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Two Fundraisers Earn Top Fundraising Credential

(Nov. 17, 2008) Dree Thomson-Diamond of Edmonton, Alberta, and Walter R. Gillette III of Washington, D.C., recently earned the highest professional certification available to fundraisers, the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE).

The ACFRE credential is available only to senior-level fund development professionals with 10 or more years of experience. It is a distinguished achievement earned by only 84 professionals worldwide. They will be honored for this achievement during AFP’s 46th International Conference on Fundraising in New Orleans in March 2009. 

Thomson-Diamond is just one of six practitioners in Canada—and the only fundraiser in western Canada—to hold the ACFRE certification.  A member of the AFP Edmonton and Area Chapter, she has been active in the nonprofit and charitable communities for over 20 years. Her extensive experience as a consultant and as a full-time employee includes appointments with the Alberta Emerald Foundation, the University of Victoria, CKUA Radio Network, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, the Heritage Community Foundation and a diversity of clients across western Canada and the northern United States. She is a member of the AFP Higher Education Task Force, has served as the ethics chair with the Edmonton and Area Chapter of AFP (2001-2007) and was a subject matter expert (SME) with CFRE International (2005-2007).

“I am proud to have earned the ACFRE and I want to encourage as many people as possible to work towards their CFRE and then onto their ACFRE" Thomson-Diamond said. "From a consulting standpoint, the ACFRE indicates to those seeking consulting services that there is real depth of experience and expertise being brought to the work undertaken with them.”

Walt Gillette is the director of development for WAMU 88.5, the NPR news station in the greater Washington D.C. area. He is a member of the AFP International Board of Directors. Gillette is a past president of the AFP West Florida Chapter and he is currently a member of the AFP Greater Washington D.C. Chapter. His fundraising career also includes work for the American Red Cross, the American Lung Association of Florida and the Department of Defense Overseas Shows program in Okinawa, Japan.

"The ACFRE signifies a commitment to lifelong learning in philanthropic fundraising," Gillette explained. "It denotes a special trust and confidence that our donors and nonprofit employers have in the skills and abilities of the fundraising executive. I am proud—and humbled—to have earned the ACFRE and to join a truly elite group of philanthropic fundraisers and mentors whose contribution to the profession is far greater than the sum of their individual careers in development.”

The ACFRE Certification Board of AFP, chaired by Carl Manfield, ACFRE, oversees the ACFRE candidate review process. The ACFRE program, established in 1992, is the most rigorous certification process available to professional fundraisers.  The process includes a comprehensive application, detailing achievements in practice, education, publishing, teaching, and service to the profession; a written examination that measures a candidate’s knowledge of fundraising as well as the philosophical, ethical, and social aspects of philanthropy; a portfolio representing the candidate’s body of professional work; and an oral peer review in which the candidate must articulate a mastery of advanced-level knowledge in fundraising management, leadership, and ethics.

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