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 FAHP: Philanthropy - Alive and Growing in...


Steve West


   I have been back in Korea for three weeks and have become even more impressed with the philanthropic efforts that are being made throughout the country.  It’s nice to be here again and see many of the people I met last fall.


   Many of you are probably asking, “Who is this man and why is he back in Korea?”


   I have spent more than 35 years in fund raising in the US.  I have been active in both the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).  During my many years as a member of AHP, I have achieved the status of Fellow (FAHP), the highest certification in the profession.  I have also been a speaker at various regional and international conferences, have been a faculty member at the AHP Institute, served on the national board for six years and had the honor of serving as Chair of AHP in 1991.


   While I enjoy my work and have had some great experiences, I also enjoy the experience of trying new and exciting things for recreation.  I have gone sky diving, driven a stock car, been a semi-professional magician, in addition to playing golf and scuba diving.  And when I really want to relax I like to play the piano and read.


   Oh, yes, back to why I am in Korea.  I wanted to move to a country where I could use my skills to help others.  Korea became one of my choices.  After researching the history of the country, its economy, its culture and the role of nonprofits, Korea moved to the top of my list.  I wanted to see what was going on in the Korean nonprofit world, so last fall I traveled to Korea for a couple of months.


   During my travels I met fund raisers, consultants and had the opportunity to visit various universities and hospitals.  I heard about the growing role of philanthropy in the country.  I could see the desire people have to begin involving others through philanthropy so the mission of their organization can be sustained in the future.


   During my trip, I visited many times with Bekay Ahn, whom many of you know.  Bekay, a Korean American, has been back in his native country for over five years helping individuals learn fund raising as well as helping nonprofits with their vision for the future.  And now, here I am helping Bekay and the International Council for Nonprofit Management (ICNPM).


   During the past five years, Bekay has trained nearly 3,000 people in philanthropy and fund raising.  For most of these individuals, this has been their first exposure to the art of fund raising.  For many of the organizations attending his class, their organization’s fund raising journey is just beginning and they want to learn more.


   Being a part of ICNPM gives me the opportunity to assist people like you.  I want to hear about the good work your organization is doing and to hear about the challenges you face day in and day out and how.  I want to know how ICNPM can help your organization achieve its necessary fund raising goals and objectives, ultimately for the benefit of the people your organization serves.


   In the US, philanthropy has been a part of everyone’s lives for many decades.  Other countries such as Canada, Great Britain and Australia have modeled many of their giving programs after those in the US.  Other countries throughout the world have been known for giving to their churches and temples along with helping their neighbors, but these countries, like Korea, are now looking at giving in a different manner.  Nonprofits are becoming more important.  There is vitality in the ones that I’ve seen.  And there is an interest to involve youth in philanthropy.  Just imagine what Korea can do as this younger generation gets older, has participated in philanthropic activities when they were younger and understands the importance of their continued participation and personal giving.


   My plan is to be here for many years.  To assist you and your organizations sharing the philosophies and concepts that have helped me to raise millions of dollars for those organizations I have been privileged to serve.  I look forward to being part of the bright future of Korea and its nonprofits as they work to achieve their missions in serving the Korean people whether it be through education, arts, health or other areas of the nonprofit sector.




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