Toronto Fundraiser Teresa Vasilopoulos Named 2022 Outstanding Professional of the Year
(Arlington, Va.) Teresa Vasilopoulos, EMBA, CFRE, executive director of The WoodGreen Foundation in Toronto, Ontario, has been named the 2022 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Global (AFP).
The Outstanding Fundraising Professional award is the highest honor that AFP bestows upon one of its members, recognizing effective, creative and stimulating fundraising, as well as the practice and promotion of the highest ethical standards and best practices within the industry. Vasilopoulos will receive the award on Tuesday, May 2, at AFP ICON 2022, the largest conference of professional fundraisers in the world, in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed to have been awarded,” said Vasilopoulous. “As fundraising professionals, we are fortunate to be members of AFP and benefit greatly from their education and resources and through their work as advocates for ethical leadership for our industry. However, I feel the true accolades belong to the philanthropists, for the incredible impact they create through their generosity. We as fundraisers have the honour to join them on their journey of giving as they make dreams come true and the impossible, possible."
Vasilopoulos has 25 years of experience as a fundraising executive with a proven track record of performance in planning and executing highly successful, multi-million-dollar campaigns. Her fundraising career has spanned multiple sectors, including health, international development, urban poverty reduction, housing, immigration, employment, senior care, food insecurity and youth mental health. Vasilopoulos has raised close to $200M in support of these local and international priorities during her career.
As executive director of The WoodGreen Foundation, our honoree established a first-of-its-kind board in the social service sector, attracting some of the country’s most prominent leaders and philanthropists and business leaders to help shine a spotlight on urban poverty and housing. She was immediately able to elevate the annual fundraising by over 500% from $800,000 to over $4.5 million annually and completed the organization’s most ambitious fundraising campaign in their 85-year history, raising an unprecedented $20 million.
During her time as president of the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation (Now Michael Garron Hospital), Vasilopoulos, with her board and staff team, successfully completed numerous multi-million-dollar initiatives, including a $60 million campaign. She followed this accomplishment with the facilitation of a transformational gift from Myron and Berna Garron, in honour of their son, Michael, a ground-breaking single gift of $50 million. This leadership investment was a landmark donation, as the largest gift in Canada to a community hospital, at its time.
She was one of the first Canadian fundraisers to accomplish a physician campaign securing 100% participation. She is also well known for developing many unique special events, such as the Laughter is the Best Medicine comedy gala originally headlined by Jerry Seinfeld and emceed by Will Arnett, the event continues to this day and has grossed tens of millions of dollars in support of the Michael Garron Hospital.
“With a remarkable career and personal dedication to the fundraising profession, Teresa Vasilopoulos is AFP’s standout honoree this year,” AFP President and CEO Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, said. “Her body of work and continued commitment to foster the next generation of fundraising professionals creates a legacy that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on everyone and every organization she touches. She’s the epitome of what the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award is all about, and we’re thrilled to recognize her next month at AFP ICON.”
Vasilopoulos is passionate about mentoring and inspiring young people. She has been a mentor to many young women entering the fundraising sector. She has been a vocal advocate on equity for women in leadership and executive roles and has provided support to many individuals who have gone on to become senior executives in the industry.
Vasilopoulos also recently published a children’s book that challenges young readers to think about how they can help the world in What Can You Do with Just One Dollar. Illustrated by Vic Guiza, an award-winning illustrator for top brands including Disney and Marvel Comics, the book highlights that everyone, no matter their socio-economic differences or cultural backgrounds, can share in the pride and confidence that comes from giving. All proceeds of the book go to The WoodGreen Foundation for an ongoing legacy of giving.
Vasilopoulos is also long-time member and leader of and presenter at AFP. She currently serves on the boards of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada and the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter.
For more information about Teresa Vasilopoulos and AFP ICON, please contact Michael Nilsen at (425) 241-4675 or Michael.Nilsen@afpglobal.org.
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 26,000 members raise more than $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, visit afpglobal.org.