Association of Fundraising Professionals

By Lynda Millner   |   December 19, 2019
AFP President Ashley Brown with Anne Paul King, executive director of Ventura College Foundation and professional fundraiser of the year

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) had 250 of its members gathered for lunch at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. What do they do? “The Association represents more than 30,000 fundraisers in 230 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs. The Association fosters the development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. The AFP Chapter of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties represents more than 100 charitable fundraisers in our region.”

This was National Philanthropy Day (NPD) and people were to be honored. President of the group, Ashley Brown, thanked all the sponsors. KEYT-TV news anchor Joe Buttitta served as master of ceremonies.

President/COO for Montecito Bank & Trust George Leis was long overdue for recognition. He’s on so many boards and does so much, one wonders how he has time for the bank. He services universities and charities throughout Southern California. He is also a board member of the YMCA of the USA, Western Bankers Association, Cabrillo Pavilion Renovation Campaign, Santa Barbara Zoo, the Historical Museum, Chamber of Commerce, and the list goes on. My favorite: the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s board.

AFP honorees Talia Gerstenfeld, George Leis, Jill Levinson, and Isa Mireles

After a BA at Stanford Jill Levinson worked in the entertainment industry in San Francisco for 16 years. In 2001 Jill and her husband Neil returned to Santa Barbara to start their family, now three children. She has served on many boards but especially MOXI. Under her leadership MOXI secured the land and funding needed to break ground in 2014, design and fabricate the exhibits, complete the building and open its doors. Besides her own contributions she brought millions of dollars of support for the $27 million campaign. She’s still on the executive committee and co-chairs their annual event.

The Youth Philanthropists of the year were Talia Gerstenfeld and Isa Mireles. Their friendship began long before Dos Pueblos High School. When Isa was battling leukemia as a toddler, Talia was there waiting to play when her friend felt ready. They wanted to raise money for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation but not with the usual bake sales. Instead three years ago they began a musical showcase of local youth. This past year they raised $7,500 and their goal for next year is $10,000.

AFP event chair Molly Kemper with Sarah Witmer

The winners from Ventura County were Karen and Tom Pecht, Ken Bauer, and Anne Paul King.

Chair of the event committee was Molly Kemper with help from Jack Clarke, Carrie L. Hughes, Karen Y. Kawaguchi, Amber Landis, Michael Padden-Rubin, Grace Robinson, Esq., Madeline Serrano Sattler, Lauren Winnewisser, and Sarah Witmer. For information about joining contact Winnewisser at lauren@sbhabitat. org. As AFP says “Change the World with a Giving Heart.”


You might also be interested in...