Great Smoky Mountain Chapter

2020 National Philanthropy Day

Since 1989, your Great Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals has recognized the extraordinary contributions of individuals, businesses, and foundations who have enriched our community through their time, talent, and gifts. As President Reagan stated in 1986 when he officially sanctioned National Philanthropy Day, “Our tradition of volunteerism embodies a great deal of caring, initiative, and ingenuity in solving problems and improving our communities. It is one of our greatest strengths as a people.”

Never has this been truer than in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused disruption, fear, uncertainty and even chaos in ways our current workforce has never experienced. But out of the pandemonium heroes have emerged. The volunteer who took on a problem as their own. The company that created a special COVID-19 relief fund. The foundation that totally changed their funding guidelines in order to address immediate needs. Perhaps it was the donor who called and asked, “How can I help?” And then wrote a check.

Obviously, the health pandemic has caused us all to cancel our in-person events but rather than cancel National Philanthropy Day 2020 or turn it into a virtual event, your Great Smoky Mountain Chapter Board of Directors is partnering with Rustic Roots Creative and WVLT Television to produce and air a documentary showcasing the East Tennessee heroes who have emerged amid the health crisis. This special broadcast will premiere on the week of November 9th on MyVLT and will feature stories and interviews of the people who responded when regional nonprofits were impacted by COVID-19.

In keeping with our 31-year history of celebrating East Tennessee philanthropy, we invite you to submit nominations now for the following categories:

Outstanding Philanthropist                                                             

This award will be presented to an individual or family who gave in a significant way in response to a direct need that resulted from the pandemic. Shutdowns, funding delays - so many factors caused organizations tremendous challenges delivering their work. Nominate a special person or family who responded with exceptional generosity to ensure that your constituents continued to be served.


Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

This award will be presented to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in recruiting, coordinating and motivating volunteers during the pandemic. This volunteer’s leadership helped maintain your organization’s financial health and keep the community involved in your work. By generously giving of his/her time and talents, this person made a measurable impact on the community and the advancement of philanthropy.

Corporate Philanthropist of the Year

This award will be presented to a local business, corporation, and community of faith or civic organization who demonstrated exceptional community spirit by establishing a special COVID-19 support fund or adjusting their community support guidelines to help address our area’s greatest needs. This organization has demonstrated a commitment to the goals of building a better community for all citizens through contributions and, when possible, volunteer engagement.

Outstanding Foundation

This award will be presented to a local foundation who has demonstrated the ability to pivot their operations to meet the immediate crisis needs in our community caused by the coronavirus. Through their generosity and tenacity, they encouraged and motivated organizations to be strong, stay the course, and continue working to achieve their mission.

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy

This award will be presented to an individual or group of young people, age 23 or younger, who, in spite of the challenges of a health pandemic, found ways to lead voluntary fundraising efforts to help a local organization achieve its mission. Through their actions, they demonstrated the spirit of philanthropy and set an example for others to follow.

NEW! The Ingenuity Award

We are suspending the Fundraising Professional of the Year award this year so that we can instead recognize nonprofit leadership who demonstrated ingenuity in the face of crisis. The coronavirus made us all stop our regular operations. But needs continued. The Ingenuity Award will recognize local leadership who found new ways to achieve their mission. Particularly important is to share how philanthropy helped foster this innovative approach.


Submission Requirements:

  1. Only AFP Great Smoky Mountain Chapter members may nominate a candidate(s) for an NPD award. Not a member? A scholarship opportunity is currently open until August 4. Click Here

  2. Members may nominate in more than one category.

  3. If your honoree(s) is chosen, you agree to:

    1. Notify the honoree(s)

    2. Schedule the honoree(s) to attend one of three video production days

    3. Attend the video production with your honoree(s)

    4. Promote NPD televised broadcast through your organization’s communication channels including website, social media and eblasts.

  4. Submissions should not exceed two pages; 12pt font; 1.5 line spacing.

  5. Deadline for submission: September 2, 2020

  6. Submit to:; you will receive a confirmation of receipt.

  7. Questions? Contact:; 865-523-3539, ext. 115