AFP Membership Scholarship Recipient: Christen Blackledge

Christen is the Special Events Manager for Kids’ Meals Inc. As the Special Events Manager, her day-to-day activities include planning and overseeing small and large in-person, and sometimes virtual, fundraising events. Christen has inspirations of earning her CFRE and growing professionally in the fundraising sector. The generous membership support allows Christen to grow professionally and better support the philanthropy sector in greater Houston. Read more below about Christen and her professional goals and how the membership scholarship supports her. 

What does having an AFP membership mean for you?
Having an AFP membership means unlocking new levels of my own potential. The chance to immerse myself in the riches the nonprofit industry offers. In 2018 when I left the corporate sector, I had no idea how in-depth and complex professional fundraising was. I did even know professional fundraising existed. My mind assumed that all fundraising was done by volunteers and apparently magical money fairies. Almost five years later, only part of my original thought remains. Fundraising for nonprofits is done by magical beings. Fundraising professionals are magical and literally have the ability, passion, and skills to make something out of nothing. Being a part of AFP fosters the space for iron to sharpen iron and for us as fundraising professionals to join forces, uplift our community, and change the world, one operating dollar at a time. Having an AFP membership means that I am committed to my craft and doing the work to be a forever student as a representative of myself, my organization, and my community.

How will having this scholarship impact your career and your work in nonprofit fundraising?
This scholarship impacts my career by allowing more of my current colleagues to have space in our small budget for professional development of their own. It has shown my leadership that, yes, I am serious about my development, but I also understand how to be resourceful and ensure that there are funds in the "professional development budget" for more of my colleagues to be able to sign up for and pay for memberships and opportunities. Also as a scholarship recipient and active member, I am able to continue to work with the various affinity groups and committees that feed into my role as a Special Events professional. Being a part of AFP also grants me access to other CFREs, which I aspire to earn one day.