National Philanthropy Day recognizes givers

Mike Beard and David Littlewood, outstanding philanthropic business or corporation. Courtesy photo

By Rolando Rodriguez Soto, Reporter

Philanthropy represents the multidimensional forms of giving back to the community. Local businesses and individuals will be recognized for their contributions to the community at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon at 11:30 a.m. today at Ridgewood Country Club.

The Central Texas Association of Fundraising Professionals will host the event. Four awards will be presented during the luncheon, including philanthropist of the year, outstanding professional fundraiser, outstanding volunteer fundraiser and outstanding philanthropic business or corporation.

“[National Philanthropy Day] is designed to recognize the great contributions in all of the different areas of philanthropy,” said Lee Ann Deal, president of the Central Texas chapter of AFP.

The First National Bank of Central Texas will receive the award for outstanding philanthropic business or corporation. J. Michael Beard, chairman and CEO, and David Littlewood, president and chief credit officer, will accept the award. The bank launched Charity Champions to assist nonprofits with leadership development.

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Rabbi Gordon Fuller, outstanding volunteer fundraiser. Courtesy photo.

Rabbi Gordon Fuller will be recognized as outstanding volunteer fundraiser through his involvement in social justice issues. He worked with Caritas of Waco, Avance-Waco, the Waco Jewish Federation, The Jewish Children’s Regional Service and The Good People Fund.

Don Bland, Executive director of the Humane Society of Central Texas, is this year’s outstanding professional fundraiser. Through his work, he created new fundraising opportunities and strengthened the partnership between the Humane Society of Central Texas and the City of Waco Animal Shelter to make Waco a no-kill city and to renovate and rebuild the shelter.

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Paul and Carol McClinton, philanthropists of the year. Courtesy Photo.
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Don Bland, CFRE, Outstanding Professional Fundraiser. Courtesy Photo

Paul and Carol McClinton are this year’s philanthropists of the year for their contributions to the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation at Baylor University and the Baylor Scott & White Cancer Center.

AFP receives nominations early in the year. A committee of people involved with Philanthropy Day celebrations and previously recognized philanthropists choose the year’s recipients.

Deal described the purpose of National Philanthropy Day as twofold. She said it serves as a reminder to understand the difference philanthropy makes so nonprofits can serve the community, and it also reminds the community that anyone can give back.

“It’s a way of thanking those who are helping and inspiring those who aren’t yet involved,” Deal said.

For more information on the individuals and organizations that will be recognized during the Philanthropy Day luncheon, visit the Association of Fundraising Professionals website at