On Philanthropy Day, ‘giving’ thanks to a caring community


Members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Indian River chapter, were thrilled to host an in-person luncheon to celebrate honored leaders for their philanthropic contributions at the 16th annual National Philanthropy Day, held at the Quail Valley River Club. Themed “Celebrating the Path Forward,” the event recognized 10 nominees for their selfless support of the community.

“National Philanthropy Day is celebrated every November at AFP chapters all around the globe,” said Shannon McGuire Bowman, AFP president. “It’s a time for us to reflect and really celebrate the philanthropy that’s happening in our communities, in our own backyards.”

Noting that the past 18 months have been filled with uncertainty and doubt, she continued, “through it all, we have not stopped helping each other. That’s really what National Philanthropy is all about, that spirit of the community coming together.”

Guest speaker Shawna Carroll shared her own heart-wrenching story, recalling how local nonprofits impacted her life as a pregnant and homeless young woman who had just gotten out of an abusive relationship. Carroll received support from the Buggy Bunch, which provided food and household goods, counseling from SafeSpace and the Women’s Refuge, and now Habitat for Humanity, which is helping her to become a homeowner.

“Thank you very much for being a part of the community that helps make a difference to people like me,” said Carroll. Through the help and support of all of these programs, I have been able to get where I am today. I went from a hopeless human being to being full of hope for the future.”

“Shawna exemplifies the power of our community and all of the resources that we have to make things like this happen. It’s not a handout. It’s a hand up,” said Elizabeth Thomason, NPD co-chair with Taylor Farnsworth.

Ryan Cobb, nominated by Gifford Youth Achievement Center, is credited with never giving a half effort and always striving to improve the lives of others through his service.

Chief David Currey was nominated by the Substance Awareness Center for leading by example, always committed and professional while demonstrating exemplary volunteerism and leadership.

Nominated by Childcare Resources, retired elementary school principal Susan Donovan devotes her time toward the betterment of early childhood education.

The youngest honoree, Emma Fini, a student at Saint Edward’s School, was nominated by Crossover Mission for her work as a tutor and mentor, as well as helping with fundraising and scholarships.

Shotsi Cain Lajoie, nominated by the Center for Spiritual Care, has inspired colleagues, patrons and the public at large by developing creative initiatives and programs at the center.

The Buggy Bunch nominated Ashley Lombardo for her selfless giving to the organization through financial support and as a mentor, leader and board member.

Brad Lorimier was nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters for his financial gifts, gifts of time, and his understanding that an investment in children can help them develop a sense of worth which translates to positive outcomes.

Bill Munn was nominated by the Boys & Girls Clubs in appreciation for his leadership efforts in expanding the organization with the addition of two state-of-the-art clubhouses and a gymnasium.

Kathy Siegel, nominated by the VNA & Hospice House, has been the lead flower volunteer since 2003, persisting even through the pandemic to collect floral donations and making arrangements from her home for Hospice House.

Treasure Coast Community Health nominated their 75 dedicated Vaccination Volunteers for going above and beyond in helping TCCH administer more than 24,000 COVID-19 vaccines and tests.

For information, visit community.afpglobal.org/afpindianriver.

Photos by Kaila Jones

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