Archive for the ‘Scholarship’ Category

Relationships are one of the keys to success

August 8, 2011

Sara Leonard

by Sara Leonard.

I’d like to express my deepest thanks to the Suncoast Chapter for providing me with a scholarship to attend the AFP Planet Philanthropy Conference in Jacksonville this year. The application process was easy to complete and I received notification very quickly. I found Planet Philanthropy to be a valuable conference. Our chapter participated in the creation of this conference and since that time it has remained affordable and convenient.

The benefits I received from the conference include:

Networking – this conference provided an opportunity to catch up with some old friends and meet some new people, all of whom enhanced the educational value because they shared so much useful information. The exhibitors provided a great chance to see what is out there to help us with the challenges we face.

Education – the conference sessions were relevant and presented by experts.  From tried and true fundraising methods like bequests to the latest technology like social media, I brought home a long list of practical ideas to implement immediately.

Inspiration – the keynote speakers left me energized and inspired to take on new challenges  Carla Harris, a Jacksonville native and Wall Street executive, shared peals of wisdom from her book Expect to Win. I thought the following were especially applicable to the great networking AFP provides us:

Relationships are one of the keys to success…Your network gives you power and is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have in business.  Be willing to offer your assistance and also to receive it from others. Networking is a two-way street.”

Thanks to my chapter for this opportunity and for the great network you are to me!


Presented by Sara Leonard of MOSI at the July 19, 2011, AFP Suncoast chapter meeting.

Learning from a fundraising icon – Jerold Panas

June 7, 2011

by Victor Teschel

Victor Teschel

I am very thankful to AFP for giving me the opportunity to learn from one of the icons in the fundraising industry – Jerold Panas.

I was honored to receive a scholarship to attend an Institute for Charitable Giving conference titled: “The Art of Successful Fundraising.” This conference was facilitated by Jerold Panas, a 40-year veteran of fundraising who now provides workshops and conferences to share his knowledge, create dialogue on the current trends happening in our profession and to help attendees reflect on the impact they are having on their organizations and communities.

Being fairly new to fundraising, I am constantly searching for ways to learn from the successes of others and to build my network of fellow fundraising professionals. This conference allowed me to accomplish both of these missions to the fullest extent.

I feel like I am constantly receiving great benefits from AFP and the Suncoast Chapter Scholarship Program is no different. Thanks for making the scholarship program a quick and easy process with immediate feedback and results. I encourage every AFP member to get involved in a committee, give to the “Every Member Campaign” and take advantage of this great professional development opportunity.

Scholarship Awardee meets Bill Clinton!

April 26, 2011

At the April meeting of AFP Suncoast, Julie Wills, Executive Director of the Suncoast Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, described how a scholarship transformed her CFRE continuing education requirements into a fun and rewarding experience. Following is her story:

I was sitting at my desk one day thinking about the fact that I had to renew my CFRE credential in 2011 and would need continuing education in order to meet the requirements of renewal.  That same day, I received my AFP Suncoast Chapter newsletter by email.  As I was reading the newsletter, I saw something about the upcoming International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago.  It also mentioned that our AFP chapter had scholarships available.  I followed the easy link to the scholarship form.  After reviewing the criteria, I determined that I was eligible to apply.  A few short weeks later I received a notification from Debbie Gavalas, our chapter Scholarship Chair, telling me I had gotten a full scholarship.  Eureka!

It had been eleven years since I had last attended an Int’l Conference and so much had changed.  At the Expo I learned about products that I didn’t even know existed.  Some of them are being pilot tested by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Chapters in other cities.  I’m keeping an eye on these as they may solve some problems we’ve run into locally with our auction events. 

The last time I was at an Int’l Conference there was only one keynote speaker.  Now they have one each day.  I was blown away by Blake Mykoskie of Tom’s Shoes.  I knew about Tom’s Shoes, but didn’t know how interesting his story is or what an animated speaker he would be.  It was fun and inspirational to hear him speak about his experiences launching Tom’s Shoes and giving away shoes to children in third world countries. 

The second day keynote was Queen Latifah.  Another amazing speaker.  In between these amazing speakers, I was attending wonderful continuing education sessions.  Not the same old speakers that used to make the rounds of all these conferences, but new and interesting speakers with current, relevant information to share.

The final keynote was President Bill Clinton.  I was so lucky to have been able to get a second row seat for President Clinton, who is doing amazing philanthropy in Haiti.  It was a dream come true for me to see him speak. 

Overall, the Chicago AFP conference was a wonderful experience and one I would highly recommend for all members of AFP.  Thanks very much to the Suncoast Chapter for providing this scholarship so I could participate in this excellent conference.

Tami Milner Scholarship Story

February 23, 2011

Tami Milner

At the February 15, 2011 AFP Suncoast chapter meeting, Tami Milner, Associate Director of Development at the Hillsborough Education Foundation shared how she used a scholarship to attend a local conference:

“I work for an organization that is very supportive of external training so when I heard about the chapter scholarships available to AFP members, I immediately did my research.  I found out that I was eligible to apply because  I was a supporter of the ‘Every Member’ Campaign and I volunteered on a committee. I decided to apply for a scholarship to defray expenses to attend the Plant Philanthropy conference in Boca Raton last summer.

