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Marshall Monroe, CFRE, Former Chair of AFP, Passes Away

September 9, 2015

Marshall Monroe, CFRE, one of the innovators and pioneers of the fundraising profession who served as chair of AFP in the latest 1980s, passed away on Sept. 1 at the age of 89.

Monroe served on the AFP Association board from 1985 – 1991 and was chair in 1988 and 1989. He also served on the AFP Foundation board from 1987-1992, is a member of the AFP Leadership Society and helped to found the AFP North Carolina, Western Chapter in Asheville.

“Marshall was a soft spoken man of vision,” said Barbara Levy, ACFRE, fundraising consultant and a board member when Monroe served as chair of AFP. “His leadership promoted advancement as fundraising grew to be recognized as a profession.”

Monroe was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Marshall Monroe, Jr. and Elsie Mueller Monroe. He graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, TX and served in the U.S. Army, WWII, Texas Army National Guard, and Army reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Monroe recognized early in his career that he wanted to make a difference in the world and was able to do this in executive positions with several major nonprofits:

  • Vice President for Program Development for The United Way of America;
  • Assistant Chief Scout Executive for The Boy Scouts of America; and
  • Director of Corporate Planning and Financial Development for The YMCA of the USA.

Monroe also served as president of the Stuart and Margaret L. Forbes Foundation, chairman of the Polk County Community Foundation and vice chairman of St. Luke’s Hospital Board.

"I met Marshall through the Center on Philanthropy's work with the YMCA,” said Eugene Tempel, CFRE, founding dean emeritus of Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and president emeritus of the IU Foundation. “He was a serious professional and discussed with me the importance of connecting what is now the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy with the then-National Society of Fund Raising Executives [now AFP]. Marshall appointed me to the board with one of his discretionary slots. It was Marshall who established a relationship that is now nearly three decades long.”

He is survived by his wife, Bernardine, two daughters, Mona Lee and Linda of Lockhart, Texas, a stepson, Kenneth Dombrowski (Charlotte) of Ringoes, N.J., a special family friend, Ina Pollock, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Please send notes, cards or emails to his wife, Bernadine, at the address: Bernadine Monroe, 905 Mountain Laurel Drive, Columbus, NC  28722, Email:

“Marshall served as a steady anchor for AFP during some very tumultuous times for our association,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “We are grateful for his tremendous leadership and vision, and the thoughts and prayers of the AFP community go out to Bernadine and his family.”

Contributions to AFP

From AFP: The First Fifty Years, here are some of the key things that happened during Monroe’s time as chair.

“Marshall Monroe’s term started with an emphasis on consolidating growth and advancing the initiatives started in recent years, including strategic planning, advanced certification and the minorities task force. Monroe conducted a vigorous campaign of visiting chapters, and he placed a priority on “listening to what they had to say and making sure they understood NSFRE!” He also made a point to interact and work closely with the other fundraising organizations and fundraising firms.

“In December 1988, with funding from the Kellogg Foundation through the NSFRE Foundation (the name had changed on April 28, 1987), NSFRE conducted a Forum on Ethics in Fund Raising, which brought together representatives from health, education, social services and cultural organizations; related disciplines, such as law, financial planning and accounting; and grant-making institutions. The purpose of the forum was to take a critical look at setting ethical standards, educating fundraisers and informing the general public about the importance of ethical conduct in fundraising. The forum would help guide AFP’s ethical outreach programs for many years.

“Monroe’s peaceful term took a sudden turn in late December 1988 when NSFRE President Dick Wilson unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Without their dynamic CEO, who over the previous eight years had personally built the staff and strengthened the organization, the volunteer officers and staff had to step in to run things. Gale Clarke, who had just been promoted to chief operating officer, suddenly found herself in the role of acting CEO. Fortunately, the officers, committee members and staff rose to the occasion and, remarkably, the organization proceeded with scarcely a hitch.

“Monroe appointed a search committee, and after several months the committee recommended and the board approved the selection of Ian T. Sturrock, Ph.D., CFRE, to take office on Oct. 1. Unfortunately, tragedy struck again. While he was visiting Alexandria to find a place to live, Sturrock died of a heart attack on Aug. 30, 1989, at age 45. The search committee went to work again.

“The 1989 international conference was held in Anaheim, Calif., just three months after Wilson passed away. Nevertheless, staff and volunteers came together to deliver one of the most successful conferences to date, with pre-conference workshops and a full array of professional development pro-grams. NSFRE also conducted the first Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) at Indiana University for senior fundraising executives.

“For several years, Wilson had advocated reducing the size of the board of directors. In late 1989, Monroe appointed a Board Restructure Task Force, with Patricia F. Lewis, CFRE, as chair, to make recommendations for achieving this goal. At the same time, the number of NSFRE chapters reached 100, and the society published the first chapter development manual.

“An ethics situation during this time forced a controversial change to the NSFRE ethics policy. When NSFRE considered revoking the membership of a member accused of accepting percentage-based compensation, legal counsel advised that taking such action would put NSFRE at risk of sanction by the Federal Trade Commission. As a result, the board voted to suspend that provision of the code. This move was greatly unpopular with many members who felt that the prohibition against percentage-based fundraising was the cornerstone of the profession. However, the board felt the move was necessary to protect the organization.”

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