CHICAGO, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the largest community of fundraising professionals in the world, is honoring Chicagoan Betty Bergstrom with its Founders' Medallion for her extraordinary contributions to the organization and the fundraising profession.
The AFP Founders' Medallion is presented to members who, through their dedication to the principles of ethical and effective fundraising, honor the legacy of AFP's founders: Harry Rosen, Benjamin Sklar, Abel Hanson and William R. Simms. Recipients must have been members for at least 20 years, served on local chapters and the international level, and worked to foster the development of the profession and the fundraising community throughout their careers.
With a passion for changing lives, Bergstrom, a nonprofit management consultant and former marketing professional, has become one of the city's and country's most dedicated advocates for helping others. She has devoted nearly 35 years to fundraising and philanthropic causes. She will receive the medallion on March 18 during the AFP International Conference on Fundraising and Board Meetings, and is just the 14th person to earn the honor since the association was formed in 1960.
"I am really humbled by this high honor. For me, the reward of seeing a smile on the face of someone who has been touched by a service or program I had a hand in is just priceless," said Bergstrom. "Through fundraising I became passionate about organizations that previously I knew very little about. This has been a thrilling experience for me and knowing that a hard day's work always equals great results for others is very satisfying; it's what keeps me going."
Due to her good health, kind heart, and long family history of community involvement, Bergstrom's passion for philanthropy has allowed her to support many organizations throughout Chicago and in other communities for several decades. After being asked to assist with the opening and development of Chicago's Botanic Garden in 1976, Bergstrom realized she had found her calling. Following her work as the vice president of the Chicago Botanic Garden, she went on to lend her helping hand to other botanic gardens and land trusts across the country, as well as educational and health organizations. She also worked with charities to develop programs to combat domestic violence.
More recently, because of her interest in art and history, Bergstrom worked with a museum of women's history, organizations working on preservation of architectural homes, and a World War II aeronautical site displaying re-built planes and their heritage. She currently serves as the president of the Residents Council for the retirement community she calls home, The Clare at Water Tower.
With more than 20 years of commitment to AFP at both the international and chapter levels, Bergstrom's contributions have helped the organization to continue its rich tradition of service. She was previously recognized with the President's Award from the AFP Chicago chapter, the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award from AFP Arizona, and the Benjamin Franklin Award for achievements throughout her career.
"Betty is one of the great leaders in fundraising and has given so much to the profession and community that she loves so dearly," said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. "I was honored to be able to work with her directly and am even more honored that we can present the Founders' Medallion to her as a token of our great thanks and appreciation for everything she has done for AFP and fundraising."
Bergstrom has a remarkable history of involvement in the communities she has lived in, and her professional and volunteer activities have included:
- Vice President of Chicago Botanic Garden
- Principal of Bergstrom Associates
- Delegate to the State of Illinois Constitutional Convention
- Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois State Historical Library
- Board Member of Presbyterian Historical Society of Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
- Fourth Presbyterian Church
- Fortnightly Club of Chicago
- League of Women's Voters
- Union League Club
- Women in Development Professions
- Planned Giving Roundtable
- President and Director of The Clare's Resident Council
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 213 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to www.afpnet.org.
About The Clare at Water Tower
The Clare is a vibrant continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is home to a diverse group of senior residents who lead very social and active lives and moved to The Clare to experience the variety and rich culture, entertainment and activities that urban living has to offer. Residents are involved in Chicago's many philanthropic and cause related organizations, serve on boards of local business, health, civic and education institutions, as well as participate in various common interest clubs and groups. For more information on The Clare at Water Tower, visit www.theclareatwatertower.com/.
SOURCE Association of Fundraising Professionals