Michelle Sherbun, PCC, ELI-MP
2017 President's Award Recipient 

AFP Chicago is proud to present the 2017 President’s Award to Michelle Sherbun, PCC, ELI-MP. The President’s Award honors individuals who have demonstrated high ethical standards and outstanding leadership and service to AFP Chicago, and exemplify the philanthropic spirit of our great city. 

Michelle Sherbun’s service and leadership to the chapter and the fundraising profession have been extraordinary and inspiring. Her energy, ideas, and commitment to AFP’s ideals have elevated the value, stance, and reputation of the AFP Chicago Chapter.

Michelle is based in Chicagoland as the President of Merlin Solutions, LLC/ Leadership Design Alliance, LLC. In addition to her years as an independent consultant, she has held positions at John C. Pruehs & Associates, Riley Memorial Association, The National Gymnastics Foundation, and the YWCA of Greater Indianapolis. She is Past President of AFP Chicago, former Co-chair of the AFP Chicago Fellows Program, a member of the Association of Philanthropic Counsel and Chair of the 2018 Winter Forum, a member of Chicago Women in Philanthropy, the International Coach Federation, and the Community Memorial Foundation Capacity Building Initiative Advisory Board. In 2016, Michelle was the recipient of the AFP Chicago Benjamin Franklin Award.

Michelle’s skills, experience, sensitivity, dedication, warmth, and humor have made her the Chicago Chapter’s “go to” volunteer, constantly recruited to serve in the most pivotal roles. As Marilyn Foster Kirk, Executive Vice President of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, LLC said, “she is a doer, accepting many tasks and responsibilities and fulfilling her commitments to the fullest.”

While she has served on many committees and in almost every leadership position, there is one area where her services have been invaluable – strategic planning. “For many years, the Chapter relied on Michelle to help identify and focus its efforts and resources on the need of the fundraising/philanthropic community, and the strengths and opportunities to meet those needs” said Alex Pope, CFRE, Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Rush-Copley Medical Center. Her experience as a consultant has consistently allowed her to bring AFP a highly valued technical knowledge; however her truly distinguishable strengths are her people skills and her ability to bring out the best in the individuals in any work group. Through challenging times, Michelle coached the Chapter through an intelligent and precise strategic program decision making process. As Doug Diefenbach, Principal of Diefenbach Communication Strategies said, “she is adept at creating an environment in which people want to serve and contribute – to listen a little harder, to understand a little better, to offer a little more. Michelle is a rare gateway leader.”

Diefenbach also said, "Michelle more than simply has left the AFP Chicago Chapter stronger through her service, she has also brought something intangible through her personality: there are many members and volunteers who have come in touch with her magnetism, dedication and class and consequently have seen AFP Chicago as the kind of organization where they wanted to be involved too. Her culture-strengthening impact is as invaluable as it is rare, and it continues to pay dividends as Michelle’s legacy."

AFP Chicago is grateful to Michelle Sherbun for her incredible dedication, service, and leadership and we are honored to present her with the 2017 President’s Award. Michelle will receive the President's Award during our December 1st Annual Meeting


 

Grant Gilbert, CFRE
2016 President's Award Recipient

Grant Gilbert embodies the values, professionalism, and spirit of service that AFP members aspire to achieve. He is a stellar leader for AFP Chicago and is dedicated to advancing the development profession.

Grant is based in Chicago as the Senior Director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Central Region.. He has held previous nonprofit fundraising positions with the Morton Arboretum, CARE, Urban Gateways, the Ravinia Festival Association and Lions Clubs International Foundation. 

Grant served on the Board of Directors of AFP Chicago for eight years. Six of those years, he served on the Executive Committee in the capacities of SVP of Education, SVP of Ethics and Emerging Initiatives, President-Elect, President, and Past President. Grant chaired the Committee of Directorship in 2014 and currently serves on that committee. He also chaired and served on numerous committees and task forces throughout his tenure, including serving on two AFP International Committees, Ethics and Strategic Planning.

Grant’s visionary leadership in the important area of ethical fundraising has had a major impact at a local and national level. He played a pivotal role in creating, with AFP Chicago former board member Ruth Hansen, the annual Ethics in Philanthropy Roundtable. This program became a model for AFP International Headquarters and has been replicated at Leadership Academy and at other Chapters throughout the country. He and Ruth also co-authored an article in the October 2013 issue of Advancing Philanthropy titled Developing Ethics Programming at the Chapter Level, raising the profile of ethics and the Chicago Chapter.

Apart from his work with AFP, Grant is past chairman of his village’s Natural Resource Commission. He holds a BA in history from Loyola University Chicago, an MS in international relations from the London School of Economics and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).  

Those who know Grant can attest that his personal leadership style is thoughtful, inclusive, and forward-thinking. He is dedicated to moving the Chapter toward greater and more meaningful service to AFP members and value to the philanthropic community. Always willing to tackle the tough jobs, Grant handles them with sensitivity, humor, and a commitment to advancing AFP’s mission.


 

Alexander F. Pope, CFRE
2013 President’s Award Recipient
 

Alexander (Alex) Pope serves as Chief Development Officer for Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois. Prior to Rush-Copley, he served for eight years as executive development officer, operations at Advocate Charitable Foundation, the fundraising arm of Advocate Health Care.

Alex has been a development officer for more than 20 years. His professional career has allowed him to gain a fairly equitable balance between major gift work (individual and corporate) and other foundation/fundraising operations, including volunteer board management, direct marketing, workforce giving, special events, planned giving and advancement services. He has a long and strong track record of success not only as a fundraiser, but also as a manager and leader. The majority of this experience/success is within “hub-and-spoke” systems and national associations/organizations including the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Earthwatch Institute, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Alex has served on the AFP Chicago Board of Directors since 2007, including as president in 2010. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors for the Community Media Workshop and he’s quickly gaining recognition as an accomplished educator/speaker on
fundraising and volunteer leadership.

Alex is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. He resides in Naperville, Illinois with his wife Carla, their two sons Nicholas and Logan and daughters, Madison and Dylan.

The President's Award will be presented to Alex at the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy on Tuesday, October 8. Click here to join us for the Conference —the midwest's premier learning event for fundraising professionals. 

 
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