Summer 2021 Newsletter

A Message from the AFP West Michigan President Steve Ozinga
Upcoming Events!
Keynote Speaker: Lisa GreerThe 2021 National Philanthropy Day (NPD) awardees will be honored at our NPD luncheon on Thursday, November 18, 2021. This event will be virtual and held at mini watch parties. Registration coming soon!

Nominations are open through July 16th
Nominate outstanding achievements by an individual, foundation or corporate philanthropists, fundraising volunteers, and professional fundraisers
Nomination FormNPD-2021-Nomination Information
AFPWM Friday Morning Virtual Breakfast Series
First Fridays of the Month from 7:50am-9:00am
The events are free, but pre-registration is required by Wednesday before the Friday event. You will receive the link to the meeting the day before, on Thursday, from Louise “Punky” Edison. 

Upcoming Breakfasts:
July 9, 2021
Creating Your Post-COVID Personal Development Plan
Presenter: Lon Swartzentruber, Design International


New events added to the website monthly
2020-2021 Mentor and Mentees Celebration

The beautiful backyard of Libby Wahlstrom was the site of this year’s AFP-WM Mentorship Program Outdoor Celebration on May 25. With tacos from El Granjero and chilled drinks, participants discussed their year-long experience during the 2020-21 mentorship program.

The Mentorship Committee is actively recruiting Mentors and Mentees and applications are due August 23, 2021. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit the Mentorship Program page.

From the 20/21 cohort:
“Salina helped me look forward and think about how I can build up my position to have a greater impact.” -Sydney W.

“She [my mentor] helped me identify my long-term career goals as a fundraising professional.” Claire T.

“Being a mentor helps you keep your sword sharp. If you are teaching something, it forces you to live it better each day.” Jim S.

 Thank you to all the mentees and mentors! 
AFP Members, when you give to the BE the CAUSE Campaign, benefiting both our chapter and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, you are investing in the future of our profession and advancing philanthropy for the greater good.
June 28-30, 2021 : The “Good Takeover” Challenge Match
For the first 1,000 donors who donate a one-time gift of $20 or more during the three days of ICON your gift will be matched $10 by Blackbaud!
Give by Cell Drawing!
One Lucky Winner Each Day Will Receive SIX Months Service from Give by Cell! To enter drawing, make a $50 or more gift by texting AFP to 56512. We will announce a winner every day during ICON.

The BE the CAUSE Campaign, provides support to several local, national, and international programs that promote the work of you and your colleagues and empower young professionals to join the field and continue the noble tradition of philanthropy.Diversity & Inclusion – Is a pillar of the AFP Strategic Plan, scholarships for people from diverse communities is a priority for the Foundation.Professional Development – Professional development scholarships provide fundraisers and nonprofit leaders with education, training, and leadership development opportunities.Research – provides an increased knowledge of fundraising, philanthropy, and social innovation, and includes the Growth in Giving Initiative You can make a donation be visiting:
BE the CAUSE reflects your commitment to and passion for our rewarding profession. Together we are creating societal impact.
If you would like more information, please visit

Mentors/Mentees Share Their Experiences

Mentee Sydney Watson — Sydney Watson, Communication and Development Coordinator at Community Food Club, discussed her experience as a mentee. “I could text Salina for help about anything,” she noted about mentor Salina Bishop, Director of Development at Grand Rapids Symphony. They discussed her fundraising questions and worked through how to work in a small nonprofit organization. Since this was Sydney’s first development position, they talked a great deal about next steps. “Salina helped me look forward and think about how I can build up my position to have a greater impact,” said Sydney.

Mentee Clair Timmer — “I plan to continue meeting with Melissa,” said Claire Timmer, Stewardship and Hospitality Coordinator for Kids’ Food Basket. As a mentor, Melissa Block, Associate Director of the Children’s Healing Center, helped Claire get into the details of stewarding donors and planning for events. But it was much more. “She helped me identify my long-term career goals as a fundraising professional,” said Claire. “I am lucky to have Ashley Diersch as my professional mentor at Kids’ Food basket, but it is amazing to have outside input from a seasoned professional like Melissa.”

Mentor Jim Steenbergen — First-time mentor Jim Steenbergen, Executive Director of Sunset Legacy Foundation, reflected on his time in the program. “Being a mentor helps you keep your sword sharp. If you are teaching something, it forces you to live it better each day,” said Jim. A life-long learner, he noted that “Mentoring offers the opportunity to step outside of the echo chambers that we fall into. I also thought I had some knowledge to perhaps pass on after working in the field for over 20 years.” Jim was pleasantly surprised by how much he learned from mentoring Abigail McIntyre, Director of Community Engagement at Protect Life Michigan. “Abigail was well-versed on the technological aspects of conversing with donors in the digital space – something that I’m not really equipped to do,” he noted. “She provided a lot of ideas to me.” He is already looking forward to being a part of the mentoring program again next fall.

National Philanthropy Day Nominations Open!

AFP West Michigan’s National Philanthropy Day (NPD) recognizes outstanding achievements by an individual, foundation and corporate philanthropists, fundraising volunteers, and professional fundraisers. These awards recognize individuals and organizations whose lifetime, long-term, and emerging achievements have made a significant impact on society.


  • Distinguished Philanthropist
  • Benjamin Franklin Award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional
  • Outstanding Corporation, Foundation, or Community Organization
  • Emerging Nonprofit Development Professional
  • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser(s)
  • Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
  • West Michigan Chapter Award for Excellence in Fundraising


The nominations close July 16, 2021

Click here for 2021 NPD Nomination Packet


Nominations for any award may be submitted by an individual AFP member or nonmember individuals or organizations. You may make more than one nomination in any category, but no more than three nominations total. All nominations will be considered in the year presented, plus one additional year.



Current NPD Committee members are ineligible for all categories.

Past awardees cannot win the same category they have won in the past.