AFP Member Spotlight


Freddi Birdwell
Redbird Nonprofit Strategies

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As Freddi Birdwell hilariously puts it, her experience as a fundraising professional started back when “God was a boy,” but that does not keep her from approaching her work as president of Redbird Nonprofit Strategies with youthful enthusiasm. 

“It is fun when I land a new grant for a deserving nonprofit or learn that my content development has helped a great organization set new revenue records for direct appeals,” Birdwell said.


Freddil enjoys helping diverse clients that allow her to impact numerous populations, causes, and communities. Before founding Redbird, she got her start with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer where she helped with education and outreach efforts. Her excellent work there led to being recruited as a program director for the Greater Knoxville area.


“About 10 days into the job, the E.D. tells me that the board has decided she has way too much on her plate and they were gifting me with the staffing of two special events. One was their women’s golf tourney and the other was...Relay for Life,” said Birdwell.


She successfully met both challenges and over time helped grow Relay for Life into the massive event it is today. Over the next ten years her responsibilities grew steadily before family caregiving and life forced her to pause. That break was halted when Catholic Charities of East Tennessee (CCETN) made her their first ever Development Director.


“When I arrived at CCETN in March 2006, I knew a lot about some aspects of fundraising, and little or nothing about others,” Birdwell said. “I joined AFP right away, to make connections, commiserate with other small-shop development staff, and to find training and mentoring to fill in my experience gaps. My membership and active participation helped me check all those AFP boxes.”


The Member Spotlight is a recurring segment and we are always looking for new members to highlight. If you are interested in participating or know someone we should interview, please let us know!