ACF Awards for Excellence in Philanthropy

The ACF Awards for Excellence in Philanthropy recognize those who go above and beyond in answering God's call to serve others - to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with their God.  Any ACF member can submit nominations for many of these awards (the two chapter awards and President's Award are decided by different means).  Learn more about the process and submit here.

Learn about the awards:

Virgil Anderson Award

The prestigious Virgil Anderson Award is presented to an ACF member (active or retired) who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service to an organization in the development field. 

Distinguishing qualities of the Virgil Anderson Award recipient include:

  • Extraordinary service to the development profession
  • Participation in and service to ACF
  • Positive influence among peers
  • Service to the church and community at-large

Past Virgil Anderson Award Winners

2023       Christine M. Zrinsky
2022       Christine Safranek
2021       Doug Mason
2020       Tom Jolivette
2019       Jane Lottes
2018       Mark L. Hill, CFRE

2017       Hans G. Springer, CFRE
Bonnie O'Neill Meyer, CFRE
2015       David Kahle

2014       Doug Page
2013       Cynthia J. Halverson
2012       J. Ward Pallotta
2011       Michelle Janssen
2010       Ann Sponberg Peterson
2009       Cheryl Grasmoen
2008       Sue Ullsvik
2007       Kathy Hansen
2006       David Coker, CFRE
2005       Richard Maddox
2004       Brenda Moore
2003       Dennis L. Meyer, CFRE

2002       David Hahn

2001       Eugene L. Meyer, CFRE, FAHP

2000       James A. Jenson

1999       Katherine O. Conrad, CFRE
1998       Keith T. Nelson
1997       Fred A. Bleeke, CFRE
1996       Harvey A. Stegemoeller
1995       Robert A. Peterson
1994       Richard C. Schmidt
1993       Lloyd R. Probasco, CFRE
1992       Lloyd Foerster
1991       Edward G. Bertram
1990       Richard L. Engdahl, CFRE
1989       Donovan J. Palmquist
1988       Arvid E. Bidne
1987       Marlys S. Taege


Jay Bleeke Young Professional Award

This award honors Jay’s spirit of leadership, networking, welcoming personality, drive for knowledge and enthusiasm for ACF. The Jay Bleeke Young Professional Award is presented to a young ACF member who has taken a leadership role within ACF and has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service to an organization within the fundraising and/or public relations fields. The recipient receives a grant of $500 for continued professional development.

Distinguishing qualities of the Jay Bleeke Young Professional Award recipient include:

  • An ACF member under 40
  • Exemplary participation in ACF: involvement at local and/or international levels
  • Inspiration to others regarding greater commitment and involvement

Past Recipients of the Jay Bleeke Young Professional Award

2023       Elliott Williams, CFRE
2022       Jamie Lennon, CFRE
2021       Ashley Wiehe

2020       Stephanie Wollenburg
2019       Ellen Draeger Cattadoris
2018       Clyde Andrew Walter

2017       Jonathan Schleicher, CFRE
2016       Mike Nevergall, CFRE

2015       Bethany Krepela
2014       Heather (McGinness) Hill, CNM, CFRE
2013       Mara McClellan

2012       Matthew Leighty

2011       Beth McKinley

2010       Danielle Ward
2009       Jason Gerdes


Outstanding Executive Award 

The Outstanding Executive Award is designed to honor a deserving CEO or president - a top level executive, not a vice president or assistant director - whose exemplary leadership is making an impact in the church and world.

