser – Marilyn Frank
  • Outstanding Large Corporation – Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
  • The Columbus Foundation Outstanding Philanthropist Award – Al and Barbara Siemer

Mr. Barnes and Ms. Caldwell recognized the generous sponsors who invested in the event, supporting the celebration and Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter: Big Lots Foundation, The Columbus Foundation, L Brands, Benefactor Group, Cardinal Health, CompDrug, Cramer & Associates, Creative Living, Nationwide, Ohio Health Foundation, The Ohio State University Office of Student Life, BuckeyeThon, PNC and United Way of Central Ohio. Over 20 additional tables were sponsored, as well. Immediately following the event, guests enjoyed a dessert reception, and received complimentary copies of the Columbus Business First Giving Guide and Sophisticated Giving guide. Other in-kind donors to the event are Live Technologies, Oberer’s Flowers, Grange Insurance, and 90.5 WCBE.
This event is an incredible reminder of what Central Ohio stands for, and what happens when mission, vision, and giving come together. It is truly magnificent to see the impact that can be made when people give of their time, talent or treasure. AFP Central Ohio is honored to play a professional role in connecting the values of those giving-oriented people, families and groups to the non-profits that serve our communities so well. Each year, we come away from this event feeling inspired to continue this work, and we truly look forward to celebrating philanthropy with our fellow citizens at this event, each year” said event chair Stephanie Christie.

Photo (L to R):  Colin Quinn, BuckeyeThon; Susan Holdren on behalf of J.W. “Bill” Straker; Kathryn Dobbs, Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation; Meagan Warren, Books for Bedtime; Blake Compton, Compton Construction; Barbara Siemer; Al Siemer; Marilyn Frank; The Reverend Monsignor Joseph M. Hendricks 

Honoree Videos can be viewed at https://centralohioafp.org/national-philanthropy-day/

Member Spotlight: Erin (Neeb) Prescott, CFRE


Erin (Neeb) Prescott, CFRE

Director of Development at The Dawes Arboretum


Tell us about your organization:

The Dawes Arboretum enriches lives through the conservation of trees and nature.  Located just 35 miles east of Columbus, we offer nearly 2,000 acres of tree collections, woodlands, wetlands and sustainable farming.  The Arboretum provides meaningful experiences in nature that encourage learning and enhance our community.  Last year, more than 260,000 visitors explored our plant collections and more than 15,000 people participated in our educational programming.

Not just a gem of central Ohio, The Dawes Arboretum’s plant collections are known on a national scale.  Participating in the Plant Collections Network, a group of North American botanical gardens and arboreta that coordinates a continent-wide approach to the preservation of plant genetics, The Arboretum’s work includes tree records dating back 100 years!


How long in AFP

I joined AFP in 2012.  Erich Hunker, who has long been active in the leadership of our AFP chapter is also a trustee of The Dawes Arboretum and encouraged me to join.  I have been fortunate to learn so much from his experience. 


What do you consider the most valuable

Being in a small shop development office, it has really meant a lot to me to have AFP colleagues with whom to discuss ideas.  AFP helps me to remember while sometimes I might be the only one at my organization with a particular role, I’m not alone! 

I also appreciate AFP for introducing me to the CFRE credential and providing exceptional continuing education opportunities to keep my certification current.


How long fundraising

My first experience with fundraising came in college when I was a member of a student association promoting recycling on campus.  The Fundraising Chair role was open with no volunteers to run for the position.  I thought, I could certainly do better than no one!  After securing a $10,000 grant for the organization, I got a taste for fundraising and looked at career opportunities.  I’ve been a professional fundraiser for 10 years now.  Before my time with The Dawes Arboretum, I was lucky to learn relationship management from the wonderful folks at The Nature Conservancy.


Columbus Faves

I love a long walk with my dog, Annie, so of course I enjoy visiting the parks and natural areas across the region.  If you asked Annie, she’d probably rather visit the Short North and Three Dog Bakery. 


Fun Facts

Causes related to the environment and animals are near and dear to my heart.  When you work for a cause you believe in so much, you are willing to do everything you can to help, which is why I have found myself in several costumes over the years.  I have been Lucky the Ladybug (Ohio’s first lady of litter prevention) and The Lorax.  At first, sweating through a wool costume at a hot summer festival doesn’t seem worth it, until a child runs up recognizing you from their favorite book and thanks you for speaking for the trees!  I know that my smile can’t be seen from inside the costume, but I always smile anyway.


