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New York Fundraiser Jonathan Richardson Named Outstanding Young Professional

Leadership and Teams: Boards and Volunteers
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Jonathan Richardson

(Arlington, Va.) Jonathan Richardson, director of development at the Albany Damien Center in Albany, N.Y, has been selected as one of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2019 Outstanding Young Professionals.

The award recognizes fundraisers under the age of 31 who have demonstrated exemplary work in raising funds, inspiring donors, helping manage campaigns and giving back to the profession. Richardson is one of three young fundraisers to receive the award this year.

A fundraiser for seven years, Richardson has helped local organizations raise over $2 million through major gifts, special events, foundation and government grants, and annual giving initiatives. At the Damien Center, he increased charitable giving from individuals by 40 percent, secured new state funding, and almost doubled board member giving and engagement. He is supervising multiple staff members, as well as interns and volunteers, and providing and implementing strategic initiatives to advance the agency’s mission.

Richardson earned his Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration degrees at University at Albany, SUNY, focusing on nonprofit management and social welfare policy. He has completed research projects on the effectiveness of a nonprofit’s board of directors, marketing for human service agencies, and collaborations between local governments and nonprofit organizations. He received his bachelor’s degree in Religion, Linguistics and Gender Studies from the University of Rochester.

“I’ve always been an advocate for equity and am committed to making a positive impact on my community, and AFP has been instrumental for career growth and success,” said Richardson. “I've been a part of the AFP family for eight years now and am honored to receive this award. I look forward to engaging more with AFP both locally and internationally and working towards a world that stimulates philanthropy, advances equity, and creates social good.”

Richardson joined AFP at the onset of his fundraising career, serving as a communications intern for the AFP, New York Genesee Valley Chapter. When he moved to Albany for graduate school, he joined the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter. He has already led numerous successful chapter projects and programs and is now serving as chapter president, making him one of the youngest chapter presidents in AFP history.

Among his many chapter projects, Richardson launched both Young Professional and Small Shop Groups and is planning to implement a Seasoned Professionals Group and a Consultants Networking Group. He collaborates on programming with other local professional associations, including local chapters of the Gift Planning Group, Women in Development, Association of Donor Relations Professionals, Association of Prospect Researchers for Advancement, and Grant Professionals Association. He also helped recruit, hire and onboard the current chapter administrator and continues to be a strong component of local chapter operations. His first major accomplishment as chapter president was leading the board in the creation of its first strategic plan in several years.  

“Jonathan is an equity advocate and changemaker, and his skills for organizational strategy and community engagement make him a great fundraiser,” said Laurie Ballard, owner of LMB Development Consulting in Troy, N.Y., who submitted his nomination. “He is determined to grow not only himself, but also his colleagues, and embodies the true essence of collaboration, bringing professionals together to address local community issues. I don’t know how he does everything he does. Our region and our AFP chapter thrives through his passion.”

Richardson is active in his community and passionate about professional development, community change, and social justice. One of his most notable achievements is the creation of the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Accelerator program, which works to attract rising leaders working at New York Capital Region nonprofits and provide them resources, support and a network to succeed and stay in the sector. He designed the program, secured the funding and launched initiative, in addition to his full-time job and work with AFP.

Richardson is also chair of Mission Accomplished Transition Services, which helps aspiring young professionals prepare for the global economy by providing access to coaching, job training, and professional development. In addition, he serves as the mentorship chair for the Capital District Chapter of the New Leaders Council, the hub for progressive Millennial thought leadership and inspiring progressive change.

“It’s hard to believe that someone so relatively new to the profession is already having such amazing impact in the sector and his community, but Jonathan Richardson is,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “If you have the passion and the drive, you can make a difference, no matter how long you’ve been fundraising, and Jonathan is a great example. I thank him for his efforts already and look forward to hearing about his work for many years to come.”

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

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