LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Sunday marks National Philanthropy Day. The local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals continues to recognize this month those who go above and beyond when it comes to charitable giving.
In honor of this year's President's Award recipient, AFP Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter President Andrea Pengra shared some thoughts.
Dustin Luecke: Each year during the ceremony, the organization's president presents the aptly named President's Award. Can you tell us what makes this distinction special?
Andrea Pengra: The President's Award is really just about recognizing leadership in the community for an organization, it could be a person, that really is exemplifying the spirit of philanthropy in the community. So, sometimes when we get so many nominations, sometimes they don't check a box in some of the categories we have so each year the president is given the honor to pick someone who they think is deserving of recognition that really shows the spirit of philanthropy.
DL: This year's winner is the Beer By Bike Brigade, a group of a number of volunteers who do a lot of behind the scenes work in La Crosse. Can you tell us what about this group stands out to you?
AP: Throughout the year they are having events, whether it's their Chili Slam. One of the things that really jumps out is their League of the Ridiculous, which is a “Production by Beer By Bike Brigade” as they call it. Really it is a collective of people who want to do good. They meet quarterly. You make a small money gift, but when they put it together they have amazing results. The members are able to nominate three different causes and then there is a vote. I know one of the organizations received a check of $12,000. So, it really is about each person giving a little with extraordinary results.
DL: The AFP recognizes philanthropic work through these awards, but what else does the group do to support fundraising and giving throughout the year?
AP: Really, we're designed to support fundraisers, volunteers, nonprofit boards in the community. So, we're a great resource on the nuts and bolts of philanthropy. Not only understanding why people give back but teaching the professional fundraisers, boards the mechanics of it, the ethical way...It's just a great opportunity for us to get together, especially when COVID hit. It was a great place for us to come together and say, 'Okay how do we do this? What's next? How do we help?' So, it was a really essential place for a lot of the professional nonprofit leaders to assemble and have a talk about what comes next.
Since 1982, the AFP local chapter has covered parts of the region with membership mostly in La Crosse, Winona and Decorah, Iowa.