It is almost two weeks now until I go away to school to complete my second summer residency for my Masters in Philanthropy and Fund Development.
As I reflect back on my career, I am in awe.
When I first started in development back in 1994, it was all by chance. I ended up working as a community organizer in a very small organization. When they hired me, they failed to tell me that I needed to raise money.
But, isn’t that how we all ended up choosing development as a career path?
For most yes, but, for a growing number, they are actually choosing to become development professionals.
Back in the day, the only education one could get was actually doing the job on the job. I didn’t even know that there was a professional certification because I really didn’t think that this was a profession.
That all has changed.
Today, development professionals can receive their Certified Fundraising Executive certification as well as an Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive certification. There are now many professional organizations that offer comprehensive workshops and trainings, and many more colleges are offering certificate programs.
I was stunned this week to read that the Indiana University, home of the internationally respected Center on Philanthropy, is in the process of creating a School of Philanthropy that will grant undergraduate and graduate degrees and in May of 2012, the University granted Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philanthropic Studies to five students. These are believed to be the first-ever undergraduate degrees presented for Philanthropic Studies.
The Masters program that I attend at St. Mary’s of Minnesota is I believe one of two such programs in the nation, with the Center on Philanthropy offering the second.
I shake my head in amazement these days at just how far the profession has progressed over the past twenty years. I am so proud that I am continuing to advance myself and my skills to become a true thought leader by participating in advanced field research and reflection.
I and others like myself are advancing our professional careers and in turn, mentoring those who are younger in the field. Oh how so very far we have come!