York University Foundation leader honoured by his peers

Nearly 4,000 professional fundraisers from around the world gathered In Dallas, Texas, in late March for the 44th annual Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising. During the four-day event, York University Foundation president & CEO Paul Marcus was recognized with the 2007 Community Counselling Service (CCS) Award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional.

Right: Paul Marcus (left) with Timothy Burcham, Chair of AFP

As the largest association of charitable fundraisers in the world, AFP International recognizes individuals and organizations whose achievements have made an impact on society, both nationally and internationally. Marcus has become only the second Canadian ever to win the award, after being nominated by the Greater Toronto Chapter of AFP.

The conference featured well-known speakers including record-breaking cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, actress and health & children’s charities supporter Brooke Shields, Toronto-based child rights advocate Craig Kielburger and former White House official and community leader Maria Echaveste. Attendees had access to hundreds of educational sessions and the largest exposition on fundraising and philanthropy in the world.

The CCS award, which is among the association’s highest honours, was given out during the March 27 Maurice G. Gurin Lecture on Philanthropy, named in honour of author, fundraising consultant and mentor Maurice Gurin. Marcus was then recognized at the annual AFP Awards for Philanthropy Banquet, held at The Fairmont Hotel that evening. Also on hand for the conference was Marcus’ wife Pearl and colleague Susan Mullin, vice-president, development at the York University Foundation.

"Paul Marcus is an exemplary and extraordinary fundraiser as evidenced by his professional work, creative leadership, involvement in AFP, commitment to continuing professional development, and volunteer service and support. He not only performs his job as fundraiser well, he lives a life committed to philanthropy," said William B. Hanrahan, CEO of CCS.

The founding president of the York University Foundation, Marcus was honoured on an international level for exemplifying leadership, competence, achievement and ethical standards, as well as for a commitment to philanthropy and fundraising. "It is very special to win an award for something you love to do," said Marcus.

In the past four years, since being established, the York team has doubled the University’s fundraising revenue and experienced a 63 per cent increase in donors. With the support of so many caring individuals and organizations, the "York to the Power of 50" fundraising campaign, which publicly launched in October 2006, has already achieved more than half of its $200 million goal.

"Paul Marcus knows how to connect with others, inspiring them to support important causes, and his passion for fundraising is evident not only in his career but also in his numerous volunteer efforts. AFP is pleased to honor such an extraordinary fundraiser and individual," said Paulette Maehara, president & CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Left: Pearl Marcus (left), Paul Marcus and Paulette Maehara

A lawyer by training, Marcus has long been involved in the non-profit sector. Prior to joining the York University Foundation, he served as senior vice-president of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto, where he was part of a team that raised more than $150 million in phase one of a highly successful campaign. At the time, this was the largest campaign in Canadian hospital history. He was also director of development at United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto.

His past volunteer work includes the Markham Race Relations Committee, Juvenile Justice Volunteer Program and Queen’s Legal Aid Society. He is currently a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Law Society of Upper Canada and is on the national advisory board of Philanthropic Trends, published by Ketchum Canada Inc. 

As a past board member of AFP’s Greater Toronto Chapter, Marcus has given several presentations and seminars for the organization, chaired its congress, which is Canada’s largest fundraising conference, and is currently one of two Canadians serving on AFP International’s ethics committee.

Marcus was also named 2006 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter, receiving the award on Nov. 15, 2006, at the annual awards ceremony in Toronto. (For the full story, see the Nov. 22 issue of YFile.)

This story was submitted to YFile by Earleen Dover, communications officer, York University Foundation.