The scholarship is available online and it’s very easy to fill out. The application took me about 20 minutes to complete, and after submitting it, I was notified that I would receive $500 toward my expenses for Planet Philanthropy.

I received a lot of useful information from this conference. The sessions I decided to attend focused on Engaging with Foundations, Grant Making, Board (committee) Development, and my favorite was how to win over an unhappy donor! I encourage you to get involved and apply for a scholarship!”

JoAnne Linkner Scholarship Story

January 28, 2011

JoAnne Linkner

At the January 18, 2011 meeting, JoAnne Linkner, Director of Annual Fund and Special Events at the Academy of the Holy Names, shared her experience using the AFP Suncoast scholarships to enhance her fundraising career. Here is some of what she shared:

When I moved to Florida in 1999 to take a fundraising position at Admiral Farragut Academy, I was completely clueless.  The position was not only new to me but also to Farragut.  The first bit of advice I received was to look into the AFP. As soon as I joined I applied for and received a scholarship to the international Conference in New Orleans.  The conference turned my world around.  I learned how to lay the foundation for a successful program, that there is a wealth of resources right at my fingertips, and most importantly, that I was not alone!  Hundreds of fundraisers just starting out, and hundreds more to learn from. 

Seven years later, I left Farragut and joined a team of Advancement Officers at Academy of the Holy Names for a more streamlined position.  I once again turned to AFP to help me with this transition and attended a conference in Rhode Island that showed me ways to be the most effective in my new role.  This conference was also funded by an AFP scholarship. 

And finally in September 2008, I went on maternity leave.  When I returned 3 months later, I felt disconnected as a result of being home for so long, not to mention, the face of fundraising had shifted as a result of the economy.  Naturally, I turned to AFP, and took advantage of a scholarship  to attend a CASE NAIS conference in NYC.  It gave me hope, a badly needed recharge, and some great ideas on how to survive this recession.

AFP has been a constant in building my career, and I am grateful for our chapter’s scholarship program. The application process is simple!

Debbi goes Boca!

July 6, 2010

Debbi Ricci, Director of Finance and Operations at Charlotte Community Foundation, was the lucky recipient of a scholarship to Planet Philanthropy 2010 in Boca Raton which was donated by AFP Suncoast president, Melody Marrs. Debbi was kind enough to share her thoughts and thanks, reproduced below.

Dear Melody and Lisa,

What a warm and wonderful experience I had at Planet Philanthropy, the AFP Florida Caucus 2010. Just imagine 400 fellow AFP members, all together to network, learn, and enjoy each other’s company. The venue was the Boca Raton Resort, absolutely elegant, and the June weather was steamy but sunny. After all, we were inside the Mizner Center during the hottest part of the day, and we had access to pools, the beach, and the lush green gardens of the resort after hours.

A member of AFP for two years, I have set my sights on attaining the CFRE certification that AFP has to offer. Lisa Intagliata and her committee did a fabulous job organizing everything. Events and activities ran smoothly. It was a difficult task to choose from the 71 Educational Sessions available, all levels of experience were covered, and the tracks were all-encompassing: Annual Campaigns, Capital Campaigns, Government Relations & Corporate Giving, Planned Giving, Senior Leadership & Management, Technology, Board Development & Volunteerism, Major Gifts, and Private, Family & Community Foundation Giving. We spent two full days in Educational Sessions, and were treated to program speakers and roundtable discussions at every meal. The opening reception combined refreshments, exhibitor booths, and “checking in.” The 30 exhibitor booths were available for three days to browse and many offered door prizes – there was even a casino table and Chinese auction. No wonder it took a committee of 40 people to tie it all together!

Most of the sessions I attended centered on Planned Giving and Major Gifts, a field I plan to move into as I develop my fundraising skills. However, I couldn’t resist some other sessions with names like “Community Sleuthing,” “Fundraising Partnership between Board and Staff,” and “Guerilla Marketing.” Curbside Consulting was also available, but I didn’t want to miss a moment of the educational sessions to explore that one-on-one option. 13 credits toward the CFRE certification were just a portion of the value I gained from this experience.

I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to Melody Marrs, Vice President of Development at the Hillsborough Education Foundation. She won a scholarship to Planet Philanthropy while attending the International AFP Conference in Baltimore last April. She donated the scholarship to our brand new Florida AFP Charlotte Harbor Chapter as a “welcome to the family” gift. How thoughtful and generous. That scholarship allowed me to participate for the entire event, immersing myself in so much encouragement and training in the many fundraising fields that AFP has to offer. I dream that every member of our chapter will attend next year.  What a giant step up that would be for the professional fundraisers in our nonprofit community!

-Deborah M. Ricci
Director of Finance and Operations
Charlotte Community Foundation, Inc.

Chamberlain Scholarship Puts Career in Prospective

May 6, 2010

Two and Already Interested in Politics

by Danielle Wright Landry

I love those Aha Moment commercials.  You know the ones, where they have some amazing person telling an inspiring story where they have triumphed over some terrible scenario or they made it possible for someone else to?  I am sure much to the chagrin of the company—I have no idea what product/company is being marketed—but I love the stories.

