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Three Ways Fundraisers Can Honor Black History Month

“Everyone has a responsibility in making things right. Everyone has a role in the process of healing, regardless of whether they caused or received more harm.” - Edgar Villanueva

I recently had the chance to attend a webinar in which a nonprofit leader, a black woman, shared a personal story about an interaction with a donor. In their encounter, the donor made an offensive comment about his perceptions of black culture a split second before handing her a check. In that moment, the nonprofit leader found herself trapped between the money her organization requires and her own personal dignity and well-being. 

There is endless work to be done to create a better and just world, from the outcomes our organizations pursue to the harm perpetuated within them. February is an opportunity to uplift the Black community and work to undo centuries of harm. It’s a chance to learn more about the experiences of Black leaders locally and around the world, and use our roles and agency as fundraisers for personal and systemic change. Here are three ways fundraisers can honor Black History this month and continually throughout our lives:

Welcome to the new 2023 Board members!

AFP Greater Madison elects their board of directors annually at the December meeting. Board members are elected to a 1-year term which begins on January 1st of each year. The 2023 board is welcoming six new members along with twelve renewing board members. We caught up with a few of the new members to hear their origin stories in fundraising and more about their work today.

Why did you become a fundraiser with Mike Sweitzer-Beckman, CFRE

This month we asked Mike Sweitzer-Beckman, CFRE, Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Edgewood College in Madison and our newest President-Elect of AFP Greater Madison, to share his fundraising journey and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

We hope his story motivates and encourages you.

What inspired you to become a fundraiser?
While in grad school in Berkeley, California, I thought I wanted to be a campus minister. But after a year, I realized it wasn’t for me. Fortunately, the career development director at my school noticed I was passionate about different causes and a strong communicator. He encouraged me to pursue fundraising. I finished the program, moved back to Madison in 2008, and landed a job a couple of months later as an entry level fundraiser.


AFP ICON Scholarship – Annie Louis

The annual AFP ICON conference is heading to New Orleans April 16 – 18. This year’s conference is sure to be filled with education, professional development, and fun (how can it not be fun with a theme like “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler” or “Let the Good Times Roll”?!) Thanks to the AFP Greater Madison Scholarship program, our chapter will be sending multiple members to the conference. 

One of the AFP Greater Madison Chapter members attending AFP ICON is Annie Louis. Find out more about Annie and her plans for ICON!

New President Anna January “Energized” by community, new role

AFP Greater Madison welcomes new president, Anna January, as she begins her two-year term in January 2023.  A member for many years and a co-founder of our emerging Mentorship Program, she’s ready to help lead AFP Greater Madison. She is currently the Director of Individual & Legacy Giving at PBS Wisconsin. 

Why did you become a fundraiser?

Why did you become a fundraiser? Everyone will have a different answer to that question, and we’d love to hear yours.

This year, AFP-Greater Madison would like to celebrate you—the fundraisers who help people make a difference in the world.

Our goal is to feature an individual in each issue—seasoned or novice, fundraising director or gift processor, major gift officer or executive director. It doesn’t matter what your role is or how long you’ve been in your fundraising career, you have a story to tell, and we want to hear from you.

This month, we’ve chosen to lead by example and feature our very own – Max Nguyen. Max is a Major Gift Officer at Edgewood College. He also serves on AFP Greater Madison’s Board of Directors and is chair of the group’s Communications Committee. We asked Max to share his story. We hope it motivates and inspires you.

Member Feature: Campaigns Corner

Within the nonprofit sector, there are many types of campaigns your organization may work on throughout the year – peer-to-peer, capital, annual giving, etc. While the goal of each of these various campaigns can vary, the core strategies are actually very similar! 

In my work as the Fundraising Campaigns Associate at the American Red Cross, I work on three national campaigns throughout the year, as well as leading the matching gift campaign program. I’m excited to share some best practices that I have learned during my time leading fundraising campaigns.

NPD Highlights: ReMitts – Outstanding Grassroots Fundraiser

On Thursday, November 10th, 2022, the AFP Greater Madison Chapter celebrated the 35th Annual National Philanthropy Day. National Philanthropy Day is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the contributions of those within the philanthropic community and the work they’re doing to impact the local community. 

This year’s event took place at the Overture Center for the Arts and featured nine honorees, who were nominated and selected from a panel of judges. Each honoree has displayed selflessness and commitment to serving others, so we’d like to continue the celebration by sharing more about the people and organizations from the event. 

This month, we’re excited to highlight ReMitts, the recipient of the Outstanding Grassroots Fundraiser award!

Year Two in the Books! Highlights from Our Mentorship Program

Year two of AFP Greater Madison’s mentoring program has wrapped up with six mentor/mentee pairs. It provided an opportunity for mentor and mentee to learn from one another and touch base monthly in a continuing professional development program throughout the year. A perfect chance to do what we do best (build relationships!) and seek advice from another who is invested in you!

