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    To Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter (AFP-GTC) Members

    Dear Members, in Part One of my message to you last month, I promised to send you a second part of my update. Today, I find myself on the last day of November, with only a few hours to go, to meet my self-imposed deadline!

    I wish I could have shared this message sooner. However, my work and personal schedule continue to be the most challenging aspect of my role as your interim chair.

    Nevertheless, there’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind! Here’s my update to you:

    I would like to begin this update by showing gratitude to Abena Buahene, AFP-GTC’s interim Executive Director who has been a steady hand as she stepped up to the task of restarting our chapter while myself and the new interim board found our footing. It is no secret that back in June when I met with Abena, AFP-GTC’s road ahead was unknown. In many respects, still is. However, what Abena took on when she accepted the role of interim Executive Director was a different challenge still. 

    My late pastor was prone to reminding me of the following edict:

    “It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup.” 

    It also takes a special type of courage, expertise, and resolve for someone to be able to embark into the unknown. Abena has graced us with her experience and passion for community and helped me form our interim board that is now spearheading our equity initiatives for our chapter. Abena’s experience as a lawyer, her warmth, sheer brilliance, and resolve have been a gift to the AFP-GTC chapter.

    As planned when she joined us in June, Abena’s last day with us is December 15th, 2023. Please join me and fellow AFP-GTC Interim board members: Ann, Arleen, Dane, Esther, and Liz, in thanking Abena for the passion, knowledge, and insights she has brought to our chapter. 

    To keep this update brief, I am listing just four other important updates that I would like you to consider. These are directly related to the work the board has been engaged in behind the scenes to ensure business continuity, responsiveness, communication, accountability, culture change, and member value. 

    • Interim board member, Arleen Benjamin has been appointed to a brand-new role as interim Head of Operations at AFP-GTC. As Arleen steps away from the interim board temporarily, her new role will be to ensure the continuity of day-to-day operations, audit, and finance, as well as support to staff, members, and our board. A key objective will also be to advise on the process to establish substantive leadership at the Executive level in our chapter. Please also join me in welcoming Arleen into her new role!

    Please reserve time in your calendars on the following dates

    • January 12 and 26, 2024
    • February 9, 2024
    • March 1 and 15, 2024 

    These are important dates that we will be using to host AFP-GTC Listening Sessions across various locations in our chapter, as well as virtually accessible meetings. The Listening Sessions will be timed for 8:00 am, 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm. Locations for in-person Listening Sessions will be Downtown Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and Mississauga. 

    Our aim through the Listening Sessions is to hear your thoughts, concerns, aspirations, and experiences relating to the past, present, and future of our chapter. Liz Rejman will follow up with further communication outlining specific locations for these Listening Sessions to take place. If you or your organization would like to host a Listening Session in your community, please let us know. You can contact Taylor Cunningham, our Chapter’s Professional Developments & Events Specialist ( to arrange this opportunity.  Following the listening Sessions, we will also launch an extensive survey to capture the viewpoints of members and fundraisers in the GTC community. 

    • Interim Board Member, Esther Lee has identified several Affinity Groups whose voice and participation are important to our work in engaging the full breadth of fundraising commutes in the GTC. Specifically, Esther has focused on groups who have been hitherto marginalized from expressing choice, voice, and control (power), as fundraisers within the GTC. These include Black, Indigenous, Muslim, and Asian Fundraisers. If you are part of a cultural group that has been marginalized and aim to form an Affinity Group, we would like to hear from you. Please contact me at with details about the aims of your group and your interest in having a further conversation with AFP-GTC.
    • Dane and Ann are in the process of developing a transformative AFP-GTC professional development and events roster for 2024. For now, I can reveal that we are focusing on the delivery of powerful one-day learning sessions spread across the year. I am pleased to announce that the first learning session will be at AFP ICON, 2024 here in Toronto, where we will lead a short event which is currently being curated. I will provide a more detailed update in my message to you next month, December.

    There is much more to say and even more to share, however at this point I will conclude by thanking you for being patient and committed to AFP-GTC over the course of this year. I know it has been tough for many of us to endure this year’s events. One of the discussions we have had at the board table is an acknowledgment for the continued need to heal and reconcile. Sara Wolfe continues to shape this work for us, initially by steeping us in a new set of values and different ways of operating. I hope you are seeing the result of this emergent work and will begin to feel its impact over the coming months.

    Best Wishes

    Olumide Akerewusi
    Interim Chair