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Jonah Larson Recognized as AFP 2023 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Recipient

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Jonah Larson

CONTACTS:
Natalie Paskoski, Manager of Content, (434) 236 – 5583, Natalie.Paskoski@afpglobal.org

(Arlington, Virginia) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is proud to announce that Jonah Larson, a high school student from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, is the recipient of the 2023 William R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Individual, sponsored by Carter.

The award, sponsored by Carter through the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, honors young people with a proven record of exceptional generosity, who demonstrate outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose philanthropy encourages others to engage on a community, national, and/or international level. Jonah was nominated for the award by the AFP Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter. 

“I was grateful to receive the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award from AFP,” said Larson.  “I was blessed with a talent that brought me notoriety and the ability to help kids in my birthplace receive a better education and quality of life. I discovered early on that giving back was equally important and more rewarding than receiving. Philanthropy doesn’t require a talent or platform, but rather an understanding that each of us can contribute with a giving heart. You can even start with something as simple as a ball of yarn and a hook, as in my case.”

Jonah is an inspiring young philanthropist who has used his creative gift of crochet to raise funds, support the education of youth in his home country of Ethiopia, and capture the hearts of people of all ages around the world who have joined his passionate efforts supporting education, inclusivity, and mental health awareness.

After a local story earned him international fame, he started receiving thousands of orders from around the world. He decided to put his notoriety to good use, creating items for a charity, Roots Ethiopia (based near Madison, Wisconsin), which directly supports the small village where he was born in Ethiopia. 

His first GoFundMe campaign raised $20,000 which was used to build Jonah’s Hands Library in Durame, Ethiopia. He followed this success with campaigns raising funds to build a fully equipped science lab, and a new latrine offering female students a more private, modern facility. Through Jonah’s outstanding fundraising efforts, he has raised more than $52,500 for projects at the Teza Gerba Primary School.

During COVID, Jonah kept busy speaking on behalf of Help Heal Veterans, Hats & Mittens organization, and Soap SACKS (Supporting A Community with Kindness). Jonah has also used his platform to bring attention to the BLM movement. His crocheted BLM blanket garnered millions of views and was recognized in several well-known magazines.

“Jonah’s impressive work shows us all the power of mixing creativity, passion, and determination with a good and gracious heart,” Carter’s co-founder and chairman, Bob Carter, said. “It is our honor to help recognize Jonah’s extraordinary achievements, and we wish him continued success for his communities and beyond.”

Jonah plans to continue to use his crochet skills to benefit others. Roots Ethiopia has 30 schools in their school improvement program, allowing Jonah the opportunity to replicate his success at Teza Gerba School, at other schools in the area. 

“Jonah’s story is a clear example of how fundraising unites our communities to create a huge impact,” AFP president and CEO Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, said. “All of us at AFP are in awe of his work so far, and we’re excited to be able to honor him.”

The award will be presented in New Orleans on April 18 during AFP ICON 2023, the largest gathering of fundraising professionals in the world. 

For more information about Jonah Larson and AFP ICON, please contact Natalie Paskoski at (434)-236-5583 or natalie.paskoski@afpglobal.org.  

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Co-founded by Bob Carter and Steve Higgins in 2011, Carter is a team of 50+ senior-level nonprofit professionals working in the areas of fundraising, governance and organizational planning to advance philanthropy worldwide. 

Each Carter consultant brings decades of executive-level development experience to serve as an extension of an organization’s team, help maximize their potential and better serve their cause. 

Carter has guided hundreds of organizations of all sizes, ranging from regional nonprofit agencies and national associations to international causes, in successfully planning for and implementing significant and transformational campaigns and organizational progress. For more information, visit www.carter.global.


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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 240 chapters raise over $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, go to afpglobal.org

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