Compass: No act of philanthropy is wasted

What do a 92-year-old super volunteer, a downtown restaurant, two teenage girls, and a local airline have in common?

They are all champions of philanthropy. Jean Kaufman, Snow City Café, Sarah Mixsell and Brooke McPheters, and Era Alaska are members of a distinguished group to be honored for working with nonprofits to make Alaska--and the world--a better place at this year's Philanthropy Day celebration. They'll be joined by fellow honorees Eric McCallum and Robin Smith, Joseph E. Usibelli and Peggy Shumaker, and Joanne Phillips-Nutter.

National Philanthropy Day® is observed in more than 100 communities and by more than 50,000 people worldwide each November. It is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy--and those active in the philanthropic community--have made to our lives, our communities and our world.

The event is formally supported by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), an association of more than 30,000 individual members in over 200 chapters generating support for charitable organizations throughout the world. AFP Alaska Chapter boasts more than 120 professional fundraisers who are the link between generous donors and the causes that inspire them. Alaska Philanthropy Day is presented by the AFP Alaska Chapter and includes an awards luncheon and full-day professional development conference attended by individuals from across the state.

Our local awardees represent a wonderful diversity of interests. The causes and organizations they support through their gifts of "time, talent and treasure" span healthcare, education, the arts, environmental conservation, social services, economic development and more. Because of their interests--and their investments--our communities are stronger. Alaska Philanthropy Day celebrates these individuals and their incredible impact.

An impact that is part of something much bigger. Despite recent economic downturns, philanthropy continues to grow globally. The U.S. enjoys more than $300 billion in charitable giving annually--with an additional 16 billion hours given through volunteerism. AFP's nearly 30,000 fundraising members work with individuals, small businesses, corporations, foundations, volunteers and more to raise one third of that--over $100 billion annually.

What we see as one teenager turning her birthday into a fundraiser or one volunteer giving six days of her week to organizations she loves, are actually threads of a much larger tapestry. A tapestry woven by millions of caring and concerned men and women of all ages giving what they have to create the communities of their dreams.

It's something to celebrate and this November is the perfect time to do just that. Philanthropy Day is Thursday, November 7 in Anchorage and you can find out more about the event and the award recipients at

Please join us in celebrating these Alaska individuals and companies who are "changing the world with a giving heart."

Beth Johnson is president of the Alaska chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.