Toronto, Ont. - Today, Teresa Vasilopoulos, Executive Director of The WoodGreen Foundation, will receive the 2022 Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Global (AFP). The award is the highest honour that AFP bestows upon one of its members, recognizing effective, creative, and stimulating fundraising, as well as the practice and promotion of the highest ethical standards and best practices within the industry.
Vasilopoulos is a Toronto-based fundraising executive with a 25-year track record of leading highly successful multi-million-dollar campaigns. Her fundraising career has spanned multiple sectors: health, international development, urban poverty reduction, affordable housing, immigration, employment, senior care, food insecurity, and youth mental health. Over her two-plus decade career, she has helped to raise close to $200 million in support of both local and international projects.
Even more, Vasilopoulos has been recognized for growing organizations from where they are to where they can be. Her current role as the Executive Director at The WoodGreen Foundation is yet another example of her inspiring leadership. She recently led a $20 million campaign, unprecedented for the social services sector, which exceeded targets two years ahead of schedule.
Additionally, in her international development work, Vasilopoulos supported a medical partnership and knowledge exchange to build capacity for medical professionals in Kenya. Over three trips, Toronto surgical teams were able to support the growth and development of a strong surgical program in a rural Kenyan community.
As the former President of the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation, Vasilopoulos, along with her staff, board, and a family foundation advisor, facilitated a ground-breaking single gift of $50 million from Myron and Berna Garron, the largest gift in the country to a community hospital at its time. This gift allowed the re-naming of the hospital to the Michael Garron Hospital, in memory of the couple’s son. The historic gift has and will continue to transform the delivery of health care for some of the highest-needs residents in Toronto. Vasilopoulos also created the unique fundraising event Laughter is the Best Medicine Gala. In its inaugural year, it was headlined by Jerry Seinfeld and Will Arnett. It lives on to this day and continues to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital.
However, Vasilopoulos’s most recent project might have the greatest long-term impact on giving. Her book titled What Can You Do With Just One Dollar is a simple read with a great underlying message. It inspires children to think about how they can help the world with just one dollar. Beautifully illustrated by Vic Guiza, an award-winning illustrator for top brands including Disney and Marvel Comics, it shows that everyone, no matter of their socioeconomic differences or cultural background, can share in the pride and confidence that comes from giving. All proceeds of the book go to The WoodGreen Foundation for an ongoing legacy of giving.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed to have received this award. As fundraising professionals, we are fortunate to be members of AFP and benefit greatly from their education and resources and through their work as advocates for ethical leadership for our industry. However, I feel the true accolades go to the philanthropists for the incredible impact they create through their generosity. We as fundraisers have the honour to join them on their journey of giving as they make dreams come true and the impossible, possible." - Teresa Vasilopoulos, CFRE, MBA
“With a remarkable career and personal dedication to the fundraising profession, Teresa Vasilopoulos is AFP’s standout honouree this year. Her body of work and continued commitment to fostering the next generation of fundraising professionals creates a legacy that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on everyone and every organization she touches. She’s the epitome of what the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award is all about, and we’re thrilled to recognize her May 2 at AFP ICON.” - AFP President and CEO Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA
“Teresa creates a culture of philanthropy; develops high-performance and highly-engaged staff teams; attracts strong, diverse, and skilled board directors; and has the ability to forge authentic and enduring relationships with donors and investors. We are pleased that she is being honoured for her incredible work in the philanthropic sector. She very much deserves this recognition.” - Bill MacKinnon, Former CEO & Chair KPMG, Current Chair of The WoodGreen Foundation
ABOUT WOODGREEN COMMUNITY SERVICES (woodgreen.org): WoodGreen is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, serving 37,000 people each year. We offer over 75 programs and services tackling the social determinants that affect the health and well-being of individuals in our community.
ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION OF FUNDRAISING PROFESSIONALS (AFP): Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has been the standard bearer for professionalism in fundraising. The association works to advance effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s 26,000 members raise more than $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, visit afpglobal.org.
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