Posted July 2017

Celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month 2017


To commemorate Pride Month, AFP  International talked with LGBTQ members about their experiences in the fundraising community, working with donors and boards, and what advice they have for fundraisers of all backgrounds.

The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in New York City, which occurred at the end of June 1969. Many pride events are held during this month to recognize the significant impact the LGBTQ community has had on the world.

To commemorate Pride Month, AFP talked with LGBTQ members about their experiences in the fundraising community, working with donors and boards, and what advice they have for fundraisers of all backgrounds.

Things have changed significantly for the LGBTQ community since the Stonewall Riots, of course, and even more so over the last twenty years. “Yes, it’s changed positively since I’ve been in fundraising,” said Josh Newton, CFRE, president and CEO of the University of Connecticut Foundation in Storrs, Conn. “Back in the late 90s, being gay or lesbian was more of an issue, even at places you might have considered progressive or expected to be more open and welcoming. Now, for me, being out and gay in the workplace simply isn’t an issue anymore—it’s gone mainstream. But I also realize that not every LGBTQ fundraiser is in the same workplace situation.”

“My experience in the profession parallels the experience in the broader U.S. and world culture,” said Robbe Healey, ACFRE, vice president for philanthropy at Simpson Senior Services in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. “I don’t feel like the nonprofit sector is significantly ahead of the rest of the world in terms of acceptance of the LGBTQ community. We continue to move forward, with some ups and down, but there remain organizations that are either slower to accept change or are simply resistant to change. There are regional differences, as well as differences by issue or subsector, and I think that’s to be expected.”

Ana Maria Dapena, a consultant in Puerto Rico, agrees. She notes that while Puerto Rico has come a long way in terms of rights for the LGBTQ community, she finds “crude homophobia” surfacing all the time. “It can be exhausting,” she says. “On one hand, we had something like the tragedy at the Pulse night club in Orlando, where 23 of the victims were from Puerto Rico, and there was a massive outpouring of support here. But then there are the little things—conversations where suddenly someone you thought you knew says something disparaging about the LGBTQ community. It hits you hard, and you have to play it smart and try to avoid the stress.”

For many of the fundraisers interviewed for this article, “playing it smart” means finding the right balance between aggressively pushing for change and quietly trying to move the needle. “You need both types of people to help bring about change,” said Healey. “I’m more of the latter type, and I think it’s a compliment sometimes when someone says ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were gay,’ because that means it’s not become a huge issue. But that doesn’t mean I’m not pushing for change every single day in my own way.”

The Importance of Authenticity

Depending on the culture of the institution, that balance can be very difficult to maintain when you’re trying to build relationships with donors, staff and others, according to John Dawe, president of Dawe Consulting Services in Kingston, Pa. “I hear this all the time during discussions at LGBTQ roundtables at conferences and forums,” he says. “How do you balance being gay at an organization that isn’t necessarily gay-friendly? How do you reconcile being truthful with donors, board members and staff who might ask about your family, even in a friendly or passing manner, and not wanting to risk hurting your organization?”

The term authenticity was offered by several as a key principle that they live by in the workplace, but its implications are much broader than just sexual identity.

 “For me, it’s not a question of being gay,” said Patrick Feeley, CFRE, executive vice president for Carron Treatment Centers in Wernersville, Pa.. “It’s a question of being authentic and sharing information about the cause. I’m a more effective fundraiser when I’m authentic, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to share everything about my life.”

Feeley always reminds himself that fundraising is his career, and although he brings a lot of personality and individuality to the position, that’s not his focus. His job is to make a match between his organization and a donor. “I hope the donor likes me and accepts me,” he says. “That always helps of course. But that’s not my priority.”

David Bennett, former chief development officer for the National Geographic Society, recalls working with a major donor who had completely different views from him or his organization. “We agreed on almost nothing political, I could just tell,” he says. “What was important for me to remember is that while I needed to be authentic, it wasn’t about ME. The authenticity came from the language I used about how we—the donor and the organization—could find common space and common language to make a gift that he was excited about. With some donors, you develop closer relationships, and others you don’t.”