Attributes of the ACF Outstanding Executive are:

  • Visionary leadership
  • Effectiveness in management and fundraising
  • Inspirational leadership of staff and volunteer constituency
  • Boldness in proclaiming the importance of Christian stewardship through public speaking or writing
  • Commitment to the mission of the church beyond the sphere of his/her organization

Past Recipients of the Outstanding Executive Award

2023       Mike King
2022       Krish O’Mara Vignarajah
2021       Linda Timmons

2020       Louise Johnson
2019       Tom Ries
2018       Julie Swanson
2017       Beth Nelson Chase, CFRE
2016       Charles Schlimpert
                Phyllis Castens Wiederhoeft
2015       Ted W. Goins, Jr.
2014       Steven C. Bahls
2013       Kurt Senske
2012       Chris Andersen
2011       John Stamm

2010       Brian Friedrich
2009       David Jacox

2008       Alan Harre

2007       Katherine Wolford

2006       Donald Hallberg

2005       William Nolan

2004       Dr. Richard Bimler
2003       Dr. Loren Anderson
2002       Rev. Dr. David Tiede
2001       Bill D. Brittain
2000       James M. Miller, CFRE
1999       Ruth Henrichs
1998       Dr. Paul J. Dovre
1997       JoAnne Heltner


President's Award

This President's Award recognizes outstanding volunteer service to ACF during the previous year. 

Past Recipients of ACF's President's Award

2023       David Burch
                Amy Tran ​
                Alex Budzynski
2022       Bonnie Meyer, CFRE
                Jon Nelson
2021       Jon Dize, CFRE
2020       Amy Scholz
2019       Executive Director Search
2018       Lorraine Dorough
2017       Patricia A. Bilow
2016       Mark Hofman, CFRE
2015       Inga Gerber
2014       Christine M. Zrinsky
2013       Johnnie Driessner
2012       Hans Springer
2011       Mark Maurice
2010       Michael Fischer

2009       Brenda Solomon
2008       Jane Lottes
2007       Sue Ullsvik
2006       Cheryl Grasmoen
2005       J. Ward Pallotta

2004       Richard Engdahl
2003       ACF's Strategic Planning Task 

               Force (Kristi Bangert, Chair)
2002       Douglas D. Mason

2001       Kristi S. Bangert
2000       Michelle Janssen, CFRE
1999       David M. Benson
1998       Alan Zacharias, CFRE
1997       Rev. W. Paul Brinkman, CFRE
1996       Brenda J. Moore, CFRE
1994       Nancy S. Donohoe
1993       Michael W. Butterfield, CFRE
1992       Cynthia J. Halverson, CFRE
1991       Eugene L. Meyer, CFRE, FAHP
1990       Ramon L. Wittig


Outstanding Chapter Leader Award

The Outstanding Chapter Leader Award honors an ACF member for exhibiting extraordinary effort in leading a chapter and providing a model of exemplary chapter leadership. 

Attributes of the Outstanding Chapter Leader are:

  • Ongoing vision and committed leadership
  • Effectiveness in helping a local chapter move ahead in its program and in its benefits for ACF members
  • Active chapter member

Past Recipients of the Outstanding Chapter Leader Award

2021       Gay Gonnerman and Tharan Leopold (Northstar Chapter)
2020       Jen Thomas, CFRE (Heartland Chapter)
2019       Lewis Berkwit (Great Rivers Chapter)
2018       Stephanie Wollenburg (Big East Chapter)
2017       David H. Assmus (Iowa Chapter)
2016       Clyde Walter (Chicago Chapter)
2015       Jon Dize (Indiana-Michigan Chapter)
2014       Kristen Egan, CFRE (Chicago Chapter)
2013       Jon Dize (Indiana-Michigan Chapter)
2012       Bethany Krepela (Northstar Chapter)
2011       Karen Pease (Ohio Chapter)
2010       Kristi Puchbauer (Canada Chapter)
2009       Lori Land (Wisconsin Chapter)
2008       Maxine Dougherty (Heartland Chapter)
2007       Marion Heinz, CFRE (Wisconsin Chapter)
2006       Dan C. Johnson, CFRE (Indiana-Michigan Chapter)
2005       Jane Lottes (Big East Chapter)
2004       Michael Fischer, CFRE (Southwest Chapter)
2003       Marcie Lynn Rogers (Chicago Chapter)
2002       David C. Coker, CFRE (Heartland Chapter)
2001       Rev. Richard Rouse (Evergreen Chapter)
2000       Robert C. Peper (Southwest Chapter)
1999       Mark Hill, CFRE (Minnesota Chapter)
1998       Thomas M. Buck (Wisconsin Chapter)


Chapter of the Year Award

The Outstanding Chapter of the Year puts forth the effort to offer educational events; promote professionalism and collegiality; promote ethical standards; identify and attract new members and retain current members.

