FAREWELL MESSAGE from AFP Calgary & Area Chapter President, Wayne Steer:
As I reflect on my 16 years of service on the AFP Calgary & Area Chapter Board,
I recall the beginning when my first official role was as Editor of the Chapter Newsletter in the Fall of 2004. The most memorable activity at that time was attending my very first National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) celebration where I distinctly remember Dick and Lois Haskayne being honoured as Lifetime Philanthropists.
Shortly thereafter, I was encouraged by some colleagues to apply for the Chamberlain Scholarship to attend “ICON”, the International Fundraising Conference to be held in Baltimore in Spring of 2005. I was fortunate to have been chosen as the chapter’s recipient that year and when attending, was bitten by the “AFP Bug” as my awareness of how broad reaching and significant our profession is on the world stage quickly became evident. It also became quite evident that the Calgary & Area Chapter played a significant role on the global stage as I saw how members such as Andrea McManus – then Chair for AFP International – Dr. Tony Myers and Guy Mallabone were keenly sought after for advice and counsel by many in attendance. I can unequivocally say that this one event ignited my passion for and sense of wonder of AFP.
Later that same year (2005), the AFP Calgary & Area Chapter Newsletter – dubbed “The Pipeline” – won a provincial award for Best Non-profit Newsletter. I continued as Editor until 2007 when I accepted the invitation from NPD Co-chairs Scott Decksheimer, CFRE and Kim Anthony, CFRE to be Co-Vice Chair of National Philanthropy Day and then Co-chair in 2008 with Katrina Bradley.
In 2009, the importance of Diversity & Inclusion rose to the forefront within AFP and I was asked to consider being the Chapter’s Diversity & Inclusion Chair. While my outward appearance may not scream diversity and inclusion, my underlying belief system is very much aligned. Equipped with my passions and beliefs, I jumped in with both feet on both the local and global level. Internationally in 2009 I was asked by Lori Gusdorf, VP, Membership & Chapter Services (at the time) to head a task force to redefine “Diversity & Inclusion” for all members of AFP worldwide. I have proudly been involved in this aspect of our profession since that time and contributed to a task force chaired by Birgit Burton where Darius Maze came up with the acronym IDEA (Inclusion Diversity Equity & Access) to add more depth and meaning to Diversity & Inclusion.
I vividly recall in 2012 as I was approaching my eight-year term limit on the board then Chapter President Derek Fraser looked at his magic spreadsheet and determined that I would be perfect for the “Leadership Track”. This put me on the path that allowed me to enjoy terms as Secretary, President Elect, President, Past President, Acting President and then President again.
It was a distinct honour and privilege to have served as President when we celebrated our 20th Anniversary in 2016 when we launched out Emeritus Program.
I have so many fond memories, made many dear friends and gained a plethora of experience in leadership amid the rapids or white knuckling in white water (AKA running a chapter in challenging times). These last sixteen years have taught me much about the fundraising profession, the resilience and dedication of our members, the value of steadfastly trudging on in a storm to reach a goal, the richness of respectfully recognizing our differences and celebrating what we share in common, and the value in providing a way for our community to come together and celebrate those who continue to make our city great, whether they be donors, volunteers or fundraisers.
One of the keys to the success of the AFP Calgary & Area Chapter is our membership (that is to say, YOU). From every type and size of charity, AFP Calgary & Area fundraising professionals motivate and inspire me every day. I am proud to have been part of an extraordinary group of passionate and ethical professionals who learn together, share information and resources with each other, celebrate milestones together, and support each other through challenging times (and commiserate about board members that aren’t engaged).
As the AFP Calgary & Area Chapter enters its 25th year of operation, I am pleased to report that the chapter is in good hands under the Presidency of Marni Halwas, the careful guidance of Past President Lorie Abernethy, MA, CFRE, and the attention and responsiveness that our Chapter Administrator, Kara Tersen, CFRE brings to the board and to every member of this Chapter. I am confident that the newly elected board will rally to make AFP Calgary & Area Chapter’s 24th National Philanthropy Day celebration in November under the ongoing concern of Covid-19 a memorable one followed by a most celebratory 25th Anniversary in 2021.
While I will miss the service on the local level, my dedication and service to the profession will continue.
On Friday, AFP Calgary & Area Chapter received the following note from AFP Global President & CEO Mike Geiger, which I am pleased to share below.
Wayne Steer, President, AFP Calgary & Area Chapter
Congratulations to the AFP Calgary & Area Chapter as it approaches its 25 year anniversary in 2021. Thank you for your critical work in advancing ethical fundraising and promoting philanthropy in your local community.
Fundraising and philanthropy are so important in our society. People look to charities for leadership and meaning – as ways to connect with others, work together to create change, and to become part of something bigger. The challenges have never been greater for fundraisers and charitable organizations, but so are the opportunities, provided they have the necessary knowledge and resources.
The AFP Calgary & Area Chapter has played an important role in providing those tools to local charities and increasing philanthropic awareness. Our association wouldn’t be where it is today without the dedication, hard work and passion your chapter has exhibited since its creation in 1996. Your chapter and its leadership have advanced AFP’s mission and continues to promote fundraising as a critical and highly respected profession.
On behalf of the AFP board of directors and the AFP staff, congratulations as your chapter approaches this milestone. We look forward to many more years of working together!
Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA
President & CEO