Newton estimates that in 80 percent of his conversations with donors and others, his sexual identity is unimportant and never comes up, while perhaps in ten percent of his discussions, he might try to intentionally steer away from the topic based on dialogue from the other person. At other times, the issue might become a point of connection based on the donor or his or her partner, but it’s not an issue he ever brings up first. “My sexual identity isn’t something I think about a whole lot in these types of conversations, but I am cognizant of my institution and the donor when it does.”

Healey also points out that fundraisers bump up against all sorts of boundaries when talking with donors, whether it’s political, cultural or other issues. “Our job as fundraisers is to be able to understand and navigate these boundaries—that’s the mark of a competent, professional fundraiser. It really has nothing to do with sexuality issues,” she says.

Blurring Boundaries with Social Media

But social media has blurred some of those boundaries, giving members of the LGBTQ community a way to express themselves and measure the acceptance of their colleagues. “I’m constantly surprised by the support I get on Facebook and other social media from people I’d never expect to hear from,” said Dapena. “Social media is a way for me to be myself, and if people come to my page and get a sense of who I am and my identity, then that’s on them.”

Healey agrees, adding that social media is the real caveat to being careful with boundaries. “If you have an open social media page, like Facebook, then you are ‘out there’ and people are going to know,” she says. “Maybe you’re not telling anyone directly, one on one, but the message is still there.”

Healey recalls not being fully mindful of the impact of social media when she first became chair of AFP and the use of Facebook and LinkedIn was increasing dramatically. “I set up pages and was accepting friend requests from chapters and members as I traveled and gave speeches,” she says. “My partner and I got married and posted pics, and everyone saw and commented. So, everyone connected with me on Facebook would have known I was lesbian and married. While it hasn’t been an issue for me, social media can be a double-edged sword in that respect, if you’re not ready to express yourself that way.”

Creating a Culture of Acceptance

How can organizations help LGBTQ fundraisers feel comfortable enough to express themselves freely?  If you want to be seen as an organization that is accepting of the LGBTQ community (or any other group), then you must make sure that the culture IS accepting, from top to bottom.

“You have to think about everything, from policy—and ENFORCING policy—to the kinds of partnerships you enter into and what sort of organizations you work with,” said Dawe. “I encourage organizations to talk to local LGBTQ organizations, check out national or local forums hosted by these groups and see how you can better serve the community. For example, a domestic violence shelter might work with the local LGBTQ center to provide information on same sex domestic violence issues, or counseling agencies providing youth services can connect parents and guardians of queer youth with the local Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter. It’s really important to lead by example and show outwardly what you are doing so that others can see.”

A key commonality among the many stories shared by the fundraisers interviewed for this story was the importance of a boss who was open and accepting. In many cases, fundraisers pointed to great experiences—and first realizing how welcoming the workplace could be—from bosses who made it clear that sexual identity wouldn’t be an issue and supported LGBTQ fundraisers working in the organization.

“I think we have to remember that it’s always hard to be the first at anything,” says Bennett. “What I mean is, it can be very difficult to be the first staff member at an organization to come out as a gay, lesbian, trans or whichever. We’re also in an important time in history where LGBTQ fundraisers are entering the leadership ranks of mainstream organizations, and the same applies to women and people of color. We need to be very supportive of them, because how our organizations are perceived to treat them sends very loud, direct messages to others.”

Bennett recalls being surprised how important it was to some people FOR HIM to be the first gay manager at one of his organizations. “I was more visible to staff, some of whom I had never met before. They would come up to me at lunch in the cafeteria and say hi. And I think some of them were thinking, if David could be there in that position, then I can be too. So, the level of visibility—and the example we set—is critical, especially for LGBTQ fundraisers who might still be unsure about coming out publicly.”

And if someone does come out to you? “It’s very important to make him or her feel like they have an ally,” says Cathy Mann, CFRE, president of Cathy Mann & Associates in Toronto, Ontario. “We don’t necessarily need a cheerleader, but show them that you’re an ally, especially if they haven’t come out before. Express support and thank them. It’s okay to talk about it and ask questions, as long as you are authentically curious—you don’t have an agenda and you really want to hear from them.”

