AFP Names Three Outstanding Young Fundraising Professionals for 2019
AFP is proud to announce its 2019 group of Outstanding Young Professionals, fundraisers under the age of 31 who have already shown exemplary work in raising funds, inspiring donors, helping manage campaigns and giving back to the profession.
The Outstanding Young Professionals for 2019 are:
- Channing Lenert, MS, CFRE, Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation. Chicago, Ill.
- Jonathan J. Richardson, MSW, MPA, Director of Development, Albany Damien Center, Albany, N.Y.
- Juliana M. Weissbein, bCRE, Associate Director of Development Operations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, New York, N.Y.
The three honorees will be recognized at AFP ICON 2019 in San Antonio on Tuesday, April 2, during the Closing General Session.
“Our three honorees this year show that the future of the fundraising profession is in good hands,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “Their list of accomplishments in the profession is already impressive, but what stands out to me are how they are working to advance and give back to the fundraising community. They are already leading the way and inspiring so many others. On behalf of the boards and staff at AFP, I want to offer my congratulations to these amazing fundraisers for this well-deserved honor.”
The Outstanding Young Professionals were selected by previous honorees of the award.
With nearly a decade of fundraising experience and a record of proven results, Weissbein is a highly motivated, results-driven nonprofit leader who thrives on bettering fundraisers and the communities she serves. She operates from a fundamental belief that an agile strategy, focus on a strong mission, and data-driven insights can enable big and bold ideas, producing measurable results and impact.
As the associate director of development operations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Weissbein oversees data integration processes, ensuring that all donor data and contributions are deposited and processed with adherence to internal guidelines and legal standards. She is responsible for enforcing, developing, and enhancing donor-related operations to guarantee data integrity within the Salesforce environment.
“I am honored to be recognized by an organization I so deeply respect and to be in the company of past recipients who have helped me realize the true potential of our profession to make a difference,” said Weissbein. “Winning this award would not have been possible without the mentorship I have received from my colleagues, for whom I have the deepest appreciation, and from whom I have derived the ambition to challenge myself at each stage of my career. Serving my community has been a privilege that I am grateful for every day. Thank you so much to the team at AFP for recognizing me with this incredible award.”
A fundraiser for seven years, Richardson has helped local organizations raise over $2 million through major gifts, special events, foundation and government grants, and annual giving initiatives. At the Damien Center, he increased charitable giving from individuals by 40 percent, secured new state funding, and almost doubled board member giving and engagement. He is supervising multiple staff members, as well as interns and volunteers, and providing and implementing strategic initiatives to advance the agency’s mission.
Richardson earned his Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration degrees at University at Albany, SUNY, focusing on nonprofit management and social welfare policy. He has completed research projects on the effectiveness of a nonprofit’s board of directors, marketing for human service agencies, and collaborations between local governments and nonprofit organizations. He received his bachelor’s degree in Religion, Linguistics and Gender Studies from the University of Rochester.
“I’ve always been an advocate for equity and am committed to making a positive impact on my community, and AFP has been instrumental for career growth and success,” said Richardson. “I've been a part of the AFP family for eight years now and am honored to receive this award. I look forward to engaging more with AFP both locally and internationally and working towards a world that stimulates philanthropy, advances equity, and creates social good.”
Lenert has already had significant impact on the Chicago nonprofit community in both his professional and volunteer roles. Previously the senior development manager for Chicago’s Navy Pier, the most visited cultural institution in the Midwest, he increased major grant support by 300 percent and secured the organization’s first federal grant. Entrusted by Navy Pier to work with Chicago’s leading grant funders, his portfolio included foundations that in other organizations were often assigned to senior development officers.
Lenert earned a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Chicago's Spertus Institute, with a fundraising management concentration, in 2014, and attained the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential in 2018. He has been selected a 2019 Fellow in the IMPACT Leadership Development Program, a joint venture of the Chicago Urban League and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. This program strives to move the needle toward racial parity in leadership positions by developing and supporting emerging African-American leaders.
“I'm honored and humbled to receive AFP's Outstanding Young Professional Award,” said Lenert. “The Association has played such an integral role in my growth and development as a professional fundraiser. I'm so grateful to so many—particularly in the AFP Chicago community—for their mentorship, friendship, and diligence in strengthening the social impact sector.”
The nomination period for the 2020 Outstanding Young Professionals Award, and other AFP awards, will begin later this Spring. An announcement about AFP’s award process will be distributed in the near future.