AFP News

Birgit Smith Burton, Executive Director, African American Development Officers Network, to Lead Board of Largest Community of Charitable Fundraisers in the World

Birgit Smith Burton

Natalie Paskoski, Manager of Content, (434) 236 – 5583,

(Arlington, Virginia) Birgit Smith Burton will serve in 2023 and 2024 as the chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Global, the largest organization of charitable fundraisers in the world. Burton will succeed Kevin J. Foyle, MBA, CFRE, who served as global board chair for 2021 and 2022 and will now serve as immediate past chair.

“I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to lead the work of the AFP Global,” said Burton. “In my role, I recognize the honor and privilege of representing the voices of many, and I take my responsibility seriously. I want to ensure members and nonmembers feel welcomed to share their thoughts and ideas.”

Birgit has served on the global board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for nearly a decade and has the distinction of being the first African American woman in AFP’s 62-year history to be voted chair of the AFP Global Board. 

Birgit’s long-standing contributions and involvement in AFP, and the wealth of experience and vision she brings to the board, make her an invaluable asset to our leadership team to help navigate AFP through a pivotal time for fundraising professionals everywhere,” said AFP President and CEO Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA. “I’m excited to work with this year’s board and the opportunities we have in the year ahead to advance our organization and bring world class programming and resources to support our diverse member community around the world.”

Birgit is the executive director of AADO, the African American Development Officers Network, which she founded at Georgia Tech to provide professional development, education, employment support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for fundraisers of color.

During her 25-year career at Georgia Tech she led her team in raising over $500M from private philanthropic foundations to support programs, scholarships, and capital projects.  

"AFP has been on a 62-year journey of serving the fundraising profession through its members.  During my brief time as chair I have so many things, I want to help the association accomplish, and I can do this by putting energy towards the work that AFP has been doing and will continue to do during my term,” said Burton. “A few of those big opportunities include AFPs IDEA work (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access).  We’ve made great strides in this area since beginning this work in the 1980s, but especially over the past few years. We still have a long way to go and will continue to integrate IDEA principles into everything we do.”

Birgit received the Opportunity and Inclusion Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education which recognized her leadership in fostering inclusion and diversity within the fundraising profession. In 2020 the R.I.S.E. Fund was established in Birgit’s honor with a mission to advance women of color in fundraising by providing Resources, Inspiration, Support, and Education.

Birgit chairs the A.E. Lowe Grice Scholarship Fund (established in memory of her grandmother), serves on the advisory council for Somos El Poder (A National Latinx Fundraising Institute), chairs the board of the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation, and is on the advisory committee for Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy (WOC). She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and holds a bachelor's degree in media communications from Medaille University in Buffalo, New York and serves on its board of Trustees.

2023 Board of Directors
Burton and the rest of the 2023 AFP Board of Directors were recently approved by a vote of AFP members. 

The officers for 2023 include:

  • Birgit Smith Burton: Chair
  • Roger Ali, MBA, C. Dir., CFRE: Chair-Elect
  • Kevin J. Foyle, MBA, CFRE: Immediate Past Chair
  • Lori Hunter Overmyer, MBA, CFRE: Treasurer
  • Marco A. Corona: Secretary

At-Large Directors include:

  • Adrienne Longenecker, CFRE: Vice Chair, Membership Engagement
  • Cherian Koshy, CFRE: Vice Chair, Professional Development
  • Michelle Edgerton, MA: Vice Chair, External Relations

The board is also composed of the following At-Large Members:

  • Adrienne Taylor, MBA, CFRE
  • Audrey M. Johnson, CFRE: Chapter Presidents' Council Representative
  • Benjamin Mohler, MA, CFRE, ACFRE
  • Dzenan Berberovic, MA, CFRE
  • Jonathan Meagher-Zayas, MSW, MPA, CFRE
  • Juliana Weissbein, CFRE
  • Kathy Rabon, CFRE, CFRM
  • Ken Miller, CFRE
  • Michelle Flores Vryn, MA
  • Perihan Abou El Ela, MA
  • Tycely Williams, CFRE

In addition, the following are ex-officio members of the AFP Association Board:

  • Jennifer Johnstone: Chair, AFP Canada Board
  • Missy Ryan Penland, MPA: Chair, AFP Foundation for Philanthropy - US Board
  • Vincent Duckworth BSc, CFRE: Chair, AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada Board
  • Carlos Madrid Varela: AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Mexico Representative
  • Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA: AFP President and CEO  

** *  

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 more than 27,000 members in over 190 professional chapters raise over $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, go to 

Want The Latest AFP & Fundraising News Delivered To Your Inbox?Sign Up Now!

Recommended for You

Members: Sign in to view your personalized recommendations!

Sign in