Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives

 Nominations for 2019 Awards Sought

As development professionals, we are all keenly aware of the high level of dedication and integrity that are so critical to the profession of fundraising. One of VAFRE’s goals--and privileges--is to recognize and celebrate the exemplary work of our colleagues. 

Now is the time to elevate those who inspire us daily, with a nomination for VAFRE’s Rising Star or Nina Abady Awards for fundraising excellence. Please help us honor our colleagues by nominating those among us who set the bar high and pave the way for us all.

Nominations are open now through December 21st. The process is quick and user-friendly. Get a nomination form and learn more about these awards, their criteria, past winners, and the process by following the links to the right.

Congratulations to our 2018 Honorees

  • Lisa Tait (pictured below at left), Nina Abady Winner and

  • Susan Norkus (pictured below at right), Rising Star Winner!


As Vice President for Development at the Community Idea Stations, Lisa Tait has created a sustainable foundation for philanthropic support for our region's public radio and television media outlets. She has created a development program that is trusted, not only among station members and major donors, but among her fellow development colleagues throughout Virginia and the nation. Lisa initiated the Stations’ recent Capital Campaign, which got underway in 2013 and concluded at the end of 2016, successfully achieving its goals, raising $2,271,500. She is a past president of the Central Virginia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and she has been a mentor to many development professionals in the Richmond area. The development office of the Community Idea Stations has been a breeding ground for development professionals over the years, and many professionals hired and trained by Lisa have gone on to make a positive impact on organizations throughout our community. At the national level, she has served on PBS’s Development Advisory Committee and served as its president in 2006. She was integral in the creation and implementation of PBS’s popular Corporate Support Performance Initiative, a corporate fundraising development program created for stations across the country.  She has lead sessions at annual public broadcasting development conferences and has trained small stations across the country in strategic planning.  

Susan Norkus is Membership and Development Coordinator at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is responsible for enhancing the university’s relationship with donors through stewardship initiatives and has cemented critical relationships for the ICA both within the University and in the larger community. Susan is at the helm of the most critical development program at the ICA and has embraced the uncertainty inherent in working with a new organization, and navigated the complex ins and outs of this project while managing her first direct report and inspiring loyalty and respect in that employee. She believes in the tenet that fundraising is the servant of philanthropy and leads by example through her commitment to the ICA.

Nina Abady Award

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.  

Learn more about the Nina Abady Award

Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award is made annually to a VAFRE member who exhibits excellent potential and who has demonstrated remarkable talents at an early stage in their fund-raising career.

Learn more about the Rising Star Award

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