Shattering Assumptions

Perhaps the most important single thing that organization and fundraisers can do is to not make assumptions, according to Feeley and several other fundraisers. “We make all sorts of assumptions, whether it’s when we learn someone is a member of the LGBTQ community, or that they believe in this issue or another, when the reality is we really have no idea what they are truly like. For example, there are assumptions made that there are no conservative gays or lesbians, which is false. We need to do a better job of not assuming certain things, whether it applies to the LGBTQ community, or women, or any other group.”

“I am married to my partner and wear a wedding ring, and I ‘come out’ to others routinely when I am asked about my husband and what he does,” says Jaye Lopez Van Soest, development consultant for Public Justice in Washington, D.C. “I am not interested in embarrassing anyone or making anyone feel uncomfortable, but I have to gently say that I am an actually married to a woman. There are times when it can be funny, depending on the moment and the person involved, but it’s an assumption that many people make, including my colleagues.”

Mann takes the idea even further, noting that LGBTQ individuals are never fully out. “You don’t come out just once and then everyone knows,” she says. “You’re continually deciding on whether to come out every single day, every time you meet someone new. It’s a continuum, not just a moment. Sometimes I think, ‘Do I have it in me’ to come out to this person? It’s all very situational. And it can change sometimes, depending on work conditions, your comfort level and how well established you feel professionally and personally.”

Another issue related to assumptions and stereotypes is the sense of being pigeonholed and identified solely as an LGBTQ fundraiser. “I am a gay fundraiser, but that is just one aspect of my life,” says Newton. “If I go to conferences, I’m not always going to attend the LGBTQ affinity group table because there may be other interests I want to explore. Reaching out to LGBTQ fundraisers—or LGBTQ donors, board members, or whomever—doesn’t require a wholly separate approach.”

Dawe believes one of the most important stereotypes that needs to be broken is that LGBTQ individuals—and couples in particular—have higher incomes and therefore tend to be more interested in philanthropy and giving. It’s an outdated and inaccurate generalization, he says, to assume that all gay couples earn two salaries, don’t have children and therefore possess significant disposable income. “It’s not that the LGBTQ community isn’t philanthropic, of course. But not necessarily more so than other groups—we need to check these assumptions at the door.”

A Unique Perspective That Provides Lessons for Us All

Shattering assumptions, creating a culture of acceptance, working with social media, and navigating boundaries—there are lessons in the experiences of LGBTQ fundraisers that apply to all professionals and fundraisers. But the perspective—and the experience—is still very unique for the LGBTQ community.

“In Pennsylvania, an LGBTQ fundraiser can celebrate with his or her partner on Saturday, go to church on Sunday, and put a picture of their wedding on the work desk on Monday—and then be fired for it,” said Dawe, who works closely with Equality Pennsylvania on the issue. “We’ve made incredible progress, but sometimes it masks how far we still have to go in certain areas.”

Feeley thinks that it behooves LGBTQ fundraisers more than ever to find the right organization where they are comfortable. Ask the right questions of potential employers: What are their views and policies on diversity? What kind of diversity and inclusion initiatives has the organization led? “Find a good match for you,” he says. “Do your due diligence and find an organization that aligns with your values.”

“Remember that authenticity always wins,” says Bennett. “If you are out and active, great. If you’re quiet and laid back, be that person. What’s important is that you live your authentic self in the office space whether you are gay or straight. We are best as fundraisers when we are authentically ourselves.”

Lopez Van Soest also believes that AFP and other fundraising organizations have a vital role to play in supporting the LGBTQ community. “One thing that any community needs is a safe place, a forum for discussions when you can safely discuss things in a non-judgmental atmosphere,” she says. “For example, I think the app created for the AFP International Fundraising Conference was just phenomenal, and then John Dawe helped push for an LBGTQ channel on the app, which was so useful. If AFP and others can provide different platforms for that kind of communication and interaction, it will go a long way in supporting different communities.”

Ultimately, society continues to move forward, and as it does, the LGBTQ community continues to win important equal rights and greater acceptance in all aspects of society. “The train has left the station, the genie can’t be put back in the bottle—however you want to say it,” says Healey. “Our sector, and society around the world, is always enhanced by different opinions, expressions and cultures. Slowly but surely, the LGBTQ community is taking and solidifying its place alongside the many other groups that make up the social fabric of our world.”

