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TN High School Student Earns International Youth Award for Outstanding Fundraising Efforts

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William Cabaniss

Natalie Paskoski, Manager of Content, (434) 236 – 5583,

(Arlington, Virginia) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is proud to announce that William Cabaniss, a high school student from Knoxville, Tennessee, is one of the recipients of the 2024 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. William was nominated for the award by the AFP TN, Great Smoky Mountain Chapter. 

"I am extremely honored to receive the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award from AFP. Hunger and food insecurity have always been key issues that I have felt a personal calling to address, as no one should be hungry,” said Cabaniss. “I am grateful that I have been able to make a difference in this area of need, primarily through the sale of vanilla extract. However, we can all create lasting change through our own unique methods because if we do not, who will?"

Moved by the food insecurity his local community was facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, William began volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. Here he saw the impact the organization was having, and decided he wanted to do more to drive their mission. 

He soon founded Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow, a small, 501(c)3 nonprofit which sells homemade, pure vanilla extract and donates the proceeds to the food bank. Despite having a small budget, through his passion and commitment, William has been able to make a huge difference for the 18 counties that the food bank serves.

So far, he has raised $210,405 for Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, which equates to 631,215 meals for those at risk of hunger. His efforts have also generated an enormous amount of awareness for the food bank, inspiring others in the community to give as well. 

“William has showcased the incredible impact that one person can have on their community when they harness the power of philanthropy, no matter their age, stage or status,” said Bob Carter, CFRE, Chairman of Carter. “We are proud to help honor William and his determined spirit and giving heart.”

“Though his organization, Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow, William has been able to go beyond his individual contributions, to make an exponential impact on behalf of a meaningful cause,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, AFP president and CEO. “All of us at AFP are excited to celebrate his accomplishments so far and look forward to seeing his future in philanthropy.”

The award will be presented in Toronto on April 9 during AFP ICON 2024, the largest gathering of fundraising professionals in the world. 

For more information about this award or AFP ICON, please contact Natalie Paskoski at (434)-236-5583 or 

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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 projects. For more information, visit

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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 26,000 members in over 220 chapters raise over $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, go to 

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