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Former AFP Chair Welch Honored with Founders' Medallion

(Oct. 24, 2005) Byron Welch, an internationally renowned fundraiser and former chair of both AFP and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, was presented with the AFP Founders' Medallion during the Delegate Assembly Meetings in Houston, Texas.

Welch is the fourth person ever to receive the medallion, which is given to an individual for extraordinary leadership and contributions to the association. The only other recipients of the medallion are the three co-founders of AFP: Benjamin Sklar of Brandeis University, William R. Simms of the National Urban League and Harry Rosen of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.

Simms, the only co-founder still alive, was on hand at the reception during the Delegate Assembly to personally present the medallion to Welch. 'Byron is truly one of the pioneers of fundraising, and his impact on the profession - both here in Texas and throughout the world - will never be forgotten,' said Simms.

A Legacy of Founding and 'Firsts'

Welch, a native of Houston, served for many years as president and chief executive officer of Welch Associates, an international fundraising consulting firm. He worked with a wide variety of charities, from small community churches in Houston to major universities in Texas to international programs in England and Mexico.

Welch founded the Texas Society of Fund Raisers in 1968, which ultimately became a part of the National Society of Fund Raisers (as AFP was known then). He would go on to serve as AFP's chair from 1975 to 1977 and co-founded the AFP Greater Houston chapter. During his tenure, AFP hired its first paid executive director, moved its headquarters from New York City to Washington, D.C., and published the first issue of its journal, Advancing Philanthropy.

Welch also served as founding trustee of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy (then known as the NSFR Institute) and the AFP certification program. He was the first recipient in the world of the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential; there are now more than 4,000 CFREs in the profession.

AFP President and CEO Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, added: 'AFP would not be the leader it is in the philanthropic world without the efforts of Byron Welch. It is no surprise that all the people he has mentored call him 'Grandpa.' He is a father figure to the profession, and we are so proud to honor him.'

Local Recognition Too

To recognize Welch's contributions to the local area, the AFP Greater Houston Chapter has established the Byron Welch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Fundraising.

The Welch award honors exceptional fundraising professionals in Houston who have a long history of making significant contributions to the profession, including contributions to the core body of knowledge, mentoring, involvement in the community and service to AFP.

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