This year we had twice as many pairs (six) as we did in year one. We talked to a few of them to hear what their highlights and takeaways were from this worthwhile program! Check out their comments below.

We are excited to see what year three has in store as we continue one of our favorite professional development programs. Stay tuned for more information on our website as we prepare for year three:

Grant Writing Workshop Offers Practical Tips

That question opened the September Grant Writing Workshop offered by AFP Madison and the UW-Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies. The workshop was the last session of a professional development series entitled Top Trends and Promising Strategies in Revenue Model and Funds Development.

The workshop presenters offered practical tips for new and seasoned grant writers alike.

New Member Spotlight: Rowan Childs

The AFP Greater Madison Chapter is made up of seasoned members, as well as newcomers. This month, we are excited to share more about one of our newest members: Rowan Childs! 

Rowan Childs is the Executive Director and Founder of the Madison Reading Project. Madison Reading Project aims to connect the Madison community with free books and literacy resources that ignite a love for reading and affirm and reflect the diversity of young readers. 

How Spooky is Your Office?

It is October - the spookiest season of them all! And so, the AFP Communications team decided to have a little fun. 

Welcome - to the AFP haunted house!!

In a small beige room with paint bulging from the years of water slowly dripping through the ceiling that no grant funding will ever pay to fix sit THE DEVELOPMENT STAFF. 

Click through to find the ending...if you dare!

Eliza’s Art and Giving Spirit Recognized at National Philanthropy Day

With National Philanthropy Day 2022 on the horizon (November 10 at the Overture Center) we wanted to continue to honor our 2021 honorees! This month, we spotlight Eliza Gepner and her beautiful, unique art. Eliza was celebrated as the 2021 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award after being nominated by MOM (Middleton Outreach Ministry).

Pursuing your CFRE?

Creal Zearing (Gathering Waters) and Lynn Perez-Hewitt (Hewitt Consulting Enterprises) recently started a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) monthly working group that is intended to bring together those in the greater Madison community looking to learn more about and pursue their CFRE certification. Join this dynamic duo on the second Tuesday of every month from 4-5 pm!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized from September 15th to October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Month was established to celebrate the incredible contributions of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFP Greater Madison Chapter sat down for a conversation with Baltazar De Anda Santana, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Latino Academy of Workforce Development, Inc.

Stoughton Students Learn to Dance Thanks to Jonathan and the Madison Ballet

Stoughton Courier Hub and Scott De Laruelle’s recently released a full article about our very own AFP GM board member, Jonathan Solari (CEO), and Madison Ballet teaming up with the Stoughton Area School District to bring dancing summer classes to Stoughton. This was a great opportunity to highlight how Madison Ballet is making a difference in our community through partnerships and new ideas!

Local Member and Chapter Director Receives Recognition

Jen Davie, the AFP Greater Madison Chapter Director, will be recognized with Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UW-Platteville College of BILSA (Business, Industry, Life, and Agriculture). This award acknowledges an alumnus who contributed to a body of knowledge that advances a profession through research or professional activities, has made a significant contribution to society in the form of philanthropic contributions, or has demonstrated visionary thinking and actions.

Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month

Recognized annually in August, Black Philanthropy Month is a global celebration of Black American gift-giving in the form of time, talent, and treasure. We talked to fundraising veterans and philanthropists here in Dane County, Timeka Rumph (Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association) and Jamie Sims (100 Black Men of Madison and Middleton School District) about black philanthropy and what it means to them and our community.

Five Qualities of a Great Fundraiser

Hear from Angela and Patricia about their Top 5 qualities below! Do some of these sound familiar? Living out these qualities in our every day work is why we do what we do.

Angela Davis
Director of Grantmaking
Madison Community Foundation


Patricia Eldred, CFRE
Patricia has more than 25 years of development experience, having raised significant dollars for arts, human services, education, early childhood and animal rescue organizations. Patricia has been an AFP Madison Chapter member since 2002, and in 2005 was honored as Outstanding Professional Fundraiser by the Chapter. She received her CFRE certification in 2005.

AFP Greater Madison Strategic Plan Update

The AFP Greater Madison Chapter Board of Directors gathered on Friday, July 8th to review the Chapter’s strategic plan. The strategic plan outlines the mission, core purpose, core values, and goals for our organization and is meant to guide the chapter year over year. Normally the plan would follow a three-year plan, but due to COVID, the current strategic plan has been in place since 2019.  

While the plan itself is still being finalized with the Board of Directors, the group is excited to share an update on the core values. These core values will guide the overall strategic plan and inspire activities within the Greater Madison Chapter moving forward.

Celebrating Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month and here at AFP Greater Madison we wanted to highlight some of our members and close connections that are part of our Madison community and are also making a difference in their own communities!

