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University of Toledo Fundraiser Vern Snyder Named 2016 Outstanding Fundraising Professional

(Arlington, VA)  Vern Snyder, ACFRE, who recently retired from the University of Toledo and has helped to raise more than $400 million during his fundraising career, has been named the 2016 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Snyder will receive this award on March 21, 2016 at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference in Boston, Mass.

The Outstanding Fundraising Professional award is the highest honor that AFP bestows upon its members, recognizing effective, creative and stimulating leadership as well as the practice and promotion of ethical fundraising.

“Throughout my career I have had the rare privilege to work with some very special people: the donors who provide for our communities, our hospitals, our schools and universities,” said Snyder. “It has been my good fortune as well to serve with many, many exceptional fundraising professionals. This recognition is a tribute to those special people. Thanks to the AFP Northwest Ohio Chapter and to AFP International for this capstone to my career.”

Snyder was appointed vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Toledo (UT) on July 1, 2002. During his tenure at UT, the university received over $160 million in contributions, including the largest single gift in the institution’s history, which he cultivated and solicited. He also helped to establish more than 350 endowments. Under his leadership, UT successfully concluded its largest capital campaign, raising $106 million.

Snyder worked tirelessly to connect UT’s various fundraising initiatives together. Early in his tenure he designed and implemented the advancement regional structure which coordinates alumni relations initiatives with major gifts initiatives and allows development staff to reach alumni outside of Northwest Ohio.  As a result of this restructuring, UT has identified 600 new prospects that are capable of making six-figure gifts to UT.

Snyder’s began his career in fundraising as a campaign director for Ketchum, Inc. in 1988.  His responsibilities included planning and implementing capital campaigns. While with Ketchum he designed and directed seven capital campaigns and participated in five others, including a campaign for Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, Ohio, the first all-female capital campaign in Ketchum history.

Vern then served in leadership positions at Eastern Kentucky University and Youngstown State University, creating new fundraising strategies and campaigns. At both institutions, he increased fundraising, cultivating and soliciting the first million dollar gift for Youngstown while dramatically revising and enhancing the investment policies of the EKU Foundation, leading to greater revenue.

“Vern of course is an incredible fundraiser, as the amount of funds he has raised throughout his career demonstrates” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “But what’s truly exceptional is that at every institution, he has created cultures of giving that bring donors and staff together, impact that will benefit those organizations for years into the future. He understands the concept of service, and has lived it, both in what he has given to his workplaces and to the fundraising profession. All of us at AFP are honored to recognize Vern with this year’s Outstanding Fundraising Professional.”

An AFP member since 1992, Vern has been active with the Northwest Ohio Chapter serving in several different roles over the years. At the international level, he has served on the AFP Professional Advancement Division, International Conference Education Advisory Committee and the ACFRE Certification Board. 

Vern is committed to the principle of continuing professional development. He earned his ACFRE in 2010 and has completed the AFP Master Teachers training.  He earned his CFRE in 1993 and has renewed it seven times over the years. He has attended, participated and presented at dozens of regional and national conferences and professional education seminars including AFP and CASE. 

In the Toledo community, Vern has served on the board of directors of the Toledo Chapter American Red Cross.  As chair of the Financial Development Committee, he has led several trainings for board leadership and staff for the 18-county region.  He has also been a presenter at several Red Cross donor forums.  He has served on the budget committee of the Toledo Rotary and volunteered with The Cherry Street Mission, The American Heart Association Heart Walk, Get Fit Toledo and the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio.  

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