Source: AFP International

Posted June 2017

Member Spotlight: Laurel H. Marks

Laurel Marks

Laurel H. Marks
Senior Development Director
Canine Companions for Independence®

Q: Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?
A: Canine Companions mission is to enhance the lives of children, adults and veterans who have a disability by pairing them with a highly trained assistance dog. The work that we do is life changing! I have a passion for helping people and a love for dogs, therefore I am privileged to work at Canine Companions as I get to have both of these passions combined in my daily role.

Q: How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?
A: I have been a member for less than a year. I would like to get more involved. I have attended a few seminars and the annual lunch, held last year.

Q: What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?
A: The most valuable part of an AFP membership is having the connectivity to fellow fundraisers and colleagues who share the same passion of donor engagement.

Q: How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?
A: I came from the corporate side, working with numerous non-profits, funding them and sitting on many different boards and host committees. I decided to move from a board member to an employee of one of the non-profits we supported as a corporation. I then heard about Canine Companions nice years ago and have been with the organization ever since.

Q: What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite Restaurant?
A: I have a core group of friends and family that make Columbus a great place to live. My favorite restaurant is Figlio and the owners just happen to be involved with Canine Companions!

Q: Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.
A: I have a full hip replacement at age 42. This was due to playing tennis all my life, both in high school and college


Posted June 2017

Giving USA 2017: Charitable Giving in the U.S. Reaches $390 Billion


Giving by individuals, foundations, corporations and estates rose by 2.7 percent in 2016 (1.4 percent adjusted for inflation) to reach an all-time high of $390.05 billion, according to Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016.

The rise in total giving was spurred largely by giving from individuals, which increased nearly 4 percent in 2016. Giving by individuals grew at a higher rate than the other sources of giving, outpacing giving by foundations and by corporations, and offsetting the sharp decline in bequests.

“Individual giving continued its remarkable role in American philanthropy in a year that included a turbulent election season that reflected a globally resurgent populism,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “In this context, the absence of a dramatic change in giving is perhaps remarkable, but it also demonstrates the need for us to better understand the multitude of individual and collective decisions that comprise our record of national giving.”

Charitable Giving by Source

  • Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $281.86 billion, rising 3.9 percent (2.6 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016.
  • Giving by foundations increased 3.5 percent (2.2 percent adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $59.28 billion in 2016. Data on foundation giving are provided by Foundation Center.
  • Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $30.36 billion in 2016, declining 9.0 percent (10.1 percent adjusted for inflation) from 2015.
  • Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 3.5 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016, totaling $18.55 billion.

“In 2016, we saw something of a democratization of philanthropy,” said Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “The strong growth in individual giving may be less attributable to the largest of the large gifts, which were not as robust as we have seen in some prior years, suggesting that more of that growth in 2016 may have come from giving by donors among the general population compared to recent years.”

Long-Term Giving Factors

While the political climate may play a role in some donors’ decisions to give to charity, research conducted by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and others has long demonstrated that aggregate giving trends are influenced by large-scale economic factors. These factors ultimately affect the economic and financial circumstances of all types of donors and, therefore, their ability to give.

As an example of the link between the economy and charitable giving trends, giving by individuals has historically correlated with changes in such national-level economic indicators as personal consumption, disposable personal income and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. All of these factors are associated with households’ permanent and long-term financial stability.

In 2016, helping to increase giving by individuals and households, both personal consumption and disposable personal income grew by nearly 4 percent over 2015. The S&P 500 finished the year up 9.5 percent after uneven performance for much of 2016 and a mixed economic picture in 2015.

Charitable Giving to Recipients

2016 differed significantly from recent giving years, according to Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “While giving to arts, health and the environment experienced significant growth, giving to education saw relatively slower growth. In most years, giving to education, arts and culture and health organizations often experience similar changes in growth rates, but in 2016 arts and health giving are both notably higher than giving to education. Giving for international affairs also saw growth even though there were lower levels of giving for disaster relief.”

