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2013 CCS Award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional: Martha Taylor

Nominated by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, the AFP Wisconsin, Madison Chapter and the University of Wisconsin Foundation’s Women’s Philanthropy Council 

Martha 400x588 2013 awardsAn outstanding fundraiser is exceptional in all areas of the profession: development, ethical commitment, leadership, education, research, publication and innovation. And for 38 years, Martha Taylor has not only embodied all of these aspects of the profession, but has also been a pioneer in the fields of women’s fundraising and philanthropy.

Taylor was the first woman vice president in development in the Big Ten, and as one of the vice presidents of the University of Wisconsin (UW) Foundation, she has been instrumental in the growth of one of the most successful institutionally-related foundations in the U.S. When she started at the UW Foundation in 1975, receipts were $5.7 million and staff numbered nine. In 2011, receipts had grown to nearly $200 million from 50,000 donors, and staff had increased to 150.

Taylor’s influence has been seen across the university. Her work has resulted in countless transformational gifts to the institution, including the largest gift ever to one academic department in the university’s history. She has launched and managed fundraising programs for 11 colleges and schools, as well as the annual telefund and the school’s first communications and marketing plan. She has managed more than 20 special campaigns and helped with capital campaigns in the billions of dollars.

In 1988, Taylor co-founded the UW Foundation’s Women’s Philanthropy Council, the first women’s major gift program at a co-ed university. Seeing significant interest in this area, she and Sondra Shaw-Hardy co-founded and co-directed the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, now part of the Indiana University School on Philanthropy, to increase philanthropy by women to all causes. Taylor has become a pioneer and leader in the international women’s philanthropy movement. Along with Shaw-Hardy, she wrote the first major book on women’s philanthropy, which has been termed the “field bible” by Town and Country magazine and won the Grenzebach Research Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Taylor has given back to the profession in many ways. She has written two other award-winning books with Shaw-Hardy and scores of articles for journals and popular publications around the world. A popular presenter, she has given more than 100 presentations on women’s philanthropy and other aspects of fundraising, and has been heavily involved in philanthropic research for AFP and other organizations. She has also served as a mentor for many fundraisers in the Madison community.

Taylor also practices what she preaches, serving as a board member, officer and president for many nonprofits, including the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Lutheran Social Services; Friends of Wisconsin Public Television; Lutheran Campus Ministry Wisconsin Board; and A Fund for Women and the Madison Community Foundation.  She has contributed countless hours serving on ad hoc committees for the Lutheran (ELCA) Church in the U.S. and local nonprofits.

For her extraordinary contributions to the fundraising professional and philanthropy, AFP is proud to present the 2013 CCS Award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional to Martha Taylor.



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