abbieAFP honored its 2018 class of Distinguished Fellows this week in New Orleans. Among them was APC member Abbie von Schlegell, CFRE.

The Distinguished Fellows program and Honorary Fellows program (for those who are not members of AFP) spotlights individuals who have made significant leadership contributions to the philanthropic and fundraising professions, and who will continue to advance AFP’s mission and vision through their volunteer and advisory work.

“Our Distinguished Fellows this year represent the best of the fundraising profession,” said Mike Geiger, president and CEO of AFP. “Not only are they extraordinary practitioners who have raised incredible sums of money for their organizations, but they have given back so much to the fundraising community. We wanted a program that properly recognized outstanding leaders in the profession, and I can’t think of anyone more worthy of being a Distinguished Fellow than Ken, Jim and Abbie. They have given so much to the profession, and all of us at AFP look forward to working with them in the years to come.”

Any AFP member with fifteen years in the profession is eligible for nomination as a Distinguished Fellow. For the Honorary Fellow, a minimum of fifteen years in nonprofit leadership is required. Nominations were required to address professional recognition, employment history, publications and speaking history, AFP memberships, honor and activity, and a concise description of why he or she should be selected a Fellow.

With more than 40 years of experience in the development field, von Schlegell  has served as a consultant with several national firms for half of her career, and then and as a senior development officer with four institutions. She has held key development positions at Stanford University, The University of Chicago, The Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C., and Enterprise Community Partners in Columbia, Md. In 2007, she returned to consulting and established her own firm in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. She is also currently a Certified Governance Trainer with BoardSource, in addition to her own work with clients. She very much enjoys her board service on nonprofit boards, currently Tapestry Health in Massachusetts and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires. She often provides pro bono consulting to others with “Buy me a latte and let’s get together!” sessions.

A champion of women in philanthropy, von Schlegell was the editor of the first book on the subject, the best-selling handbook Women as Donors, Women as Philanthropists, published by Jossey Bass in 1993. She has spoken widely about the issue, written many articles and continued research in the field, serving on numerous panels and committees to explore how women give and engage with philanthropy.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as a 2018 AFP Distinguished Fellow,” said von Schlegell. “I first became aware of AFP—then NSFRE—more than ten years after I became a development officer -- in 1980 and soon got involved in the Chicago Chapter I earned my CFRE in 1987, so now it has been more than 30 years! Many AFP colleagues have been wonderful mentors and long-time friends. The professional education I have received from the many AFP conferences is outstanding, and I treasure the relationships that have developed.”