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National Philanthropy Day: A celebration of philanthropy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

By: Bradley Richardson, AFP-GPC VP of External Affairs

The fundraisers and philanthropists in the Greater Philadelphia region hold November’s National Philanthropy Day in a prominent place on their calendar. Rarely can we pause our work furthering incredible missions, causes, and needs in our community to celebrate the generosity and hard work of others.

For many in the region, our Awards Breakfast at the Bellevue Hotel is the first introduction to the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Greater Philadelphia Chapter (AFP-GPC). This gives us the opportunity to share our goal of being the organization others turn to for answers in fundraising, in Philadelphia and beyond.

This year will be the 35th celebration of National Philanthropy Day for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. We started 2020 making plans for another breakfast with wonderful award nominees of organizations, philanthropists, and fundraisers as before. Yet, as with each of our organizations, since March 12th we’ve seen the world turn upside down because of COVID-19. For many of us, our fundraising goals became a precarious uphill climb. Events were cancelled. Programs and services were suspended. Staff had to pivot and adapt—both words we all want removed from our vocabulary after this year!

AFP-GPC was no exception. We transitioned all of our educational programming online to ensure that we were reaching our members at home, providing the analysis, professional development, and support needed in a time of crisis. As spring led into summer, our creative thinking and adaptive programming prompted us to think how to memorialize this year and share the significant stories of our sector with our members and philanthropic community.

It is for this reason that the 35th National Philanthropy Day Awards Celebration will be recognizing five organizations that have made a significant impact in the city of Philadelphia through their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each of our organizations fit within a sector of our nonprofit community. They span the Arts, Social Services, and Healthcare and capture the philanthropic landscape that has provided the necessary resources to ensure that the unique missions of our various Philadelphia nonprofits remain intact despite COVID-19:

We’re thankful to highlight the work of the Philadelphia Orchestra serving as a beacon of hope, promise, and joy through music.

We are excited to tell the story of the PHL COVID-19 Fund, facilitated by the Philadelphia Foundation, that stepped into a newfound role of disaster relief in a region unaccustomed to this need.

We want to share how the Satell Institute facilitated the fundraising efforts to ensure their nonprofit affiliates were supported and prepared for the coming months after March 12th.

We want you to hear about the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, the only rescue mission that provides a meal to those in needs 365 days out of the year—and continued to do so in the midst of the pandemic.

We hope you will see how the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium saw a significant need in the Black communities of our city and now to provide free COVID-19 testing to the most vulnerable neighborhoods in our city.

AFP-GPC cannot wait to celebrate these organizations on Friday, November 13, 2020. Their resiliency, ingenuity, creativity, and proactive behavior has helped the nonprofit sector to weather the initial storms of the COVID-19 pandemic. And we want you to be a part of this celebration!

First, we hope that you will register for this event and invite others to join us. Not only will you hear these inspiring stories from the organizations themselves, but you will also be supporting the continued educational work of our chapter. You can sign up for the 35th National Philanthropy Day by following this link.

Second, we hope that you will join us before the ceremony for our virtual networking event. We know the opportunity to reconnect, share stories, and celebrate our own successes is a highlight each year of our National Philanthropy Day gathering. In the midst of a pandemic, knowing that we are part of a broader community of fundraisers matters more than ever.

Finally, you can still get involved for National Philanthropy Day. There remain sponsorship opportunities to say, “Thank you!” to these organizations in a special way. You can also volunteer for National Philanthropy Day, as well as many other committees needs at AFP-GPC. You can contact [email protected] with any inquiries.

In the midst of the trials of this pandemic, I am confident we will rise above the challenges and serve our community, moving Philadelphia toward greater and great things. I look forward to celebrating this hopeful vision of the future with each of you on November 13th!

This blog post was featured in the AFP-GPC October “Philanthropically Speaking” Newsletter.

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