AFP Calgary & Area Chapter Community Blog

Welcome AFP Calgary & Area Chapter President Marni Halwas

Photo by Unique Perspectives

2020 has been unprecedented in so many ways, it is challenging to plan for the fall and beyond. This is the dilemma that all of us, as fundraising professionals, continue to grapple with.

With this as the backdrop, I have stepped into the role of President of the AFP Calgary and Area Chapter, stepping into the very large shoes that Wayne Steer filled so capably. And even though we are in the “dog days of summer”*, we are looking forward to and hoping that the health situation enables us to gather in person for our monthly luncheons and programs, and to celebrate National Philanthropy Day. As with you, these events will proceed in person so long as it is safe to do so; if health authorities advise that large gatherings should be avoided, we will adapt and find virtual methods to provide professional development, learning and engagement opportunities for our members.

As you may not be familiar with me, I want to tell you a bit about me: I am the Director of Fund Development with Accessible Housing Society and I’ve worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years. I first joined AFP as a member in 2001, co-chaired National Philanthropy Day in 2011, and have been actively engaged with the board ever since (you can read my full bio on our website, along with learning about the rest of our 2020/21 board).

The 2020/21 Board of Directors was elected by our members at the AGM in late June, and we welcome a group of enthusiastic and energetic new members to our chapter leadership. Together, we want to hear from you: tell us what is affecting you the most during these challenging times. Do you want more virtual and online programming? Support for your work from home endeavours? More in person and/or virtual networking opportunities? Reach out to our Chapter Administrator, Kara Tersen, CFRE, at and she can gather your requests and suggestions, or connect you with me or one of the other board members.

Are you seeking some additional career experience through volunteering? There are many opportunities to get involved (see the link further down to complete a volunteer form, or email  We are re-introducing our mentorship program, collaborating with others in the community towards a consultants directory that would provide resources in all facets of non-profit management, and will soon be announcing an Indigenous cultural awareness training opportunity made possible through collaboration with other western Canadian AFP chapters. Despite the many uncertainties in the world right now, we have many reasons to be excited for the opportunities AFP Calgary is bringing to our members in the year ahead.

I, along with the entire 2020/21 board, wish to extend our sincere thanks to Wayne Steer for his leadership and commitment to AFP over the last 16 years. While he has “retired” from the Calgary board, he continues to be involved with AFP at the national level, and we know we’ll see him at future events.

All of us at AFP Calgary are aware of how current world circumstances are challenging our communities, our organizations, and our work as professional fundraisers. As a member of AFP Calgary, you are part of a very supportive community and we are all here to support each other. If you are struggling or know of someone who is struggling, reach out.

“Never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”  ~ author R. Buckminster Fuller

I am looking forward to serving the AFP Calgary community and you, our members, as President. I look forward to hearing from you and, when possible, meeting you in person. I wish you and your families health, wellness, and safekeeping during this time.

Marni Halwas, President, AFP Calgary & Area Chapter 

  • (According to Wikipedia, the phrase “dog days of summer” is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star. In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.” Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to Aug. 11.)
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Contact Us

Kara Tersen, CFRE | Chapter Administrator
The Commons Calgary 1206 20 Ave SE
Calgary Alberta 
P.O. Box 46052 Inglewood
Calgary, AB T2G 5H7
Phone: (403) 297-1033