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TORONTO, CANADA (AFP eWire – June 27, 2003) – For the first time ever, the AFP Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is being held in Canada – and Canadians have welcomed the course with open arms.

A diverse group of fundraising professionals met in Toronto this week to discuss a wide array of fundraising issues. Most of this session’s participants are from Canada, and the course is being held in cooperation with the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, which has donated the conference space. A past president of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter, Rob Peacock, CFRE, was the impetus for bringing ELI to Canada.

“ELI is a big issue forum, not a how-to,” Timothy L. Seiler, Ph.D., CFRE, a faculty member at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, told the 28 participants on Thursday, June 26. “We want to engage you in a discussion of philanthropy as a tradition, fundraising’s role in philanthropy and in the inter-relationships of the voluntary sector, the for-profit sector and government sector.”

Seiler led a wide-ranging discussion of philanthropy, how it works and how it’s changing. ELI participants discussed numerous issues with a three-member panel. The panelists were Richard “Dick” Falconer, managing director and vice chairman of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce World Markets; Marnie A. Spears, president and chief operating officer of Ketchum Canada Inc.; and Dianne Lister, LL.B., CFRE, former president and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.

The panelists and participants presented an enthusiastic exchange of ideas on a variety of issues. Some of the issues discussed and questions asked included:

* As a nonprofit becomes more professional, does it lose the richness of volunteers and their passion and involvement? * Accountability of organizations and stewardship of funds. * In trying to nurture volunteers, an important role of fundraising professionals is to help volunteers find their gifts and talents and use them well. * Community service – how can we get more youth involved in philanthropy and is it a good idea to require students to volunteer?

“The richness of the discussion at ELI is exhilarating to see,” said Cathlene Williams, Ph.D., CAE, AFP senior director of education and research. “This diverse group of dedicated fundraising professionals came to ELI with a lot of enthusiasm and endless ideas to share with their peers.”

The group developed a list of current issues involving the fundraising profession and the nonprofit sector that included the education of the next generation of philanthropy, the perception of the erosion of the public trust, reciprocity issues, administrative vs. program budget growth, human capital shifts, capacity building, the threat of government regulation, self regulation, huge endowments and the perception of the impact of the economy on asking and giving.

ELI runs from June 26-28. Look for more information on the Toronto course in eWire in the coming weeks.

ELI is supported by Ketchum, Canada Inc., Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter and Patricia Hardy, ACFRE.

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