About Birgit Smith Burton

The past two years have presented an unprecedented number of challenges and opportunities for the nonprofit sector. From hurried innovation and pivoting to new ways of operating due to a global pandemic, to increased demand for services and a social justice reckoning reverberating across every aspect of society.
In 2021 many organizations looked to address the lack of diversity among fundraisers and leaders by emphasizing recruitment of staff from a variety of backgrounds and inviting them to bring unique perspectives of lived experiences to established ways of nonprofit operations. As we welcome 2022, we ask ourselves the questions: Was this diversity hiring trend just a fad? What can we do to ensure we create an inclusive environment for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and differently-abled professionals? Is our sector truly ready to change its colonial ways?
Join us on January 20th as we explore answers to these questions with industry trailblazer – Birgit Smith Burton, founder of African American Development Officers Network and retired Executive Director of Development, George Tech.

Birgit Smith Burton is a respected leader in the fundraising profession who has raised more than $500 million during her 33-year career. As the executive director of foundation relations at the Georgia Institute of Technology, she led her team in raising $309 million toward the Institute’s most recent successful $1.8 billion capital campaign.

Birgit is a well-regarded speaker on the topics of fundraising and diversity. She has authored articles on diversity in the fundraising profession, co-authored the book, The Philanthropic Covenant with Black America, and contributed to the book Five Minutes for Fundraising, A Collection of Expert Advice. Birgit is honored to tell 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). She was proud to be selected by Georgia Tech leadership to participate in the first cohort of Leading Women @ Tech, which identified the next community of leaders who will guide the institution in the 21st century. Birgit also was chosen as one of the 2020 Faces of Inclusive Excellence, recognizing faculty, staff, and students who are committed to gender diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Birgit serves on the global board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and recently was voted as the chair-elect for 2021. She has the distinction of being the first African American woman in AFP’s 60-year history to serve in this role. Birgit is the immediate past chair of the IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access). She also chairs the A.E. Lowe Grice Scholarship Fund, serves on the Hosea Helps board of directors, and is a trustee for her alma mater, Medaille College. Birgit is the founder of AADO, the African American Development Officers Network, which for 23 years has provided professional development, education, employment support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for fundraisers of color. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Birgit earned a bachelor’s degree in media communications from Medaille College in Buffalo, New York.

Our Other Participants

Mariya (Maria) Yurukova, MBA, CFRE

I have spent my entire career in fundraising and managed a variety of fundraising programs. I have had the privilege to raise more than $20 million for the organizations I have represented. And I have worked on gifts ranging in the millions to direct marketing campaigns for first time donors. My fundraising style is authentic, open, and strategic. This is also my style as a recruiter. I am committed to finding the best fit for organizations of all sizes and candidates of all skill levels and experience. I have a deep understanding of non-profit management and work extensively with boards and hiring managers to identify the types of candidates best positioned for success. My involvement with the fundraising profession has allowed me to build a large network of professionals across North America. I take the time to get to know each candidate and their career aspirations, to ensure the best possible cultural fit. My educational background includes a B.A. in Psychology and an MBA with a concentration in Marketing, both from Brock University. I am a Certified Fundraising Executive, a member of AFP, CCAE, CASE, and I enjoy presenting at conferences and mentoring fundraisers.

Husani Bastien, MIS

Husani is the co-founder of the non-profit the Centre for Human Success. He is a graduate of Sidwell Friends and George Washington University with a Masters in Information Systems.  At the National Medical Association (NMA) he helped organize, manage/create events and recruited fundraisers. He has volunteered extensively at the Children’s Inn at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda. Husani has been involved with multiple volunteer groups in the community.  He is also the founder of several startups including A2Digital and 321 AppLabs. At Charity Search Group, he manages the day-to-day operations and the technical aspects of the firm.  His entrepreneurial spirit and an eye for innovation create amazing solutions to maximize our talent outreach capabilities.

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