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Alford Group Mentoring and Leadership Development Program 2021 Participants Announced

(Arlington, Va.) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has announced the participants—11 mentors and 11 mentees—for its 2021 Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA): Alford Group Mentoring and Leadership Development Program.

Women represent more than 70% of the profession but only hold roughly 30% of senior-level fundraising positions. The Alford Group Mentoring and Leadership Development Program works to address this gap by providing guidance, education and leadership development opportunities to talented and exceptional women in the profession who have a desire to secure senior-level positions.

“Through The Alford Group Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Development Program, we are preparing future generations of fundraising professionals to lead the charitable sector and create a supportive, inclusive, diverse and equitable sector for all,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “This program is part of our larger commitment to ensure that all fundraisers, no matter their gender, race or any other characteristic, can find success—however they define it—in the profession and throughout their career. I am so pleased to be partnering with The Alford Group, who have long been champions of our IDEA program, in launching our new cohort of mentors and mentees and working with us to create a profession built upon our IDEA principles.”

The Alford Group Mentoring and Leadership Development Program was created in 2019 as part of AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative, which is addressing women’s equity issues in the profession. This year, 22 mentors and mentees are participating, working together to form meaningful, lasting mentor-mentee relationships to guide and help each other grow and succeed.

“The Women’s Mentor Program provides mentoring, coaching and sponsorship—all designed to go beyond just building the pipeline of diverse talent,” said Brenda Asare, president and CEO of The Alford Group. “Through The Alford Group’s partnership with AFP, we are preparing the next generation of talented women and fundraisers of color to lead our sector into a more dynamic and vibrant future. The time is now for the sector to embrace and to commit itself to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging if it hopes to attract and retain to receive these game-changing leaders.”

This year’s mentors include:

  • Rea Ganesh
  • Tanya Rumble, CFRE
  • Christal Cherry, MA
  • Ligia Peña, CFRE, MInstF
  • Martha H. Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MInstF
  • Maribeth Canning
  • Julie Weagraff, MNO, CFRE
  • Danielle Wilberg
  • Beth Ann Locke
  • Sonya Swiridjuk, CFRE
  • Laurie Ballard

This year’s mentees include:

  • Kelly Phipps, CFRE
  • Serena Dallas
  • Beyonka Fulton
  • Caroline Olin
  • Imoleayo Adeyeri
  • Alexis Major
  • Clara Chiu
  • Sophie Granville
  • Clara Bergan
  • Kayla Sullivan, MPA
  • Angela Lopez

All program participants receive benefits that include AFP ICON and AFP LEAD registration; a waived Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) initial certification fee, if the CFRE exam is taken within two years of graduation; and a leadership education program curated to their interests and development areas.

More information about WII and the Alford Group Mentoring and Leadership Development Program can be found by visiting

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has been the standard-bearer for professionalism in fundraising. The association works to advance effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s 26,000 members in more than 240 chapters raise over $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, go to

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