The Nina Abady Award is the most prestigious award given by the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives (VAFRE). It is presented to a fundraising professional who has demonstrated utmost excellence in the field of development. The award signifies to individuals, organizations, and the greater community that the recipient has garnered the respect and admiration of colleagues throughout the Commonwealth for professional and ethical service.
The recipient is honored at a special luncheon attended by representatives from across the Commonwealth. This luncheon provides a significant opportunity for those who have been influenced by the recipient-from colleagues to board members to other professionals in the field–to show their appreciation and gratitude.
Richmond icon Nina Abady was a university instructor turned development professional who was passionate about both the community and the arts. She put that passion to work as a founder and supporter of a number of Richmond community, historic and civic events before her death in 1993. Nina Abady founded “Downtown Presents,” “Friday Cheers,” “The Big Gig” and the “Second Street Festival,” all very successful endeavors that revitalized the downtown area by bringing thousands out to enjoy and celebrate artists, musicians, and other performers in Richmond. Nina Abady Festival Park between the Coliseum and 2nd street bears a bronze plaque with her likeness and her accomplishments.
Her favorite word was community. She was a founding member of VAFRE and recognized as a force of nature - a remarkably good person, a fantastic motivator, and a champion for social justice with an uncommon devotion to humanity. In the glowing tributes following her death she was described as eloquent and idealistic, an individual of unlimited enthusiasm, and a bright light in the city. It is fitting that the prize for excellence in the field of advancement bears her name. She was an outstanding role model.
In 1991, the Annual Fundraiser of the Year Award was first given to Mr. Jerry Quigg who, along with Ms. Abady and a handful of young fundraisers, founded VAFRE in 1980. After Nina’s death in 1993, the award was renamed and given in her honor to a deserving fundraiser. The list of distinguished award winners who followed comprises a virtual who’s-who of Virginia’s fundraisers (see sidebar.)
Award winners are selected from a competitive field of finalists who were nominated by VAFRE members, area fund-raisers, and board members. The selection committee, chaired each year by the previous year’s winner, convenes each year to review nominations and select the winner.
Criterion for Nina Abady Award