Wednesday, 07 June 2023 21:04

Congratulations to the 2023 Fundraising Day Award Recipients

Biannually, the AFP Utah Chapter recognizes four fundraising professionals at the Fundraising Day Conference for the Patti N. Choate Award and the Outstanding Development Professional Award. The Patti N. Choate Award recognizes the lifetime achievement in the fundraising profession and is granted to the individual based on success and longevity in fundraising and service to AFP Utah and the community. The Outstanding Development Professional Award is given to three development professionals who have exhibited exceptional skill and effectiveness in their roles as fundraising professionals.

Congratulations to the 2023 Award Recipients:

Patti N. Choate Lifetime Achievement Award: 

Andrea Barnes

Andrea Barnes

Andrea Barnes has had the pleasure of working in a career where she could tangibly impact her communities on a daily basis.  With a master's in Fine Arts Administration, she started working in Utah's robust fine arts community which shaped her and gave her courage to ask for worthy causes. She has raised millions of dollars for all phases of education, from early childhood through higher education.  She worked to support medical institutions, social service agencies, local, national and international organizations as both a development officer and executive director.  She has worked for independent non-profit agencies as well as championing international corporate foundations.  She has worked in every phase of fundraising from Annual Giving to Special Events to Capital Campaigns. She has her own consulting firm supporting dozens of non-profit organizations and has written a book to instruct those new to the profession about the art and science of raising money.   Keen on building the profession, Andrea has also produced two independent, international conferences focusing on world-class charities and best practices in raising money.


Outstanding Development Professional Awards:


Dhiraj Chand

With over 14 years of experience in higher education leadership, Dhiraj has expertise in principal and major gift fundraising, campaign planning and strategy, corporate and foundation relations, board development, cross-sector collaboration, and strategic communications. As the Deputy Chief Philanthropy Officer for Principal Gifts at the University of Utah, he is a member of the University Advancement Leadership Team and focuses on generating philanthropic support for presidential initiatives at the University of Utah and University of Utah Health.

Dhiraj is passionate about anti-racism and DEIB, and actively collaborates on solutions-based initiatives to ensure that all students have access to and through higher education.

Previously, Dhiraj worked with diverse student programs within the offices of Student Affairs and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Utah Chapter of the ACLU, Pioneer Theatre Company, and UtahPresents. Dhiraj recently co-chaired the Equality Utah Allies Gala and served as the board chair for the Rape Recovery Center. He enjoys consulting with non-profit organizations to help maximize their fundraising potential. He is a "nerd" at heart and in his spare time, he appreciates attending live theatre, singing along to Bollywood movies, reading trashy magazines, and karaoke-ing!


Laura LeachLaura Leach

Laura Leach works with Wasatch Community Gardens many generous individual donors and corporate sponsors, a committed corps of supporters who provide essential funds to carry out Wasatch Community Gardens' mission. She derives great pleasure from introducing supporters, new and long-standing, to the many facets of Wasatch Community Gardens' work, where gardening and urban agriculture are deployed to build community and affect social change. 

Laura grew up in England and comes from a long line of women gardeners. She studied horticulture in California and at New York Botanical Gardens, School of Professional Horticulture, worked as a gardener and, later, a fundraiser at public gardens in New York and Maryland. Laura is a beekeeper, enjoys hiking in the mountains, and, of course, working in her own garden. She relocated to Utah with her family in 2016, and will be moving to Arizona later this year.


Linda StayLinda Stay

Linda Stay currently serves as the Development Director at Switchpoint Community Resource Center headquartered in St George, Ut. Linda has a passion for advocating and giving a voice to marginalized communities and has worked in the non-profit sector since 2011.  Her expertise is in marketing communications, fundraising and ‘loving on’ the underserved.  

You will most likely see her with her husband, Steve who marches beside her in their quest to make all feel seen and valued. Together Linda & Steve have 9 children and 11 grandchildren, whom they can’t get enough of. 

Linda’s driving force is depicted in a quote by Albert Einstein  “Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes - goodwill among men and peace on earth.”