Friday, December 21, 2012

Jimmie Alford

We’ve lost another legend in the field. Jimmie Alford passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 18. He founded the Alford Group 33 years ago and has helped countless charities and fundraising, serving as a mentor, colleague and friend to many of us. For his extraordinary contributions to the charitable sector, AFP awarded him our Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service in 2009. He was just the 12th person to receive the award.

Part of Jimmie’s great legacy is his commitment to diversity and inclusion within the fundraising profession and all of philanthropy. He was one of the first people talking about diversity in fundraising and led by example. Diversity and inclusion have been two of The Alford Group’s core values since the firm was founded. That’s why the firm has been a sponsor of the diversity programs at our International Conference on Fundraising for almost a decade, including our Diversity Art Showcase program, where local schoolchildren create art pieces about what diversity and philanthropy mean to them.

I’ve seen the artwork this year, and the pieces are amazing—you’d never imagine how powerful and moving a tortilla can be. I think Jimmie would be captivated by the kids’ work and how inspiring they can be to our own fundraising efforts. Be sure to view the showcase when you’re in San Diego for our conference.

Diversity and inclusion are no longer buzzwords for the sector. They’re our reality, as the recent U.S. presidential election showed us. Demographics are changing, which means are donors are changing, and we have to be open and willing to engage them—respect them, talk with them and inspire them in ways that are meaningful to them. It’s up to us if we are to going to continue to strengthen and reignite philanthropy around the world.

Jimmie Alford saw these changes happening many years ago, and our profession is the better for his vision. All of us at AFP are proud to continue his incredible work.

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