AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Interim Board of Directors
Olumide (Mide) Akerewusi – President
Olumide (Mide) Akerewusi, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. (Econ), CSR-P, is a social justice advocate and certified Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioner, born and raised in the UK to Nigerian parents, and now living in Toronto, Canada.
As a professional fundraiser and philanthropy adviser in the UK and Canada, he is also Founder and CEO of AgentsC Inc. an international, B-Corp Certified full-service consulting agency. AgentsC offers person-centred fundraising, philanthropy, research, evaluation, and change management solutions to socially and environmentally conscious organizations in Canada and around the world.
Mide is a co-author of the award-winning book, Collecting Courage, an anthology of perspectives shared by 14 Black fundraisers in North America. Mide is also the lead researcher for the seminal research report, The Duality of Giving: Contemporary Perspectives on Formalized African Philanthropy, a detailed study about how African people embrace philanthropic customs and traditions. His latest research project, From The Mind To The Heart highlights the dissonance between equity principles and equity practices in corporate and foundation grant-making.
Mide is also creator, host, and convenor of both the Giving Black Conference, and the Giving Black Podcast, where he invites unique perspectives on global Black philanthropy. As well, Mide serves as a TELUS Community Board member in Toronto, with responsibility for granting more than $1 million to community-based organizations. As a Council Member of the McMaster University Future of Canada Project, Mide contributes to important conversations about building a stronger more equitable, and prosperous Canada.
Liz Rejman – Secretary
Liz Rejman (she/her) has spent 25 years working in the fundraising profession serving social service organizations, arts organizations, healthcare foundations, and higher education institutions. She specializes in fundraising operations including prospect development, data management, gift administration, fundraising policy creation, and process improvement. Through her work and volunteer experiences, Liz has had the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of fundraising. – from signature events, direct mail campaigns to major gift strategy and volunteer management.
She is the Founder and Principal of Liz Rejman + Co, a consultancy specializing in fundraising operational excellence to help teams unlock their potential through optimized processes and systems.
Liz is the past President of the international prospect development association Apra and recently completed her term as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Apra Foundation. She has also served on the board of directors for the Apra Canada Chapter and LRFRE (London Region Fundraising Executives).
Liz has instructed at Western University on the topic of technology in the not-for-profit sector and at Georgian College on prospect research. She holds a certificate in Human Resources Management from George Brown College, a professional certificate in Learning and Development from Western University, and is a former CFRE (2011-2016).
She is a contributor to the book “The Vigilant Fundraiser” and co-editor and contributor to the book “Prospect Research in Canada: An Essential Guide for Researchers and Fundraisers”.
Arleen Benjamin – Treasurer
Arleen Benjamin is a CPA, CGA and senior finance executive with over 18 years of operational leadership across a diverse range of national and global organizations.
Within the Non-Profit sector in Canada, she has worked in areas including social development, international humanitarian response, environmental protection, women’s and children’s rights, global health, and cancer care.
She brings tremendous experience managing transformational growth and working with culturally diverse and globally dispersed teams in over 12 countries where she helped to successfully scale up programming in parts of Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
Her career has been centered around building fiscal health and organizational resilience and strengthening public/private partnerships including relationships with government, corporate, foundations, and inter-governmental agencies including the UN and World Bank.
She is currently working with ACWOF (African Caribbean Walk of Fame), a non-profit start-up focused on the development of a web platform to promote Black achievements in Canada.
Arleen is a recent member of AFP and looks forward to making a valuable contribution to the membership.
Esther Saehyun Lee – Board Member
Esther is a new-gen fundraiser, storyteller, and advocate of Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF) principles. She is most well-known by her peers as an excellent meme curator and co-conspirator. She is committed to CCF principles and is a member of the Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF) Global Council and collaboratively works towards advancing the mission of equity in the nonprofit sector.
Her decision to join this sector was driven by her commitment to building a space for women of colour within oppressive systems and holding the sector accountable for its mission and values. As a feminist killjoy and unabashed nerd, she is committed to creating environments that are centered on laughter, curiosity, and justice in the work of equity.
