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California Fundraiser Dana Patterson Honored as Outstanding Young Professional

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Dana Patterson

(Arlington, Va.) Dana Patterson, director of development for Kidango, Inc., in Fremont, Calif., has been recognized as one of five Outstanding Young Professionals by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The award recognizes fundraisers under the age of 31 who display excellence in raising funds, inspiring donors, managing campaigns and dedication to the charitable sector.

DP“I’m honored the award committee saw something in my work that deserves recognition,” said Patterson. “But, more importantly, the work and recognition are 100% intertwined with the efforts and achievements of my coworkers, boss, and peers. There is not a more prestigious award I could achieve at this point in my career, and it will help me continue on my career path with confidence.”

Patterson has been a professional fundraiser for more than four years, most recently helping to drive success at Kidango, an organization that provides early learning services to children. There, she started as its grants manager overseeing a nearly $50 million budget. In that role, Patterson also secured a $13 million Head Start federal contract to support more than 500 children and families living in poverty in the Bay Area. She also doubled the organization’s foundation revenue within two years. Now under Patterson’s leadership as director of development, Kidango is projected to raise over $2 million in total foundation revenue.

“I’m in awe of and so grateful for Dana, one of our 2022 Outstanding Young Professionals, and her incredible work so early in her career,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “She is setting the bar of excellence and inspiring all of us with new ideas, energy and perspectives. She is helping to lead the evolution of our profession so that we can continue to meet the demands of the ever-changing socio-economic landscape and the needs of the organization we serve.”

Patterson is an active member of the AFP Golden Gate Chapter and an active member of the Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (PPMM) Young Professionals Cohort (YPC), where she supports PPMM in innovative ways to engage new and existing donors. There, she established the Young Professionals monthly giving program with PPMM, which fosters a space to give younger people, who often don't have the financial resources of traditional philanthropists, an opportunity to make a local and sustainable impact.

“I love fundraising for nonprofits because I have the opportunity to help visionaries transform individual lives and enact systemic change,” said Patterson. “With fundraising, I can support from behind the scenes so that experts in various fields, leaders from the communities they represent, and dreamers can have the resources they need to achieve their greatest impact. I firmly believe that I have the potential to foster a stronger fundraising profession, which will lead to more equitable outcomes for those we support.”

Patterson also serves as board treasurer for the Grant Professionals Association Greater Bay Area Chapter and serves on the Grant Professionals Association Publication Committee. Last year, she served as a co-author of the 2021 peer-reviewed Journal of the Grant Professionals Association article, “Ethical Grant Language from a Historical Perspective.”

Patterson will receive her award at AFP ICON 2022, the largest conference of fundraising professional in the world. For more information, contact Michael Nilsen at (425) 241-4674 or


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 nearly 26,000 members raise more than $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, visit

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