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The Value of Maurice Gurin Scholarships for Fundraising Day in NY

The Value of Maurice Gurin Scholarships for Fundraising Day in NY

Chapter Leadership Brief 5.5.2023

By Maoly Hernandez Rosario, Development Intern, Columbia University School of Social Work,
Angelie Singla, LMSW, Lecturer, Columbia University School of Social Work

Liliana Cepeda, Development Coordinator at Latinas on the Verge of Excellence (L.O.V.E.), attended Fundraising Day in NY in 2022 as a Maurice Gurin Scholarship Recipient. She joined Angelie Singla and Maoly Hernandez on April 20, 2023 in a virtual meeting to discuss her participation in the Fundraising Day in NY Conference. Fundraising Day in NY is the largest single-day conference on philanthropy. There are over 1000 individuals present to share ideas, network and learn from each other through the amazing array of session topics covering every current and emerging aspect of fundraising. 

Liliana works at Latinas on the Verge of Excellence (L.O.V.E.), a nonprofit organization partnering with NYC public schools to empower young Latinas through mentorship and health education targeted at mental, reproductive, and physical care as well as college readiness. At the same time, Liliana is an undergraduate student at Baruch College, majoring in Business Management under the Entrepreneurship track.

Liliana explained that she learned about the Maurice Gurin Scholarship after the Executive Director of L.O.V.E. shared the opportunity with her. No doubt, personal recommendations are a powerful endorsement. As a newly hired Development Coordinator, Liliana felt eager to take advantage of participating in the Conference, so she applied for the scholarship. 

With a contagious smile, Liliana admitted that when she arrived at Fundraising Day in NY, she felt inexperienced about fundraising and felt curious and excited about all the topics being presented.  At the Conference she most benefited from discussions explaining what large funders prioritize in their application reviews as well as learning new application processes resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Liliana emphasized that the Conference highlighted the importance of developing stories for funders and for other people outside of the organization, and this has been most valuable in her work as a Development Coordinator at L.O.V.E. For nearly all aspects of development, Liliana shared, storytelling plays a central role. She understands people “have always been touched by numbers that can be put in a story,” explaining outputs and long-term outcomes. 

Liliana also credits the Conference with helping her realize her skills for building long-lasting meaningful connections with funders and donors. These skills, she says, are needed to be successful in fundraising. At the Conference, she learned about the importance of connecting with people and of building long-lasting relationships that have to be nurtured over time. Liliana emphasized that it is important to engage people long-term. 

When asked if she found the Conference to be inclusive, Liliana responded that Fundraising Day in NY 2022 was very inclusive and represented people of different backgrounds, allowing for amplifying various perspectives on fundraising. 

Liliana’s advice to people who are considering applying for the Maurice Gurin Scholarship is, “Do not hesitate. Just do it.” Being able to attend Fundraising Day in NY with so many knowledgeable people in the room is an invaluable experience, she added. 

After she graduates from Baruch College, Liliana plans to continue working in development as she recognizes the importance of the work at Latinas on the Verge of Excellence (L.O.V.E.). 

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