Past Recipients of ACF's Chapter of the Year Award

2023       Blue Ridge Chapter
2022       Wisconsin Chapter
2021       Northstar Chapter

2020       Heartland Chapter
2019       Great Rivers Chapter
2018       Canada Chapter
2017       Lone Star Chapter
2016       Chicago Chapter
2015       Great Rivers Chapter
2014       Iowa Chapter
2013       Northstar Chapter
2012       Iowa Chapter

2011       Wisconsin Chapter
2010       Chicago Chapter

2009       Indiana-Michigan Chapter
2008       Heartland Chapter

2007       Lone Star Chapter
2006       Wisconsin Chapter
2005       Northstar Chapter
2004       Heartland Chapter
2003       Evergreen Chapter
2002       Heartland Chapter
2001       Southwest Chapter
2000       St. Louis Chapter


Spirit of Giving Award

The Spirit of Giving Award recognizes an individual or family who exemplifies generous contribution of service, time and support that inspires others to greater commitment and involvement. Any individual or family involved with an ACF organization is eligible for nomination for this award.

Past Recipients of the ACF International Spirit of Giving Award

2023     Rev. Mary and Wade Finklea
2022     Rev. Dr. Harvey and Carol Lange
2021     Mark and Georgia Ulmschneider 

2020     Karl and Shirley Kreft
2019     O. Jay and Pat Tomson
2018     Larry Neeb
2017     Shirley Splittgerber
2016     Bob and Sue Dettmer
2015     C. G. “Kelly” and Virginia Holthus
2014     Richard and Melba Reichard

2013     Joy Nelson
2012     Ruth and Lloyd Probasco
2011     Dale and Jolita Benson
2010     Gloria and Ross Edwards

2009     Harold Hamilton

2008     Bill and Dee Nord
2007     Doris and Jay Christopher
2006     Clifford Johnson
2005     Rupert Dunklau
2004     Reuben and Darlene Swanson


Creativity Award

The Award for Creativity recognizes excellence in inspiring, inventive work and includes a $500 cash prize. 

Past Recipients of the Creativity Award

2023     Heidi Rixman​, Lutheran Services Carolinas
2022     Jeri Pat Gabbert, CFRE, Indiana University Northwest
2021     Aaron Cooper, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois 
2020     David Burch, Volunteers of America 
2019     InFaith Community Foundation​
             St. Marcus Lutheran School and Church
2018     Gustavus Adolphus College ​- Give To Gustavus Day Team
2017     Heather (McGinness) Hill, CNM, CFRE - Concordia College - New York
2016     ELCA World Hunger
2015     St. Marcus Lutheran School
2014     Lutheran Social Services of New York
2013     Jon Dize
2012     Amy Jurgens
2011     Brenda Solomon
2010     Linda Maxon
2009     Carole Todd - Lutheran Family Services of Virginia
2008     Raising Dough (Peggy Forni, Gail Keegan, Ward Pallotta, Greg Wiechert)
2008     1st Runner Up Concordia Nebraska & Meyer Partners
2008     Mike Ward
2007     Lori Land
2006     Richard Duncan
2005     Darlene Breon
2004     Chris Andersen
2003     Maxine Dougherty
2002     Linda K. Maxon
2001     Darlene Breon
2000     Paul Olson
1999     Kim A. Rudat, APR
1998     Raymond J. Cauwet
1997     Marilyn A. Schultz
1996     Martha A. Taylor
1995     Dan Giblin, Tonia Stoffregen
1994     Brenda (Sprague) Solomon
1993     David J. Berg


Any ACF member can submit nominations for many of these awards (the two chapter awards and President's Award are decided by different means).  Learn more about the process and submit here.