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Local fundraising association announces honorees for 2017 celebration

AFP West Michigan announces National Philanthropy Day honorees for 2017
2016 National Philanthropy Day

2016 National Philanthropy Day /Courtesy of Colin Cumming

About the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents more than 30,000 members in 233 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. Locally, AFP West Michigan is comprised of more than 180 members. The chapter area is comprised of the entire western half of the state, which includes southern counties near the Indiana border to as far north as Mackinaw City, from just west of Lansing to the beaches of Lake Michigan, and every corner in between. 

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of giving and all that it has made possible. For thirty years the West Michigan Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals has celebrated the endless daily contributions individuals and organizations across the world make to countless causes and missions.

National Philanthropy Day and the honorees listed below will be recognized at the annual luncheon sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – West Michigan Chapter on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel at 11:30 a.m. All interested parties are invited to attend and registration will be available soon on The speaker for the luncheon will be David Renz who will address capacity building and sustainability in today’s nonprofit industry.

David is the Beth K. Smith/Missouri Chair in Nonprofit Leadership and the Director of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, an education, research, and outreach center of the Department of Public Affairs in the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. During his career, Renz also has served as a senior government executive, including five years as Executive Director of the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities and six years as assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Renz received his Ph.D. in organization theory and administration and a Master of Arts in industrial relations, both from the University of Minnesota.

David’s research focuses on the leadership and management of nonprofit and public service organizations, with emphasis on governance, the leadership of organizational innovation and transformational change and organizational effectiveness. He also conducts research on the development and institutionalization of university-based nonprofit academic centers. Recently, he has been engaged in an innovative leadership development collaboration with the faculty of the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. 

The 2017 Honorees

Marcie Hillary will be presented with the Benjamin Franklin Award for an Outstanding Fundraising Professional. Marcie’s nonprofit and fundraising career spans nearly two decades, 19 of which have been spent with Hospice of Michigan. She currently serves as the Vice President of Community Relations and the Executive Director West for Hospice of Michigan. In this senior role, Marcie leads a team of 14 fundraising professionals across Michigan and serves on the Hospice of Michigan Leadership Team. Sandi Frost Steensma, President of Kennari Consulting, who nominated Marcie admits that she could never have predicted Marcie’s success after hiring her 19 years ago: “Little did either of us know that she would go on to become one of West Michigan’s finest development professionals. From her first role to her current one, Marcie has been a consummate professional, inspiring volunteers, fundraising staff, and program staff to go ever higher, ever farther to benefit hospice patients.” With a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University and recently being named by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan, Marcie has maintained a strong adherence to AFP’s Code of Ethical Principles and Standards, leading many successful capital campaigns to expand programs and start new ones.

Mary Free Bed Foundation will receive The West Michigan Chapter Award for Excellence in Fundraising. This year, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is celebrating its 125th anniversary. It all started in 1891 when a small group of Grand Rapids women recognized the community’s need for medical care of patients with limited financial means. Today, it is the only independent, nonprofit rehabilitation hospital in Michigan and is supported by the Mary Free Bed Foundation for almost 4 years. Starting with just two staff members, the Foundation recently exceeded its $16 million Capital Campaign goal, raising $16.9 million in support of capital projects like building expansion and renovation. In its short time, it has grown its donor base to over 5,000 donors and won many awards for its newsletters and other marketing materials. By committing to ethical and donor-centric fundraising practices, the Foundation has continued to develop its development infrastructure with a planned giving program, well-attended signature events, and program-specific funds.

Sue Den Herder will be presented with the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award for her service and support of many organizations. Holland and Zeeland area organizations across the sector benefit from Sue’s volunteerism and leadership. Sue just completed her 10th and final year on the board of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ). During her tenure, she served on many committees, including two years as Board Chair. In the past ten years, the Community Foundation’s assets doubled from $28 to $56 million, including an increase in its Unrestricted Endowment. Nominated by Mike Goorhouse, President & CEO of CFHZ, he remarks “What we all dream of is a Board Chair who is willing to own the role of fundraising from their peer board members. Insert, Sue. When she took over as chair of the CFHZ Board, she stepped up in a huge way to encourage other board members to give.” With leadership in other organizations like Hospice of Holland, the American Red Cross, and the Zeeland Public Schools Education Foundation, Sue’s passion for the causes she cares about is contagious, making her a perfect fit for this award.

Perrigo will be presented with the Outstanding Corporation Award in recognition for their exceptional commitment to the West Michigan community. Nominated by Theresa Lynn, PhD, RN, Executive Director of Wings of Hope Hospice, Perrigo is a company that knows the values of sharing its time, treasure, and talent. She notes “Perrigo is an amazing company that truly cares about the community and the success of West Michigan non-profit organizations. It inspires others to give and to take leadership positions that allow Perrigo to contribute further to the organizations that serve the most vulnerable people of our area.” In addition to Capital Campaign support, Perrigo is noted for its commitment to consistently supporting organizations even during economically troubling times and its belief that both special gifts and annual gifts are important to the sustainability of organizations like Wings of Hope, which have been able to serve more than 400 individuals with their support. Lori N. Antkoviak, JD, Executive Director of Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) agrees, “with the support of Perrigo, Safe Harbor CAC was able to start and sustain a medical component to provide body safety exams to child abuse victims with a Pediatrician specializing in child abuse using specialized equipment.”

Allegan County Community Foundation will be presented with the Exemplary Foundation Award. In the last year alone, the Allegan County Community Foundation has invested more the $450,000 in over 50 nonprofit organizations, supporting missions ranging from community services and environmental conservation to alleviating hunger and assisting the blind and visually impaired. One of the Foundation’s successes has been the development of the Allegan County Food Pantry Collaborative, says nominator Peg Sanford, a retired Foundation Board member: “After watching the year in and out requests from the food pantries in Allegan County, the Foundation thought there had to be a better way to help the hungry in Allegan.” Under the leadership of Executive Director Teresa Bray, the Foundation “managed to bring 16 pantries together to form the Collaborative which now provides better organization, networking, purchase power, and education to its members.” Over the years, the Foundation has continued to grow its grant-making capacity through its investment in Board education and development.

Jean Krohn of Battle Creek is the President’s Award recipient for her countless hours of commitment and her creative and influential drive to do good work for her community. “Jean represents the perfect development volunteer, a passionate and creative fundraiser who makes things happen again and again,” said Catherine G. Rogg, CFRE, AFPWM President. Jean started the Elementary Enrichment Project by purchasing crayons and other materials that encourage and support learning and assembling the items in her garage. Upon realizing the ongoing need, she raised funds from local businesses and colleagues to generate a regularly funded budget of $18,000 to continue to meet the needs of schoolchildren of economically challenged neighborhoods. More than 600 students in 25 classrooms each year have educational project kits to take home as their own because of her vision and engagement of others to support the project. Jean was also instrumental in creating the Painted Chair Affair which is a favorite spring event in Battle Creek that raises approximately $25,000 annually for the Woman’s Co-op which began with 40 and now has over 400 women in its network. The Woman’s Co-op helps 175 families annually by providing support and training for women in education and employment. Jean was also helped form the Women Who Care giving circle in 2008 which supports arts-related projects in Battle Creek. Jean is a retired elementary music teacher who has taken her passion for the arts, her concern for people and her creative fundraising abilities to support education, youth, women and the arts in Battle Creek. Her nominator, Brenda L. Hunt, President and CEO of the Battle Creek Community Foundation said it best, “Battle Creek is truly a better place because of her.”

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