Most days, I feel so fortunate to be a fundraiser.
I see this work as a calling, not just a profession. I always say that fundraising is about connecting community needs with community resources. It is a partnership, with the recognition that we are all in this together. The success and the survivability of our community is dependent on each member contributing to their full ability.
It is no secret that we are experiencing an incredibly challenging time for our global community. As an organization, and as a country, we are being asked what we truly value, and how we represent that.
When I joined the AFP Minnesota board, I was the only Black woman – in fact, I did not know a single other Black fundraiser. It was clear that AFP Minnesota did not represent the growing diversity of the nonprofit sector and was not doing enough to support the fundraisers of color.
While we built on a foundation of service and expertise created by the many fundraising professionals that came before us, change was needed.
I’m proud to say that as a result of a commitment to access, AFP Minnesota leadership decided to “put our money where our mouth was” and invest in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) work. We are committed to investing in real solutions and intentionally reaching out to fundraisers who have been left behind in the past.
AFP Minnesota leadership and other volunteers listened to member needs, participated in Diversity, Inclusion, and Access trainings, and over several years developed a range of opportunities, including the IDEA Fellowship program, for fundraising professionals who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color).
As part of this work, we realized that the time had come for us to research, clarify, and share our values as a chapter.
Like all values, there is an element of aspiration – these are the values we seek to uphold in our quest for a more equitable future. You might say its overdue, but I know things happen at the right time. You can learn about our chapter values, and the future we commit to here.
I step into my role as President for 2021 – 2022 as the current longest-serving member of the AFP Minnesota Board of Directors. It has been a journey to get to the place we are at today – and there is much work yet to do.
I am proud to lead AFP Minnesota into the next 50 years, and I am grateful you are here to stand with me. Thank you.
Michelle Edgerton, MA
AFP Minnesota President 2021-2022