For just the sixth time in 40 years, giving to all charitable subsectors analyzed by Giving USA saw increases:

  • Giving to religion increased 3.0 percent (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation), with an estimated $122.94 billion in contributions.
  • Giving to education is estimated to have increased 3.6 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) to $59.77 billion.
  • Giving to human services increased by an estimated 4.0 percent (2.7 percent adjusted for inflation), totaling $46.80 billion.
  • Giving to foundations is estimated to have increased by 3.1 percent (1.8 percent adjusted for inflation), rising to $40.56 billion.
  • Giving to health organizations is estimated to have increased by 5.7 percent (4.4 percent adjusted for inflation), to $33.14 billion.
  • Giving to public-society benefit organizations increased by an estimated 3.7 percent (2.5 percent adjusted for inflation) to $29.89 billion.
  • Giving to arts, culture, and humanities is estimated to have increased 6.4 percent (5.1 percent adjusted for inflation) to $18.21 billion.
  • Giving to international affairs is estimated to be $22.03 billion in 2016, an increase of 5.8 percent (4.6 percent adjusted for inflation).
  • Giving to environment and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 7.2 percent (5.8 percent adjusted for inflation) to $11.05 billion.

About the Research

Giving USA 2017: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2016, a publication of Giving USA Foundation, 2017, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Source: Association of Fundraising Professionals International

Posted June 2017

Member Spotlight: Kay Wilson


Kay Wilson

Executive Director

LeaderSpark Inc.


Q:        Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

MISSION:  LeaderSpark ignites the power of youth leadership by providing practical leadership skills through a proven curriculum, training and coaching/mentor support.

VISION: LeaderSpark as a leader in Central Ohio’s collective impact initiative for youth; while delivering premier curriculum, coaching and programs for developing a diverse group of young leaders who have a positive impact on their communities.  

WHO DO WE SERVE:  LeaderSpark serves young people ages 14-24 in greater Franklin County, living in low-resource environments & whose circumstances create risk of ‘lower-life’ opportunities.

A:         I jump out of bed each morning with a goal to be the type of person I needed when I was a teenager. 


Q:        How long have you been an AFP member, what’s been your past involvement and tell us more about your current roles?

A: I have been a member of AFP for nearly 4 years.  My current role is as the Chair of the D & I Committee.  Our committee’s goal is focused on developing programing, and resources for members of AFP and the fundraising community to promote inclusion and diversity as a strategic component in individual and organizational success.          


Q:        What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

A:         I seem to juggle work life harmony, so the most valuable part of my membership are the online tools and videos of various luncheons and best practices. 


Q:        What changes to do see happening in the Central Ohio fundraising community?  

A:         I see the value of fundraising teams elevating.  I see Presidents and CEOs becoming engaged in the process.  I also see organization realizing the need to build a pipeline of fundraising talent.  


Q:        What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to take a donor?

A:         I enjoy the growing diversity of our city, it elevates the landscape in art, dining, events, mindset.  MY favorite place to take a donor is to The Kitchen, where we have had some of our youth work along side of them to ‘prepare’ food.


Q:        Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.

A:         I played the bass throughout middle and High School- I dreamt of being in an all girl band, the Go-Gos and Beyonce’ beat me to it. 


Posted June 2017

Member Spotlight – Adrienne Selsor

Meet AFP member Adrienne Selsor, founder and president of Time, Talent & Treasure; as interviewed by Amanda Turner, Junior Achievement, Vice President, Development and Communications.

Adrienne Selsor

My husband and I relocated to Columbus almost four years ago from Washington, D.C., not knowing anybody. I decided to use this move as an opportunity to transition my career from politics/corporate America to getting back into non-profit fundraising. Through a friend of a friend, I met Adrienne Selsor who was willing to meet this random transplant for coffee. I was immediately impressed by Adrienne and knew she was someone I wanted to latch onto! Fast forward two and half years and I actually get the opportunity to work with Adrienne while she was a consultant at Mollard Consulting. I know first-hand the impact a consulting firm can have on not just an organization, but on the individual who gets the chance to have that relationship. Both Kerri Mollard and Adrienne have been tremendous mentors to me and have really helped our organization, Junior Achievement, get organized and develop a strategic plan to success. As a way to pay it forward, I’m thrilled to share more about Adrienne and her new firm, Time, Talent & Treasure.   


Tell us a little about your firm. Mission? Population you serve?

I’m so excited to share that Time, Talent & Treasure is launching! My goal is to make it easy and affordable for individuals, companies and nonprofits to get the fundraising and leadership development support they need to be successful. I passionately believe that the people who work in or on behalf of nonprofits are at the core of their success. And that helping those people to secure financial resources is the best way to strengthen the capacity of their organization and then the community. 


Why did you spin off to do your own consulting?

