AFP Board of Directors Spotlight: Rochelle Jerry
To help you get to know the members who will be representing you on the 2024 AFP Board of Directors, we asked our 5 new members to share with us background on their career paths, their advice for the profession, and their goals for their time on the board.
In this Member Spotlight, we interviewed Rochelle Jerry, one of our new board members at large. Rochelle is an industry expert with over twenty years of nonprofit professional experience. She has worked for some of the nation’s largest associations cultivating critical relationships that have raised millions of dollars for nonprofits. She has developed and implemented valuable strategic and fundraising techniques that have led to record-breaking numbers of volunteers participating in committees and leadership elections.
Q: How did you start your career in the fundraising profession and what led you there?
A: My career in fundraising started due to my governance and foundation positions in the nonprofit industry. A colleague suggested I specialize in fundraising due to my relationships with board members and partners.
Q: When and why did you decide to become an AFP member and how did you become a volunteer?
A: I didn’t have professional development support early on in my career. I joined AFP once I worked for a nonprofit who supported professional development and after I attended the Lilly School of Philanthropy, IUPUI, The Fundraising School. I became a volunteer because I wasn’t surrounded by many African American fundraisers, and I wanted to network.
Q: What is one skill you think is invaluable as a fundraising leader?
A: Understanding relationship capital and owning the fact that I am the mission driver for the organization.
Q: What is your favorite word? (only one word) How has this word influenced or inspired your career?
A: Optimistic – As a fundraiser, I walk a daily life of hopeful confidence about the future.
Q: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: During my time as foundation manager of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), I raised more than $1 million to support The Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) during COVID-19. I created the first strategic and fundraising plan for Rugby Illinois. In 2023, I helped the Indy Arts Council break a revenue record for Start with Art, its annual fundraiser, within six months of my new role.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the nonprofit fundraising profession today?
A: Creating a stronger profession. Stewarding the next generation of mission-driven professionals and funding professional development for emerging professionals.
Q: What is one goal you have for your time on the AFP board?
A: Advancing the fundraising profession. This can be accomplished at the board level by supporting the mission and goals of AFP while creating governance effectiveness for the next leaders.
Q: What advice do you have for other fundraising professionals, or people interested in getting into the field?
A: Make it personal. Always cultivate before asking. Be proactive. Stay organized and socialize well.
Rochelle Jerry is the Director of Development at Indy Arts Council, central Indiana’s leading arts advocacy agency that supports artists, arts organizations and public art programs. Having spent 20+ years in the nonprofit sector, she has a knack for developing innovative fundraising models and transforming organizations through collaborative leadership–strategies she shared in a recent AFP article.
During her time as Foundation Manager of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Rochelle raised more than $1 million to support The Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) during COVID-19. She created the first strategic and fundraising plan for Rugby Illinois. In 2023, she helped the Indy Arts Council break a revenue record for Start with Art, its annual fundraiser, within six months in her new role.
Rochelle currently serves as the Global IDEA Affinity Chair of the AFP Membership Committee and has completed a recent term on the AFP Chicago Chapter Board of Directors. She has a B.A. from DePaul University in marketing; an executive leadership & fundraising development certificate from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy; and public relations training from Porter Novelli and Ketchum Companies.
When she’s not building successful advocacy and fundraising campaigns, Rochelle treasures time with her family–her husband, William, and their 8-year-old daughter, Paulena, enjoying music, art, nature and dance.