Dane Bland – Board Member
Dane is a not-for-profit leader focused on translating development activities to social betterment, political action, advocacy, and systemic change.
He is currently the Head of Development for Rainbow Railroad, an international organization that helps at-risk LGBTQI+ people get to safety around the world.
Dane is a Certified Fundraising Executive that brings a decade of nonprofit experience, raising over $35 Million in contributions through corporate and foundation partnerships, major gifts, and multi-channel mass-market campaigns. He is deeply committed to volunteerism, community management, political activism, advocacy, and philanthropy. On top of a depth of experience in fundraising, Dane brings expertise in communications, digital marketing, direct marketing, and media relations.
Dane is a graduate of the Trent University Business Administration Program and Seneca College Fundraising Management postgraduate certificate program.
Ann Rosenfield – Board Member
Ann Rosenfield is a longtime fundraiser, interfaith bridge builder, and LGBTQI advocate. She is the Chief Development Officer of Congregation Temple Sinai of Toronto, a Reform [egalitarian] synagogue. She is on the Board for ATID, a professional association for synagogue fundraisers, and will host their 2024 conference.
Ann regularly speaks as part of a trio of colleagues to help fundraisers better understand Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philanthropy. Their mission includes role modeling how their faith traditions unite them more than separate them.
She was part of the effort that helped OutRight Action International grow from a kitchen table to an organization with United Nations consultative status. More recently, she spent 10 years helping Rainbow Railroad blossom from a small, unincorporated charity to an international Human Rights leader.
Ann is the longest-serving member of AFP GTC and has been active as Congress Chair, Board member, Ethics Committee Chair, Education Chair, Mentor, and Fellow. She is a past CAGP Greater Toronto Board member, Imagine Canada Standards volunteer and Advisory Board member for Endeavour Volunteer Consulting. She is an active hands-on arts festival volunteer.
She is the proud mother of drag queen Atmos Fierce and has a daughter who is a fashion design student. Ann is the daughter of two late activists – Peg who worked on Voting Rights for 53 years and Al who worked for the Environment for 30 years.
Birgit Smith Burton – Board Advisor
Birgit is the Executive Director of AADO, the African American Development Officers Network, which she founded at Georgia Tech to provide professional development, education, employment support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for fundraisers of color. She is a well-regarded speaker on the topics of fundraising and diversity and has authored articles on diversity in the fundraising profession, co-authored the book, The Philanthropic Covenant with Black America, contributed to the book Five Minutes for Fundraising, A Collection of Expert Advice, and tells her personal story in the book Collecting Courage, which shares the lived experiences of Black women and men working in the nonprofit and charitable space (published fall 2020). During her 25-year career at Georgia Tech she led her team in raising over $500M from private philanthropic foundations to support programs, scholarships, and capital projects. Birgit was selected to participate in the first cohort of Leading Women @ Tech and was a recipient of the team award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Program Development for the Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing.
Birgit has served on the global board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for nearly a decade and has the distinction of being the first African American woman in AFP’s 61-year history to be voted chair of the AFP Global Board. Birgit received the Opportunity and Inclusion Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education which recognized her leadership in fostering inclusion and diversity within the fundraising profession. In 2020 the R.I.S.E. Fund was established in Birgit’s honor with a mission to advance women of color in fundraising by providing Resources, Inspiration, Support, and Education.
Birgit chairs the A.E. Lowe Grice Scholarship Fund, serves on the advisory council for Somos El Poder (A National Latinx Fundraising Institute), chairs the board of the Ahmaud Arbery Foundation, and is on the advisory committee for Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy (WOC). She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Birgit holds a bachelor’s degree in media communications from Medaille College in Buffalo, New York and serves on its board of Trustees.
Sara Wolfe – Board Advisor
Sara is a seasoned executive leader who is passionate about driving positive and inclusive change. She brings a unique blend of design, development, strategy, and governance expertise to her work, especially enjoying the co-creation of transformative solutions that drive sustainable development, social equity, and cultural preservation. This includes leveraging her skills and experience, at national and international levels to bridge Indigenous knowledge and leadership in all aspects of her work, and creating meaningful opportunities for inclusion, belonging, and reconciliation.