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Congratulations to Elsa Gomes Bondlow, the 2015 planMGO Fellowship Recipient

elsa g gomes

The opportunity to attend planMGO would allow me to be in a fundraising learning environment, exposed to others with more development experience, sharing knowledge and ideas mutually beneficial to everyone’s professional growth. I am eager to continually learn more about working with donors, achieving goals, conducting successful asks, and developing winning stewardship strategies.

My journey into the development field started with a strong interest in politics and the desire to help large groups of people solve complex problems. I soon realized that through politics I wasn’t going anywhere fast in achieving my goal, but through philanthropy I could achieve a lot more and have a broader and long-lasting impact in a range of issues I cared about. My interest in fundraising stems from the understanding that one person can and should make a difference. My strategy is that I will raise funds and awareness, convince, ask others to join me in the mission I support, therefore multiplying my efforts and sustaining the cause.

Born to Cape Verdean immigrant parents in Lisbon, Portugal, I grew up in a low-income but very generous family. Fortunately, thanks to them, also to great American mentors guiding me to a university in California, and generous donors who contributed to my education I ended up coming to the US.

My educational and professional experience has led me to my current position as Director of Development at the MIRA Coalition, the largest statewide advocacy organization representing the rights of the foreign born. Previously, I worked in Major Gifts at Tufts University, during the depths of the economic crisis of 2008. While at Tufts, I also successfully ran my first Boston Marathon, individually raising $3000 for the school. Prior, I worked for almost eight years as a Development and Communications Specialist in a non-profit health and social services organization, the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers.

I believe this PLAN-MGO Fellowship could really assist me to learn more about raising major gifts for the financially strapped organizations I normally work for, that struggle with developing, but could benefit so much from, major gifts fundraising programs, amongst so many other priorities and needs.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to be selected as an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) MA Diversity Program Fellow. I was paired with an amazing mentor and networked with a variety of top advancement professionals. Since then and as a way to give back, I have volunteered every year in 3 Committees for the AFP: the Education Committee, the Conference Committee as Vice Chairperson, of Management & Logistics in 2013 and currently as a recently appointed Diversity Committee Co-Chair, helping to recruit, encourage and support racial or ethnically diverse individuals, underrepresented in the development field. In this increasingly global world donors are changing and becoming more diverse, having fundraisers reflect that evolution is a benefit to this field and to any cause.

PLAN-MGO takes place April 10-13, 2015. Seating is limited. To register go to

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