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California Teen Lizzie Allison Honored With International Youth Award

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Lizzie Allison

(Arlington, Va.) Lizzie Allison, a 17-year old young woman who has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help foster kids celebrate birthdays, has received the 2019 CARTER Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Individual, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The CARTER Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy honors a young person with a proven record of exceptional generosity who demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose philanthropy encourages others to engage on a community, national, and/or international level. The award will be presented at AFP’s International Conference on Fundraising—the largest gathering of charitable fundraisers in the world—on Tuesday, April 2, in San Antonio, Texas.

Lizzie was inspired to help foster kids after being in the musical, Annie. When she couldn’t find a service project where a young kid could help, she did her own research and found that foster kids rarely get to celebrate birthdays. She decided to create a birthday box: a box filled with everything needed to throw a birthday party, including plates, napkins, plasticware, decorations, handmade cards, cake and frosting.

Lizzie launched her own nonprofit, Team Celebrate, at age 15 with the initial first-year goal of celebrating 100 foster kids in her community of Sacramento, California. Almost two years later, she and her volunteer team of over 3,000 volunteers have already celebrated more than 1,000 foster kids. She has averaged 20 hours a week working on her nonprofit: designing, coding and maintaining a website; building relationships with foster care agencies; fundraising and meeting with corporate partners; and recruiting volunteers—along with making and delivering lots and lots of birthday boxes!

Lizzie is very honored to be receiving this prestigious award. “I am thrilled to be recognized for my work and I am even more excited to share Team Celebrate’s mission with a group of philanthropy professionals who in their own right are changing the world,” said Lizzie.

Team Celebrate, led by Lizzie, has raised over $80,000 from individual donors to help make and ship birthday boxes. The charity has also received grants and other support from corporations such as Sam’s Club, Allstate, Intel, Mattress Firm and Morgan Stanley. Lizzie recently partnered with Dale Carlsen, the founder of Mattress Firm and the CEO of Ticket to Dream Foundation, to create a system that allows young people all over the country to celebrate foster kids by making birthday boxes.

Through her charity, Lizzie has inspired so many other young people to get involved. She has recruited six teen girls to serve on Team Celebrate’s board, and more than 3,000 people, most of them youth, have volunteered to support the cause. Lizzie is currently working on a national partnership with the Girl Scouts of America to allow Girl Scout troops in all 50 states to pack birthday boxes.

“Lizzie’s work is so inspirational, and not only for the impact she has made for foster kids, but also in encouraging other young people to get involved,” said Bob Carter, CFRE, chairman of Carter, a consulting firm that sponsors the award and helps nonprofits across the globe maximize their philanthropic potential. “Think of the thousands of youth who can see what Lizzie has done and imagine themselves doing something similar. Her impact and charitable legacy, which is just getting started, will continue on for a very long time.”

Lizzie’s current goal is to have Team Celebrate reach .01% of the foster kid population and celebrate the birthdays of 4,000 foster kids in every state in America. In addition, she is focusing on opportunities to empower youth to change the world by speaking to schools, publishing a book and using her social media platform to let kids know that they don’t have to wait to be older if they want to take action and get involved in charity and philanthropy.

“What I love about Lizzie’s story is how proactive she was in identifying a cause important to herself and taking the steps to make her own ideas happen, all at such a young age,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “That’s the very essence of philanthropy and generosity—seeing where the need is and taking action to help. I am just in awe of her amazing efforts, and all of us at AFP are so honored to be able to recognize her with our CARTER youth award.”

More information about Lizzie Allison, along with the AFP International Conference on Fundraising, can be obtained by contacting Michael Nilsen at (425) 241 – 4675 or

Carter is a consulting firm dedicated to advancing philanthropy worldwide through counsel in the areas of fundraising, organizational planning and governance. With 27 senior-level consultants living throughout the United States and Mexico, the Carter team has over 300 years of combined experience in the arts, conservation, healthcare, education, human services, humanitarian aid and international sectors. Carter’s depth of experience allows each consulting team to be strategically selected based on the unique needs of its nonprofit partners. Carter consultants have assisted hundreds of organizations of all sizes, ranging from regional nonprofit agencies and national associations to institutions of higher education and international causes. For more information visit

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