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Jumping Out of a Plane...for AFP!

August 30, 2015

By Leah Eustace, ACFRE

Leah Eustace Jumping PlaneBack in June, I spent a wonderful week in Utah: visiting, exploring, hiking and taking photographs. But I also decided to do something a little out of the ordinary.

Those who know me know that I’m passionate in my support of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). AFP has given me so much over the years. It’s given me community when I needed it most. It set me on the right path with the gift of a scholarship to attend the International Fundraising Conference many years ago. And, most importantly, it’s given me a network of amazing friends and colleagues whom I consider part of my extended family.

For all those reasons, I decided to jump out of a plane, both to knock something off my bucket list and to raise funds for the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Canada.

Despite waking up to ominous-looking storm clouds on June 5, the jump went off without a hitch. Was I nervous? Only a little bit. Was it fun? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Probably (but please don't tell my Mom, who was watching from the ground with a look of absolute terror on her face).

I set myself a goal of $1,000. After all, I only started fundraising a week before the jump. I set a stretch goal of $2,000 thinking there was no way I'd make it (but promising to wear something ridiculous if I did). In the end, $2,600 was raised to support the wonderful programs of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy-Canada. I couldn't be more thrilled and am so thankful to the many generous donors who contributed.

It’s an exciting time for the foundation. Our groundbreaking work in the area of diversity and inclusion in Ontario continues, with our first 35 Fellows in Inclusion and Philanthropy announced just this month ( We’ve also partnered with Deloitte to develop a pan-Canadian strategy on diversity and inclusion.

The foundation recently awarded a grant to two researchers from the University of Waterloo, whose long-term research goal is to support charitable organizations in aligning their investments with their missions.

And, we continue to: provide scholarships to conferences like the one I received, support mentorship programs across Canada, offer complimentary webcasts on important issues facing our sector, and translate key documents and publications into French.

We’re always looking to involve more AFP chapters and members in our work. Currently, we’re digging deep into issues around closing the leadership gap in our sector, what boards and CEOs need to know about fundraising, developing our new research agenda and ways to  further support our profession.

Interested in getting involved? Feel free to reach out to me at   

Leah Eustace, M.Phil., CFRE, ACFRE, is chief idea goddess at Good Work, a consulting firm based in Ottawa that focuses on helping charities connect with their donor’s hearts. Leah is chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada. You can find her on Twitter @LeahEustace.

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