AFP News

Telling the Stories of Black, Canadian Women Fundraisers

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA): Diversity and Inclusion (IDEA)
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(Arlington, Va.) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is proud to publish Our Right to Heal, a series of powerful personal stories about the experiences of black women fundraisers in Canada.

Our Right to Heal was the creation of Nneka Allen, an AFP member of the Toronto Chapter, who brought together a group of women at various points in their fundraising careers to share both their professional and personal experiences and gain strength and understanding through those connections. She asked them each to share, in whatever way they liked, their authentic stories about what the theme of Our Right to Heal meant to them.

“There are many common issues and connections throughout the stories, but they also unveil our individual experiences,” said Allen, who is principal and founder of The Empathy Agency in London, Ontario. The stories detail not only the injustice and inequity that we face daily, but also the depth of our individual and collective courage.”

The story tellers in Our Right to Heal include:

  • Nneka Allen, CFRE
  • Jennifer Bernard, CFRE
  • Fatou Jammeh
  • Muthoni Kariuki, CFRE, MPNL
  • Camila Vital Nunes Pereira, Ph.D
  • Kasharna Pusey
  • Nicole Salmon
  • Fatou Seck
  • Marva Wisdom, M.A.
  • Anonymous

The power of this project is in the stories of these women who often go unseen and unheard, and in not knowing their stories, they are made invisible,” continued Allen. And while many were written months ago, they are even more powerful during this time of uncertainty. The trials and challenges that we face remain, and the understanding of our realities is even more critical now in this environment.”

The project also includes the oral art of spoken word inspiring thought about the differences between inclusion and belonging, created by Teajai Travis, a poet, educator and African drummer. The presentation is a poetic expression of the collective experiences of this group of Black fundraisers.

“The incredible group of stories from this amazing group of women will take your breath away,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. A reader cannot help but feel anger and despair, but also triumph and joy, from what these women face every day. These stories can be difficult to read, but you cannot turn away. As a professional community for all fundraisers, this is the type of project AFP has to publish if we are going to lead the way in inclusion, diversity, equity and access. I want to thank Nneka and everyone in her group for being so open and vulnerable in sharing their stories so all can learn.”

"What a powerful storytelling program, and one that is at the heart of our essential IDEA—Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access—work,” said Martha Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MinstF, chair of AFP. “This program also means a lot to me personally, as my niece Zoe was adopted from Guatemala 18 years ago. Her story as a woman of color growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in America is one of courage, hope, promise, and ultimately, perseverance. The stories of Fatou, Camila, Nneka, Nicole, Kasharna and so many others represent a critically important space for black women fundraisers in Canada as we evolve AFP into an organization where everyone is represented and welcomed."

The project can be found on the AFP website at For more information, contact Michael Nilsen at

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