We are thrilled to announce the 2021 Fundraising Day award recipients!

12 April 2021

AFP Utah is honored to recognize these outstanding development professionals. Please read on to learn more about this year's award recipients.  


Patti N. Choate Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Buma Carolyn lo      

Carolyn started her career as a public relations account manager at a local advertising agency. She quickly realized her passion for the non-profit sector spending the past 30 years in this field. Carolyn has worked as a development director at a variety of non-profits including Camp Kostopoulos, Ballet West and Fund Raising Counsel Inc. The past nearly 18 years have been at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

 Carolyn has been intimately involved in five major capital campaign building projects, as well as fundraising for various programs, initiatives, centers and institutes. She considers herself a “matchmaker” bringing together institutional needs and givers to the betterment of organizations and the individuals they serve.

 A people-person at heart, Carolyn relishes the opportunity she has had to meet extraordinary people throughout the country who wish to pay it forward to others.

 Carolyn actively volunteers in her community currently serving on the board of Larry H. Miller Charities. After being diagnosed with systemic scleroderma in 2015, she has become active in this rare disease community as co-leader of Utah’s Scleroderma Support Group and as a scleroderma mentor presenting to patients, caregivers and medical professionals nationwide. Her disease has given her personal insight into the often unseen daily struggles of those living with chronic illness and other challenges.

 Carolyn is married to Robert (Bob) Buma and has three children, two grandsons, and another grandchild on the way. While her career and volunteer roles have given her fulfillment and purpose, her greatest joy has been her family.  Carolyn’s most cherished gift has been watching her children become caring, empathetic adults who make the world around them a better place.


Carolyn Buma

Executive Director of Development

David Eccles School of BusinessUniversity of Utah



Outstanding Development Officer Award winners

 Melissa Mathews Headshot        

Melissa Mathews is the Chapter President for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Idaho, Nevada, Utah Chapter and has been with the Society for nearly six years.  Melissa is passionate about raising money, creating awareness and engaging donors, volunteers and the community in the MS movement.  She has served in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years fundraising in Utah, Illinois and Georgia, and worked with the Girl Scout organization, Utah Symphony|Utah Opera and Intermountain Healthcare.  She served on the Association of Fundraising Professionals board from 2012-2019, two of those years as Board Chair.  During her tenure as Board Chair, she worked with the board on transitioning from Utah Society of Fundraisers and creating the Association of Fundraising Professionals Utah Chapter.  In addition to AFP, Melissa has served as Vice-Chair and member of the Salt Lake Chamber Business Women’s Forum and Athena Awards Committee and an alumni of Leadership Utah with the Salt Lake Chamber.  

She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1998 from Weber State University, started her nonprofit work as a grant writer and never looked back.  Melissa currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband, three children and two pets.  When she isn’t working she is managing chaos, cooking, waiting for the Chicago Bears to win a game, reading, hiking, Pilates/yoga or watching some mindless television to escape the chaos.      


Melissa Mathews

Chapter President

National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Idaho, Nevada, Utah Chapter



 Jessica Nelsonheadshot        

Jessica Nelson is the Director of Planned Giving at the University of Utah and has been in U’s Planned Giving Office for almost 8 years.  Prior to joining the University, Jessica practiced law for two years as a general practitioner; particularly enjoying the areas of civil litigation, criminal law, and estate planning.  Jessica’s passion and interest in working in the public sector began in college at Weber State University and developed further while attending Appalachian School of Law in Virginia.  

Jessica is actively involved in the development community in and around Salt Lake City.  She is a member of the Utah State Bar and regularly participates in the Probate and Estate Planning section.  Additionally, she is a member of the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council and a member of the Utah Planned Giving Roundtable and has been serving on its board since 2016.  Jessica is also a veteran of the United States Air Force Reserve, receiving an Honorable Discharge in 2009.  Jessica enjoys travelling (when we’re not in a pandemic) with her husband.  She also has two dogs, Lulubelle Priscilla and Willie Nelson, and loves all things Disney! 


Jessica Nelson

Director of Planned Giving

University of Utah 



 Scott Olson Photo        

Scott Olson has worked in various Advancement roles at Utah State University for 26 years. Although many of those years were spent in the field of alumni relations, he made the switch to fundraising 3 years ago. This change to fundraising came easy because of his experience working with Aggie alumni worldwide. He is now the Senior Director for Principal Giving, Presidential Engagement, and Campaign Organizer at USU. He is a graduate of Utah State University and is proud to work for his alma mater.

Scott serves on the planning committee for CASE Utah, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and is currently working on his CFRE certification. He volunteers in many ways outside of work, including serving as Chair of the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau board. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family and planning his next dream vacation.


Scott Olson

Senior Director for Principal Giving,

Presidential Engagement, and Campaign Organizer

Utah State University 

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