Led by our Diversity Officer, Arlen Moss, our chapter continues to improve our vision of the world through a JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) lens and we are grateful to all of our members and friends, including Lori and Jason, for sharing their experiences with us.

With that being said, we are always looking for insight, stories to share or advice from all of our fundraisers of varying backgrounds and experiences. Keep us in the loop and share your story today, right here!

Hear more from Lori Werbeckes (Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired) and Jason Beloungy (Access to Independence) below as they share about their work, the communities they serve and other thoughts on the community of folks with disabilities.

Freedom Inc. Honors and Supports the Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Community All Year Long

Throughout the month of May, various organizations in the Greater Madison Area have hosted activities in honor of AAPI Heritage Month. One such organization is Freedom, Inc. Freedom, Inc. is a Black and Southeast Asian non-profit organization that works with low- to no-income communities of color. The organization’s AAPI base are Southeast Asian women, youth, and LGBTQ folx. Freedom, Inc., defines Southeast Asians through a political lens, meaning individuals from countries that were directly impacted by the war in Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam).

Cryptocurrency Resources

As cryptocurrency become more popular, you might be wondering what role it will play in fundraising. We've gathered some resources that might help you in accepting this new form of currency.

Neighborhood Kids Newsletter Adds Fundraising Component

Never doubt the abilities of a child - or, in this case, a neighborhood of children. 

The Neighborhood Kids Newsletter (or NKN) was born out of the isolation and lack of interpersonal connection of early pandemic schooling. Daniel Pell, a teacher and father of two young sons, recently added “Editor in Chief” to his list of titles, when he gathered the children of their neighborhood together to report on local and global news. 

The children’s reporting covered the national presidential election, the ongoing pandemic, and - more recently, the invasion of Ukraine. 

Award-winning connection: Kelley and Creal share a friendship and passion

Kelley Van Egeren, the Director of Stewardship and Development, was named Outstanding Fundraising Professional at last November’s National Philanthropy Day awards. She was nominated by former colleague and friend, Creal Zearing, the Director of Philanthropy at Gathering Waters. 

We asked them to share about their connection and a little about their environmental fundraising and work in the community.

Learning and fun is a sure bet for local members attending VIVA ICON in Vegas

Ten people from AFP Greater Madison are having a blast in Las Vegas enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime at this year's AFP ICON 2022, held May 2-4

Over the last few weeks, we’ve reached out to some of them and asked what they were looking forward to gaining from the experience. Here’s a sampling of what they shared.  

It will be my first AFP conference and my first in-person fundraising conference! I’m looking forward to learning, growing, and connecting with new people in the fundraising sector. 

Jenni Speth, CUDE, Events and Donor Experience Senior Manager,  National Credit Union Foundation, Madison

Check out what others are saying in the full article!

Member Spotlight: Dr. Daniel (Plummer) Koehn, D.M.A

This month, the AFP Greater Madison Chapter is thrilled to highlight one of our seasoned members, Dr. Daniel Koehn, D.M.A. Daniel has been a member of the Chapter for more than 10 years! During his time with the AFP Greater Madison Chapter, Daniel has served on the Board of Directors, chaired National Philanthropy Day, and led our members as Chapter President. Daniel is a friend to many within the Chapter, but we are excited to share more about what he’s been up to lately. 

AFP ICON and Scholarship Representation from AFP Greater Madison

After two years of going virtual, AFP ICON is back in-person for 2022! AFP ICON is an annual conference hosted by AFP Global and this year’s event will be held May 2-4 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference features more than 100 educational sessions and is attended by thousands of fundraisers from across the world.

The AFP Greater Madison Chapter will have fantastic representation at AFP ICON, thanks in large part to the Chapter’s Scholarship Program. Five members of the AFP Greater Madison Greater Madison Chapter received awards and stipends to attend AFP ICON: Jamie Quam, Natalie Glumm, Creal Zearing, Bryan McCormick, and Ash Collins.

AFP Greater Madison Member Spotlight: Ash Collins

The AFP Greater Madison Chapter is comprised of so many fantastic fundraisers and we are excited to feature one of these individuals this month – Ash Collins.

Ash is the Influencer Relations Specialist at Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization. In Ash’s role, she partners with social media influencers to promote the work her organization does to “Save Them All!”

During Ash’s six-year tenure with the AFP Greater Madison Chapter, she has served in various roles. Ash started as a member of the Young Professionals Committee, served on the Board of Directors, and now sits on the Mentorship Committee.

Women’s History Month: Brenda and Bird’s inspiring “Forward” progress

I had the absolute joy of sitting down and chatting with artists Bird Ross and Brenda Baker about their journey to their “Being Forward” social practice piece, which has blossomed into something more (see below). This led to Bird and Brenda receiving the Outstanding Grassroots Fundraisers Award at last fall’s National Philanthropy Day, hosted by AFP Greater Madison!

The two reflected on their earliest memories of philanthropy and how it has shaped their lives and their amazing work today.