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Calgary Fundraiser Joan Black Honored for Service to the Profession

April 15, 2015

AFP has presented its Founders’ Medallion to Joan Black, CFRE, of Calgary, Alberta, in recognition of her extraordinary service to the fundraising profession in Canada and around the world.

Black, one of the pioneers in fundraising in Canada, served as president and principal of Black Fund Development, Inc., for more than 30 years, though she officially retired in 2014. She remains active in AFP, giving of her time and talent to the fundraising profession.

The Founders’ Medallion is given to a volunteer member whose work honors the legacy of AFP’s four founders: Abel Hanson, Harry Rosen, Benjamin Sklar and William R. Simms. The recipient possesses the values held by AFP’s founders and has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the association, its mission and the fundraising profession.

Black began her career as prairie regional director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada in Winnipeg, and within a few years was leading the United Way of the Central Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C., just one of several executive positions she would be holding throughout her career.  At every organization, she has started new programs (donor acquisition, donor recognition, Home Lottery) that have led to millions of dollars in new funding.

In 1993, Black started her own firm, Black Fund Development, Inc., and became a leading authority on charity raffles in Canada.  She has helped raise over 250 million net dollars through lotteries for her clients, which include the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the Canada Cancer Society and the STARS Foundation (Alberta Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service Foundation). During this time, she has also served as senior manager for the STARS Foundation, supporting them on-staff as she managed their annual campaign for six years and nearly doubling their revenue in that time. 

I am so honored to have received the Founders Medallion and proud to be a longstanding member of AFP,” said Black. “I believe that all of us, whether we are fundraisers, staff on the management and administrative teams, or our allied associates, are truly helping to make this world a better place. And for many of us, including myself, our impact starts with our proactive involvement in AFP and our commitment to gaining and sharing our knowledge and experience for the benefit of the charitable sector we serve.”

Black has been involved with AFP since 1996 and even earlier with the Canadian Society of Fund Raising Executives (CSFRE).  She served as president of CSFRE’s Calgary Chapter in 1995 and was instrumental in helping to integrate the chapter seamlessly into AFP. She is also a mentor and teacher, and has presented at local, national, and international meetings and conferences.

One of Black’s key areas of involvement with AFP has been her support of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy-Canada. She is a board member of the foundation, currently chairs the Leadership Society (the foundation’s recognition group for its largest and most consistent donors) and is a member of the Major Gifts Committee. 

“Joan helped build the fundraising profession in western Canada,” said Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy-Canada. “She was one of the first to receive her professional designation (CFRE) and helped to form the first professional chapter that later became AFP. She’s someone we look up to locally and nationally in our profession.”

For her work locally, Black was named the 2010 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the AFP Calgary and Southern Alberta Chapters.  She received the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding service to the people of province of Alberta.

 “I can think of no one who betters represents the work and legacy of AFP’s four cofounders than Joan Black,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “She has blazed new trails for fundraising in Canada—her efforts in establishing lotteries has literally changed the fundraising landscape and helped countless organizations. She is committed to the profession in everything she does, and we are so grateful for her many contributions.” 

Black received her award on Saturday, March 28, at the Celebration of Philanthropy during AFP’s 52nd International Fundraising Conference in Baltimore, Md.

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