Meet Laurence Jahns – AFP Member Since 1988

“The AFP is the perfect venue to learn and share best practices”

By Susan J. Fields CFRE

From as early as he can remember, Lars Jahns knew he would devote his life to a career in the nonprofit sector and helping others. “I grew up in a small blue collar town in Wisconsin, where people took care of one another.  And in our family, public service took precedence over income aspirations.  I guess it just became part of my DNA.”  As a child he worked on charity carnivals, volunteered for Muscular Dystrophy, and collected money for Trick or Treat for UNICEF.

Fast forward almost three decades, and Lars is the Senior Vice President for Advancement at Robin Hood—New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization—where he founded the development department, which today raises $175 million annually.  Over the past 25 years, he has raised over    $1 billion to advance social justice, higher education, health reform, and the arts. The organizations he has worked for include Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Rockefeller University, American Film Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ravinia Festival.

Lars joined the AFP—then known as the NSFRE—when he attended their educational programs in Washington DC in 1988.  A year later he signed up for  Fundraising Day in NYC and was hooked. “In those years, fundraising wasn’t considered to be a real profession with formalized training. It was the AFP that provided the venue for learning and the exchange of ideas with other professionals. They provided me with the support and information I needed to maximize my effectiveness as a fundraiser and social advocate.”

When asked why he has maintained his membership over the past 28 years, he unabashedly admits, “The AFP made me a better fundraiser and a better person!”

Laurence Jahns will be a panelist at 2016 Fundraising Day in NYC discussing “Current Trends in Philanthropy” with Margaret Holman. Click the link below to register for this outstanding and informative event.

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Susan J. Fields, CFRE, the author of this profile, has served in the nonprofit sector for 30 years. A former English teacher, she worked in the major gifts department of the United Jewish Appeal and later served as Director of Institutional Advancement at Holy Cross High School in Flushing. Susan is currently a writer and communications specialist.  It is interesting to note that Mrs. Fields has been a member of the AFP since 1993 and found her position at Holy Cross through the AFP job bank in 1994.

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