Birgit Smith Burton
Birgit is the Executive Director of AADO, the African American Development Officers Network, which she founded at Georgia Tech in 1998 to provide professional development, education, employment support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for African American fundraisers. She is a well-regarded speaker on the topics of fundraising and diversity and has authored articles on diversity in the fundraising profession, co-authored the book, The Philanthropic Covenant with Black America, and contributed to the book Five Minutes for Fundraising, A Collection of Expert Advice. Birgit is honored to tell her personal story in the book Collecting Courage, which shares the lived experiences of Black women and men working in the nonprofit and charitable space (published fall 2020). During her 25-year career at Georgia Tech, Birgit was selected to participate in the first cohort of Leading Women @ Tech and chosen as one of the 2020 Faces of Inclusive Excellence, which recognized faculty, staff, and students committed to gender diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Birgit serves on the global board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and recently was voted as the Chair-Elect for 2021. She has the distinction of being the first African American woman in AFP’s 60-year history to serve in this role. Birgit received the Opportunity and Inclusion Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education which recognized her leadership in fostering inclusion and diversity within the fundraising profession. In 2020 the R.I.S.E. Fund was established in Birgit’s honor with a mission to advance women of color in fundraising by providing Resources, Inspiration, Support, and Education.
Birgit chairs the A.E. Lowe Grice Scholarship Fund, serves on the advisory board for Hosea Helps, chairs the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation, and advises the Aspen Leadership Group. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Birgit earned a bachelor's degree in media communications from Medaille College in Buffalo, New York and serves on its board of Trustees.