It’s something that I have thought about for a couple of years, and my goal is to be able to focus on doing a few things and doing them really well. I love supporting good people doing important work in our community and spending as much time with them as possible. Coaching and training will be available for people in the corporate grant-making sector, the nonprofit sector and serving as community volunteers. I love this because it’s a huge need and it fits my background perfectly. My overall passion is to mobilize community engagement.


How has the transition from being in-house to consulting been since leaving the YWCA?

People always ask me what my favorite role has been – serving as a grant-making officer at a company, serving as chief fundraiser at a nonprofit or serving as a consultant.  To be honest I have loved them all because they are each a vital part to mobilizing resources to strengthen our community. Putting them all together has been really fun.

I will always love the YWCA and the amazing work it does in the community. Serving in that role carved out a special place in my heart for nonprofit professionals and volunteers. There are so many wonderful people I met through my time there, and I am proud of the work I was able to do to stabilize and strengthen the organization. 


Has anyone mentored you through this process? If so, can you share who and how have they supported you?

I have had so many individuals that I call for advice so I am fortunate to have too many mentors to list. Columbus is full of wonderful people that will take the time to help you when you ask.

I’ve been fortunate to work with many amazing women. Elfi Di Bella has been a longtime mentor that I still talk with on a regular basis, as well as Kerri Mollard who has always been supportive of me and my career growth.

I do, however, get a little sad thinking about a whole generation of leaders (and mentors) that we are losing but my hope is to make it easy for people to stay involved in the community after they retire because we need them.


How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?

To be honest it’s been luck, hard work and creating meaningful relationships that made the next steps in my career happen naturally. I started out of college in Battelle’s corporate philanthropy department where my responsibilities increased to distribute grant and event funds into the community, place nonprofit board members, handle volunteer administration and its United Way campaign. These eight years gave me a broad overview of the community and its needs.


At that time, I also volunteered on dozens of nonprofit event steering committees helping them with fundraising work.  One of the nonprofit boards I served on at Battelle was YWCA Columbus where I ended up leaving the board role to take a staff role as chief development officer for six years. Mollard Consulting was contracted to do all the grant writing at the YWCA so I worked with Kerri for five years prior to starting at Mollard Consulting which lead me to now launching my own training and coaching company – Time, Talent & Treasure.


Why should an organization work with a consultant?

There is a real need for smaller nonprofits who cannot afford a full development plan or feasibility study but see a significant ROI from guidance and coaching.

A good consultant should provide support, direction and accountability. Consultants also have a unique perspective on the lay of the land (trends in giving, insight on donor focus for giving, where the meaningful relationships are, etc.) that they can share when advising clients.

I equate investing in a fundraising consultant to investing in my personal trainer – I think I know how to exercise but what I’ve been doing on my own wasn’t producing the results I wanted because I haven’t been formally trained in it, all exercise isn’t created equal and I don’t push myself as hard as she does.  Consultants can help you gain clarity and focus so your time is maximized. And who doesn’t want more free time?


How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?

I have been an AFP member for over five years and this is my second year on board. I currently serve as Chair of the Mentoring Committee.


What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

To me the biggest benefit of AFP is being part of an effort to helping to stabilize the crazy turnover in the fundraising profession. Penelope Burk shares that $46,650 is the amount that could retain a good fundraiser. And the amount lost with each fundraiser that leaves a position is $127,650 to the organization. So why aren’t we doing the math? What nonprofit doesn’t need another $81,000? If a network of support and materials can help with this why wouldn’t everyone invest in it?


What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite Restaurant and/or family activity?

I love the openness – people welcome your involvement and we encourage diversity.  To be honest, life with nine-year-old twins is usually so busy that my favorite family activity is snuggling on the couch for movie night. J


Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.

When I was little and everyone around me wanted to be a teacher or a dentist, I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer (do you remember that show?).  It’s funny because I’m such a big champion for women’s rights and instead of being super ambitious I just wanted to be happy, have fun and make others smile. 


Visit Time, Talent & Treasure website at https://www.timetalentandtreasurellc.com/


Posted May 2017

Member Spotlight: Jeff Redfield, CFRE

Meet Jeff Redfield, who started his AFP journey 18 years ago and recently marked a milestone by completing his CFRE.  If you want some inside tips on that process, scroll to the bottom first! But between here and there, learn more about Jeff and what makes him tick.

