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November 20, 2021| Lubbock Avalanche-Journal 

One of the toughest jobs over the past year and a half has been that of professional fundraiser as a result of the incessant headwinds of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Until only recently, personal contact has been impacted in numerous ways, making work that primarily depends on relationship-building even more challenging. As we have reported many times before, organizations have not been able to host traditional fundraising events, which, in some cases, has had a pronounced effect on budgets.

Still, the work of the fundraising professional, too often unappreciated and unnoticed, has had to continue for the many entities across Lubbock and the South Plains that depend on philanthropy as well as the natural generosity of West Texans. Despite the challenges and adversity of the past 18 months, there is still much to celebrate – especially as the Thanksgiving holiday draws near.

Those who raise money on behalf of organizations see this work not as a profession, but as a calling. Many times, the cause they represent genuinely aligns with their own passion. The work then becomes connecting potential donors with a vision that spark breath-taking generosity.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Lubbock Area Chapter took time recently to recognize the incredible work of businesses and individuals during its 25th Annual National Philanthropy Day event at the Louise Underwood Hopkins Center for the Arts.

  “National Philanthropy Day is the day we recognize and pay tribute to the philanthropists who have given their time and gifs to advance the philanthropy that embodies the Lubbock community,” Dean Verner Loehr, president of the local chapter, said in our recent story. “This year’s honorees represent some of the outstanding philanthropies in the Lubbock area.”

Those honored at this year’s event were the Alderson Auto Group as Outstanding Corporation; the R.H. Pickering Family Foundation as Outstanding Foundation; Lynn Owens as the Outstanding Fundraising Professional; Robert C. Taylor Jr. as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Leslie Moss as Outstanding Volunteer; and Matthew Noel as Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy.

Perhaps several of those recognized will come as no surprise. The Alderson Auto Group has been involved in philanthropy and community service for decades, supporting causes and sharing with numerous regional organizations. Likewise, Taylor, the recently retired CEO of United Supermarkets, has been a longtime local philanthropic presence and was most recently one of the driving forces in bringing the Tornado Memorial Gateway Project to life.

The Pickering Foundation, meanwhile, also has supported numerous local causes through the years while. Owens has had significant impact as a vice president of the Lubbock Area United Way, tirelessly leading efforts that have helped raise almost $80 million in the past 14 years. Moss has demonstrated the same sustained commitment as a Covenant Children’s volunteer for nearly 15 years.

One name that might not be as familiar is that of young Matthew Noel, a ninth-grader in the Frenship ISD who used the yearly Lemonade Day fundraising initiative to launch his own philanthropy and make a difference in the lives of others.

Undoubtedly, this has been a lengthy and challenging season for fundraising professionals, making their successful efforts all the more meaningful for the community. It is also another reminder of the inexhaustible generosity of the people of West Texas, who have never met a need they couldn’t respond to with urgency and abundance.

We congratulate not only those recognized, but also all of those who take on the vital community work of fundraising that contributes mightily to the quality of life enjoyed by all.

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