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Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service

Claude H. Grizzard Sr.

Claude H. Grizzard Sr. has been a pioneer in direct-response fundraising for more than four decades, developing new ideas and techniques and raising millions of dollars for a wide variety of charities. Along the way, he built the Grizzard Agency into one of the largest direct-response firms in the United States, earning a reputation as one of the most strategic and innovative minds in fundraising.

Grizzard was one of the first fundraisers to embrace and utilize technology. He took over leadership of the Grizzard Agency from his father in 1961, and the firm bought a computer business several years later. He was a leader in using computer technology to personalize messages in fundraising campaigns, and became well known for developing and coordinating unique messages for chapters of nonprofit organizations.

Throughout his career, Grizzard has successfully implemented fundraising programs for The American Red Cross, Humane Societies, The Salvation Army, State Sheriffs’ Association and numerous rescue missions across the United States. One example of his tremendous fundraising and leadership skills is from the Salvation Army, where in one year he helped raise more than $175 million while enrolling 150,000 new donors and keeping fundraising costs to less than 10 percent.

Grizzard served as chief executive officer of his firm until 1997, when he turned leadership of the agency to his son. He retired from the firm in 2004, although he still serves as chairman emeritus. The Grizzard Agency today grosses more than $120 million annually and has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago. He has received several accolades for his professional work, including the Direct Marketing Association’s 2000 Fundraising Achievement Award and being named Atlanta’s first Direct Marketer of the Year.

His commitment to philanthropy extends well into his personal life and activities. He remains an active volunteer in his native Atlanta, serving as a trustee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Kiwanis Club Foundation and Global Health Action. His work for the Kiwanis Club includes reading to children at a local Head Start program and teaching Junior Achievement’s “Our Region” program to fourth graders.

Among his numerous awards for his volunteer and charitable work, Grizzard is most proud of The Salvation Army’s William Booth Award, named after the organization’s founder. He has a passion for working with underprivileged kids in South and Latin American, and is one of the original founders and the primary funder of a hospital in Bolivia. He also has received the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Silver Keystone Award.

For his extraordinary contributions to the philanthropic sector, AFP is pleased to present the Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service to Claude H. Grizzard Sr.

The Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service is given to individuals for exceptional service to AFP, the fundraising profession and/or the philanthropic community. This is the tenth time the award has been presented since its inception in 1982.


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