INDIANAPOLIS—Paulette V. Maehara, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), will be awarded the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University’s highest honor, the Henry A. Rosso Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Ethical Fund Raising.
The Rosso Medal recognizes lifelong dedication to emphasizing philanthropy's ethics and values, acting as a mentor to perpetuate and invigorate philanthropic traditions, and noted leadership in a long, productive career of distinction. The award will be presented to Maehara during the AFP International Conference in Chicago on March 19.
Since 1990, the Center on Philanthropy has presented this annual award to exceptional individuals. The Rosso Medal was created to honor Henry A. "Hank" Rosso (1917-1999), a founder of the Center on Philanthropy and founding director of The Fund Raising School at the Center. Rosso received the inaugural medal for establishing The Fund Raising School, which enables fundraising professionals to learn to do ethical philanthropic fundraising, and for creating concepts of discipline and dignity in the profession.
“Paulette is a tireless champion for excellence and professionalism in fundraising in the U.S. and around the world,” said Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy. “She has heightened fundraisers’ awareness of the importance of research and ongoing professional development as crucial elements of effective fundraising practice and stewardship. Her vision and leadership have significantly strengthened and advanced the fundraising profession.”
AFP is a professional association of more than 30,000 individuals and organizations that generate philanthropic support for a wide variety of charitable institutions. During Maehara’s tenure, the association has grown by nearly 10,000 members and more than 50 local chapters in North America, Asia and Africa.
“I’m overwhelmed to be in the company of so many distinguished individuals who have previously received this great honor, named after the legendary Hank Rosso,” said Maehara. “While I’m honored to accept the award, my accomplishments are a testament to the great work of our volunteer leaders, chapters and staff who are dedicated to advancing ethical and effective fundraising and the highest levels of professionalism. It’s been my privilege to serve the profession and see it grow and blossom around the world.”
Among Maehara’s many accomplishments is AFP’s significant international growth and outreach to fundraisers around the world. She has developed strong ties with fundraising organizations in other countries and initiated events that encourage mutual learning and collaboration, such as AFP’s Hemispheric Congress on Fundraising-Latin America. Maehara helped lead the effort to create the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising, the first universal code of ethics for fundraisers.
“Paulette’s leadership in insisting that fundraisers always adhere to the highest standards of ethical fundraising practice epitomizes Hank Rosso’s vision for the profession and the spirit of the Rosso Medal,” said Timothy L. Seiler, director of public service and The Fund Raising School at the Center. “She has been a staunch advocate in advancing the AFP Code of Ethics and in keeping ethical practice foremost in the minds of fundraisers to demonstrate that they and the organizations they represent are worthy of the public’s trust.”
Maehara, who is retiring this month, has served as AFP’s president and CEO for nearly 13 years. Prior to joining AFP, Maehara was chief executive officer of the Epilepsy Foundation. She has also held executive positions with Project HOPE, the American Red Cross (both at its national headquarters and at the National Capital Chapter), the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation (Hawaii Chapter) and the University of Hawaii Foundation. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and has been a member of AFP since 1987.
In 2005 and 2006, Maehara served as chair of the board of directors of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and has also been the board’s treasurer and past chair of ASAE’s Executive Management Council. She has served on the executive committee of the International Bureau for Epilepsy, as well as the board of directors of the National Health Council. She has also been a member of the executive committee of International Service Agencies and chaired its membership committee.
Maehara’s leadership has garnered numerous honors. The NonProfit Times selected her as one of its 50 most influential people in philanthropy for 10 consecutive years. Her work for Project HOPE led to a Best Direct Mail Program award from the Direct Marketing Association of America. She has won the American Red Cross Distinguished Service Award twice for her work at both the national headquarters and the National Capital Chapter. The March of Dimes has also awarded her its Distinguished Volunteer Fund Raising Award. She was one of 100 women chosen to participate in the 2000 Leadership America Program.
About the Center on Philanthropy
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide through research, education, training and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. A part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the Center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses. More information is available at www.philanthropy.iupui.edu.