Jeff Redfield

Jeff Redfield, CFRE

Major Gift Officer

American Red Cross – Ohio Buckeye Region


Q:        Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

A:         The Ohio Buckeye Region of the American Red Cross covers 45 counties from northwest, to central to southeast Ohio and it’s over 4 million residents by providing prevention and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. 


Q:        How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?

A:         I first joined in 1999 when it was still called NSFRE (National Society of Fund Raising Executives which changed to AFP in 2000).  The Gill Foundation took 40 LGB leaders (T and Q came later) to the international conference. 

I was only able to attend a few educational programs locally, though I did get to attend the international conference a couple of times.  My real involvement came when I started serving on a committee and in 2010 when I was asked to chair Legislative Affairs, which we changed to Public Policy, which I did for 2 years and that’s also when I first joined the board.  It was at AFP International conference in Baltimore in 2010 that I got hooked, connecting with my fellow central Ohio delegates and became buddies with Suzie Childs.  I was on the board and leading and serving several committee ever since.  This year I am VP of Education and on the executive committee for the first time.


Q:        What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

A:         It is really hard to say one part as the importance changes along with the emerging need.  I find the most consistent part of AFP which I find always valuable are the friendships.  It’s more than just networking, though that’s a huge part of it.  We are lucky to have such a meaningful profession though sometimes the demands and challenges can be great.  The friendships I have developed through AFP are like no others.  Laughter is the best glue.  I truly value my AFP-peeps because of the shared experiences (we’ve all be there), the shared efforts (again committee tasks and service), and the shared compassion that comes from these truly giving people who have dedicated themselves to doing good.


Q:        How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?      

A:         Since 1992, I had served on many GLBT local and national sports organizations, which coordinated leagues and tournaments so I had gained experience with volunteers and sponsorships.  In 1998, I was hired as executive director of Stonewall Columbus. It was a growing and challenging time – I started just 7 months before Matthew Shepard’s murder.  Our vision required increased resources to achieve our goals – so with a small staff it was where I focused a majority of my time.  When I left Stonewall in 2002, I knew fundraising is what I enjoyed the most and wanted to devote my time toward doing going forward.


Q:        What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite restaurant?

A:         I’m a social sports junky.  Long after many of my friends from the ‘90s and 2000s have “retired.” I still – or, when my body allows it – play in four LGBT sports leagues (volleyball, bowling, tennis and softball).  Columbus has been a great LGBTQ sports city for over 25 years and very few, if any, cities anywhere in the US have so many or the year-round options we do. 

            When it comes to restaurants, I’m adventurous and like a lot of places and my absolute favorite is German Village Coffee Shop.


Q:        Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.

A:         As a freshman at Western Michigan, I sang in Gold Company II, a vocal jazz ensemble and the II was like JV.  In February 1985, during our big annual performance, we got to sing with a visiting celebrity and it went well.  Then partway through another number I looked over and he was suddenly sharing the microphone with me- my mic, right next to me!  He just happened to know the song and wanted to join in.  It was just months before he won two Grammy awards (of his 10) and three years before “Don’t Worry Be Happy” made Bobby McFerrin a household name.



I’d thought for years about getting my CFRE accreditation and even took the review course in 2011.  I hadn’t made it a priority and seemed like something always got in the way (personal and/or work demands, time to complete the application and enter it all, finances to apply/pay for the test, time to study – it was over 20 years since I’d taken an exam).  It became important to me because I feel it reflects knowledge, experience and a dedication to a profession to which I’m committed.   Yes, it’s a feeling of pride, sense of accomplishment, and relief at the same time.

While others can jump right in, I found it all a bit daunting. 

So I broke it down into goals to:

  • Complete the application, by 6/30 last year (check)
  • Apply for an AFP scholarship reimbursing half the fee (check)
  • Talk to friends and others in AFP who have taken it, get advice, get study materials and try to set p a study group (check, almost all/no group, more likely around CFRE review course)
  • Submit final application – due dates determine test dates – and 1 year to take the test (check)
    • You can pay $35 to change the 2-month test window
  • Set time block when I could dedicate study/review time leading up to it, like cold winter weekends (check)
  • Schedule it 3 to 4 weeks ahead – this was pretty easy, many local test center options, almost any day – then review and get it down (check!)

Posted May 2017