My aha moment (moments!)  came during the AFP International Conference.  Being able to even attend was more than I could have hoped for.   If it was not for the Chamberlain Scholarship, and the financial assistance provided from the AFP and AFP Suncoast, I would never have had the chance to experience a career reviving event.  This conference has made my whole career come full circle at a time when I most needed it!

Like many I have a story behind how I entered this profession that involves a very influential person in my life.  I came to this profession by way of being a community activist.  I attended my first protest when I was 14 (much to the heartache of my very conservative New England parents!).

When I was 15 I hosted my first fundraiser to benefit Africa.  By 16 I was protesting in the streets of Boston with college students against the Apartheid government of South Africa.  At 17 I was volunteering on my first presidential campaign with a candidate whose major plank was his opposition to America’s corporate investment in South Africa and by 18 I was living in England and taking part in overnight vigils in front of the South African Embassy with students from around the world.  This was my exposure to the nonprofit community and to the power of volunteerism and community involvement.  I was hooked!  I knew that this was going to be my career.  I didn’t know how exactly, but I knew it involved saving the world (I was an optimistic teenager).  One of my heroes growing up was the Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend the AFP International Conference, you may not know that the Archbishop was one of the plenary speakers.  (What other organization could have keynote speakers of this magnitude??  AFP does everything well! )

Walking into that huge, absolutely filled to capacity,  Baltimore convention hall –  knowing after 26 years I was finally going to see the man who lead me to action as a young girl and sparked my passion in politics. . .in humanity – would be taking center stage was more than awe-inspiring.   Then he said the magic words: “You have a noble profession . . . it is a calling.”   I had thought that for years, but hearing it from an authority like the Archbishop, it must be true.

He also mentioned me.  Well, not by name, but people like me.  He mentioned visiting America in the 80’s and being moved by students who were protesting-not for something that would benefit them, but for people they didn’t know, 10,000 miles away.  He said “maybe you were one of those students?”  A few of us cheered (I had to cry a little).  He said it was because of us that Apartheid was abolished, and the world got to know the greatness of Nelson Mandela.

Already Marching on Washington

That is the amazing thing about our profession, we all get to be a part of making history.  Either we have the great privilege of building relationships with people who are shaping events, or we recruit and train the volunteers that are changing policy, or raise the money for the schools that will educate the future leaders,  or we organize the events that have historical significance. Which ever the case may be, we are all so fortunate to work in our profession.

At a time when I was having a mid-career crisis and questioning if it was time for me to open that t-shirt business, I received the Chamberlain Scholarship.  The AFP International Conference reignited the fire! It reminded me I am in the right field, that I may not be conventional, that I still have a bit of that rebel in me;  but that there is room for all of us that believe in the strength of the  nonprofit sector and the community that supports us  and our ability together,  to impact every aspect of our world.  We have a noble profession!

Suncoast Scholarships Help You- Ask Debbie!

April 5, 2010

Looking to expand your fundraising skill set without putting a strain on your organization’s budget? Check out the AFP Suncoast Chapter’s scholarship offerings and learn how easy it can be to obtain free financial assistance for conferences, seminars and other professional development opportunities. Last year 18 scholarships totaling more than $14,000 were awarded to Suncoast Chapter members.

Debbie Sokolov, Director of Development at FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer, is a first-time Suncoast Chapter scholarship recipient who will be attending the upcoming AFP International Conference in Baltimore. Debbie describes the scholarship application process as painless and simple  “I met most of the scholarship criteria right away – The only thing I had to do was join one of the Chapter’s committees for the coming year.”

Within a few weeks of submitting her application, Debbie received a call from the Chapter scholarship committee letting her know that she had been awarded a $1,000 Chamberlain Scholarship to help cover the cost of her conference registration, travel and hotel. “Without the scholarship, it would have been impossible for me to attend the conference,” Debbie said. “My organization is very grassroots and we have no funds in our budget for professional development.”

Debbie encourages Suncoast Chapter members to investigate AFP’s scholarship offerings when faced with financial limitations or hardship. “Definitely submit an application.  It’s such an incredible opportunity! I’m excited and can’t wait to attend my conference and learn new strategies.”


For more information about the AFP Suncoast Chapter and scholarship offerings, log on to

Written by AFP Suncoast member Todd Marrs.

Debbie Gevalas got a scholarship!

February 10, 2010

Your roving reporter had the opportunity to catch up with Debbie Gevalas, Director of Advancement at the Academy of Holy Names. She was fresh from a conference and excited to share her experience as an AFP Suncoast Chapter scholarship recipient:

Debbie Gevalas

“I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the three-day CASE NAIS conference I attended as a result of receiving a scholarship from our AFP chapter. The conference provided me with greater insights to educational fundraising, current trends in marketing, alumni relations, planned giving and other topics related to independent education, particularly in this shifting economic environment. I remain grateful for the chapter scholarship and the continuing education opportunity that it supported.”