President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message: AFP Global Apology and Next Steps

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA): Diversity and Inclusion (IDEA)
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I want to take this week’s Mike's Monday Message to restate the AFP Global apology for the harm done to Nneka Allen, Mide Akerewusi, Múthoní Karíukí and our Black AFP Community. This is the apology that I spoke live from the main stage at the opening of AFP Global’s annual 2023 international fundraising conference, AFP ICON, on Sunday, April 16, 2023. In recognition that an apology is owed, and that the entire AFP Greater Toronto Chapter board has resigned, the responsibility to acknowledge and apologize to Nneka, Mide and Múthoní moves to me on behalf of AFP Global. 

While today I have a fuller understanding of why this apology is necessary, my words, feelings, and message of two months ago remain true.

We believe there is much more work to do, especially as it relates to creating safer spaces for Black fundraisers within AFP. Beginning with a review of our Code of Ethics, Member Fair Behavior Policy, and the Donor Bill of Rights we have begun to review and revise these policies to create greater Global oversight of chapter behavior and develop a formal complaints process to prevent future harm.

Below is the apology I offered then, and I offer it again today in the spirit of repair:

Work towards inclusion, diversity, equity, and access at AFP Global is important. And although we have made some good steps forward, we acknowledge that there is more work to do. We recognize that we will not always get it right, but we will make our best effort to stand against oppression and injustice in the AFP community. 

We encourage our chapters and members to continue to engage with us and each other in this important work in that spirit of accountability. 

We apologize for the harm done thus far, specifically to those involved in our work around a bill of rights for fundraisers and to those chapter board members who suffered systemic anti-Black racism. 

In
Us and Them: What It Really Means to Belong, Nneka Allen shares a quote from Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, “A sincere apology does not seek to erase what was done. No amount of words can undo past wrongs. Nothing can ever reverse injustices committed against others. But an apology pronounced in the context of horrible acts has the potential for transformation.” 

AFP is committed to systemic change and transformation at the global and chapter levels in order to nurture a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community of fundraisers. 

I am grateful that we collectively have the gift of learning that will guide us forward and reaffirm our role to be an ally in the continuation of change and transformation. 

Thank you for your attention. 

In a recent Mike’s Monday Message, I made the commitment to update the AFP Community on the steps AFP Global is taking as we continue our work towards a more inclusive and welcoming fundraising association for all of our members.  Staying true to that commitment, here is the latest update:

This past Thursday, June 22, AFP Global Board Chair Birgit Smith Burton convened a special meeting of the AFP Global Board to consider two important decisions regarding the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter.  

After investing considerable time discussing and expressing their unwavering support for change, the AFP Global Board voted unanimously to rescind the Greater Toronto Chapter’s Ten Star award. 

Included in this unanimous vote was the AFP Global Board’s decision to rescind the Greater Toronto Chapter’s IDEA Champion designation - this designation is solely focused on AFP chapters’ commitment to the AFP Global IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) pillar - one of the four pillars of the AFP Global strategic plan.

There is much more work to be done and, as I shared previously, I will continue to update our AFP Community in this weekly message on our actions.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. You can reach me via email at Mike.Geiger@afpglobal.org or on Twitter at @AFPMikeGeiger

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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