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AFP Honors for Five Outstanding Young Fundraising Professionals

(Arlington, Va. - Apr. 5, 2017) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is proud to announce its first group of Outstanding Young Professionals, fundraisers under the age of 31 who have already shown exemplary work in raising funds, inspiring donors, helping manage campaigns and giving back to the profession.

The Outstanding Young Professionals for 2017 are:

  • Cherrelle J. Duncan, MPSA, Community Manager, American Cancer Society, Houston, Texas
  • Leah Heister, MS, Senior Director, CCS, New York, N.Y.
  • Nicholas Kulik, CFRE, Major Gift Officer, The University of Toledo Foundation, Toledo, Ohio
  • Kayleigh Rae Stampfler, CFRE, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Rochester Area Community Foundation, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Jessica Wroblewski, CFRE, Manager, Major Gifts & Planned Giving, YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo, Kitchener, Ontario
2017 YP awardees image
From left to right: Cherrelle J. Duncan, MPSA; Kayleigh Rae Stampfler, CFRE;
Leah Heister, MS; Nicholas Kulik, CFRE; Jessica Wroblewski, CFRE

The five honorees will be recognized at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco on Sunday, April 30, during the Opening General Session.

“On behalf of the boards and staff at AFP, I want to offer my congratulations to these amazing fundraisers for this well-deserved honor,” said Interim President and CEO Jason Lee. “Not only are they representing the next generation of fundraisers, they are also leading the way for others. They have already shown tremendous fundraising prowess as well as a deep desire to support and give back to the fundraising community. We are looking forward to spotlighting them in San Francisco and throughout the year.”

The Outstanding Young Professionals were selected by judges from the AFP Awards Committee and the AFP NextGen Committee.

About the Outstanding Young Professionals

"There is no greater honour than to be recognized by your own professional association,” said Jessica Wroblewski, CFRE. “I am proud to be a fundraiser and even more proud to have been selected as one of the five inaugural AFP Outstanding Young Professional Award winners.”

Wroblewski is the manager, major gifts and planned giving at the YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo and a full-time student in the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership degree program at Carleton University. After raising more than $3.5M for charities such as Plan International Canada, Holy Trinity School, Copernicus Lodge Foundation and reBOOT Canada, she started her own consulting firm called Social Profit Partners. Jessica volunteers with AFP and the Canadian Association of Gift Planners.

“Philanthropy has been part of my life since I was a child,” said Kayleigh Rae Stampfler, CFRE. “I am so grateful to have found a way to make a career out of my passion for giving back. The AFP Outstanding YP Award provides a platform to share my love for philanthropy to people in the Rochester region and beyond. I hope to inspire other budding philanthropists to consider a career in the field.”

Stampfler is the senior philanthropic advisor at Rochester Area Community Foundation, where she helps generous individuals and families achieve their philanthropic goals. She is part of a team that is working to increase the Foundation’s unrestricted endowment to support the changing needs of the eight-county region. Stampfler most enjoys assisting donors as they create their legacy plans. Previously, she worked at Al Sigl Community of Agencies, Corn Hill Navigation, and Gilda’s Club Rochester with running events, managing outreach programs, and securing major gifts. 

“It’s an honor and humbling experience being recognized with a great class of young professionals,” said Nicholas Kulik, CFRE. “Through the guidance of my mentors, support of my family, especially my wife, and experiences through AFP, I’ve turned my career into my passion.” 

Kulik was first introduced to fundraising at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at Bowling Green State University and has steadily risen through the ranks, working at a variety of organizations, including the United Way in Racine, Wisc., where he led a record setting $5.4 million annual campaign. He has moved quickly to re-build and re-energize the major gift programs for two of The University of Toledo’s largest colleges, already raising more than $2 million in his first year and has been promoted to lead the major gift program for the College of Engineering. Kulik is also a recipient of Pi Kappa Phi’s Thirty Under 30 Award.

“AFP was the first organization I engaged with upon entering the field of fundraising, and I am enormously grateful for the mentorship its members have provided to me throughout the course of my young career,” said Leah Heister, MS. “To receive this award is incredibly humbling and I am appreciative to the New York City Chapter for their ongoing support. As a young professional, I feel a great responsibility to grow alongside our ever-evolving field, and I am thankful to AFP for providing me a forum to accomplish that end.”

Prior to joining CCS in 2015, Heister worked in healthcare fundraising, including time with ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, helping raise millions of dollars. Now a senior director at CCS, she is helping drive strategy for clients such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Wagner College and Weill Cornell Medicine. She also serves as a course facilitator for Columbia University's Nonprofit Management Master’s Program.

“I am humbled and honored to be one of five Outstanding Young Professional awardees,” said Cherrelle Duncan, MPSA. “Indeed, it is the greatest honor to be given this award by my peers and to be nominated by those who know my work. As a young professional, I strive to learn from the resources provided by AFP-Greater Houston Chapter and utilize my knowledge in my community and workplace. I truly love the field of fundraising. I know that through continuous education, mentoring from my colleagues, and hard work, I will become a well-rounded fundraiser.”

One of the top community managers with the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Houston Texas, Duncan established a new National Corporate Team Partner with Cyclebar, serves as a subject matter expert on using e-communications, and developed a one-day training course for volunteers. She’s also raised significant funds and developed corporate sponsors for the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals and was named one the National Urban League’s 30 under 30 Heroes in the Movement.



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