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Connecticut Fundraiser Rizzo Named 2010 CCS Outstanding Fundraising Professional

(April 12, 2010) Donald G. Rizzo, CFRE, vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, is the recipient of the 2010 CCS Award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The award is presented to the fundraiser who has practiced his or her profession in an exemplary manner for at least 15 years while generating significant revenue for his or her organizations. He or she must have demonstrated effective, creative and stimulating leadership and practiced and promoted ethical fundraising. Rizzo will receive the honor on April 12, 2010, at AFP's 47th International Conference on Fundraising in Baltimore, Md.

"I am extremely excited to be selected the CCS Outstanding Fundraising Professional for 2010," said Rizzo. "The life-long work in fundraising makes it an honor that my AFP colleagues have recognized my work and contribution to the profession."

Rizzo has spent 30 years in fundraising and raised nearly half a billion dollars for the organizations where he has been employed. Early in his career, he served in a variety of fundraising positions at different institutions, including Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.), the University of Denver and Claremont University Center (Claremont, Calif.), gaining expertise and experience about the profession.

It was during his service to Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. (as vice president for university advancement from 1989 to 1993), and Loyola University in New Orleans (as vice president for institutional advancement from 1993 to 1996), that Rizzo truly began making his mark on the fundraising profession. He raised $100 million combined for the universities and restructured and streamlined both of their fundraising operations, changes that laid the foundation for the institutions' future development success.

"CCS is proud to work with AFP in recognizing an individual who serves as a great role model for fundraising professionals," said CCS President Robert Kissane. "Don Rizzo has demonstrated commitment to the profession and dedication to philanthropy throughout his career. We congratulate him on receiving this award."

At his next organization, the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Lowell, Mass., Rizzo completed an extraordinary transformation of its fundraising department. He grew the fundraising staff from four to 22 and was responsible for raising more than $120 million for the university. He changed the entire culture of the organization with regards to philanthropy, integrating trustees, staff and students into the fundraising and giving process.

Since 2004, Rizzo has served as the vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Hartford. He already has led a complete restructuring of the university's fundraising programs, streamlining the advancement operations and allowing for the successful completion of the university's $175 million capital campaign. He is currently in the planning stage of a new capital campaign that will be the largest in the university's history.

"Don is remarkable not just for his incredible fundraising prowess, but for his ability to create culture of giving at his institutions,' said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. "He truly understands what it means to be a fundraiser and create connections and relationships that will serve institutions into the far future. He has given so much to the profession, and I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award than Don Rizzo."

Rizzo's contributions to the profession go far beyond just fundraising. He has been actively involved with the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy for nearly two decades, serving on the board since 1991 and leading the foundation as chair in 2009. He has served on numerous boards of directors and has an example to his staff, donors and others by strongly supporting each organization where he has been employed.

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 207 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to

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CCS is a leading fund-raising consulting and management firm established in 1947. The independently owned firm partners with major non-profit organizations across all sectors to provide a direct leadership role in the design and implementation of transformational and sustainable development initiatives. Leading philanthropists, board members, foundation officers, business leaders, and institutional executives in the non-profit world recommend CCS.  For more information, contact Kelly Albanese, Director of Marketing Communications at 212-497-7453 or, or visit

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