|AFP to honor VP for development June 21
|by Leigh Handal
William J. “Jim” Fisher’s colleagues refer to him as the gold standard
of fundraisers, those professionals who can be found at the heart of
every nonprofit organization. In recognition of his three decades of
service and leadership locally, Fisher will be the first recipient of
the Outstanding Professional Fundraiser award at the Association
of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) S.C. Lowcountry chapter’s
celebration of AFP’s 50th anniversary June 21.
The awards luncheon will be at noon at the Charleston Marriott, 170
Lockwood Blvd. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $40 and can
be purchased at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fisher is vice president for development and alumni affairs at MUSC,
where he has served for more than 31 years. Under Fisher’s leadership,
the university’s professional development staff has grown from three
members to 45, while philanthropic support has grown from about
$450,000 per year to more than $70 million. MUSC’s most recent $300
million Capital Campaign is concluding ahead of its goal and a year
ahead of schedule.
“Jim represents the ideal fundraising professional, serving as a bridge
to connect those in need with those who can help,” said AFP Lowcountry
Chapter President Becky Dornisch. “His intellect, integrity and
dynamic leadership benefited our community both as a professional
fundraiser and as an active volunteer himself.”
That doesn’t mean that Fisher is just another ‘business suit’ kind of
professional. As singer and guitarist for The Gin House Boys,
Fisher has entertained Charleston audiences for more than 20 years with
the sounds of classic rock and standard oldies in local clubs and at
special events and weddings. Local venues include Charleston Place,
Sunfire Grill, Iacofano’s and Buffalo South.
A man of varied talents and interests, Fisher practices what he
preaches to others about philanthropy. Fisher has served in leadership
positions or been actively involved with numerous civic organizations,
including the Charleston County Planning Commission, the Carolina Youth
Development Center, Water Missions International, Trident United
Way, Charleston County School of the Arts, the Charleston
Governance Council, and the Nativity School Board.
“Fundraising professionals like Jim are agents of change for the
betterment of our community,” Dornisch said. “Our work touches, changes
and sometimes even saves countless lives in ways we may not even be
The local AFP chapter received a number of outstanding nominations for
this first-time award, said Judy Almand, awards chairman. The local
chapter narrowed nominations to the top two, which were then sent to
the Chicago AFP chapter for validation. “They overwhelmingly agreed
that Jim’s career demonstrated the best in fundraising ethics and
practices,” Ahlmand said.
AFP International was founded June 21, 1960. Fisher was instrumental in
founding the local chapter 15 years ago and served as its inaugural
Friday, June 18,