Dave Gierke began his professional fundraising career in 2002, three years after the Toledo School for the Arts opened its doors, as a part-time Development Director and Percussion Instructor. In 2004, he hung up his drums to focus on development full-time, overseeing all giving campaigns, program underwriting and fundraisers for the school.

When Dave first started, TSA raised approximately $20,000 a year. The school had no formal development program, so Dave – nearly single-handedly – created one from scratch. After training at the Indiana University’s Fundraising School and earning his Certificate in Fund Raising Management, Dave has successfully increased TSA’s annual development income to some $600,000. Dave also expanded the TSA Development Department to include three full-time and one part-time fundraisers, plus a part-time consultant for grant writing.

In addition to raising significant funds annually for the general operating budget, in February 2016, Dave successfully concluded TSA’s major capital campaign for Technology, Arts & Industry (TAI). TSA’s general operating goal over the last three years has been approximately $600,000. The TAI capital campaign reached its goal of $1.5 million just 18 months into a planned 3-year campaign.

Dave’s work has contributed to the creation of new and expanding areas of study at TSA including film, sound recording, and fashion design. Dave was also instrumental in developing all of TSA’s social enterprise efforts, for which TSA and students are paid for student performances at public and private events; and for consulting with charter schools creating new fundraising programs and events. As a result of his efforts and reputation, TSA has been engaged numerous times to consult with new and forming community school boards in Ohio, Michigan and Texas.

Yet, Dave doesn’t see himself as a fundraiser. “Seeing young people express themselves through art is the most rewarding part of my work,” he said. “Students at TSA are empowered to change the world, and they leave here with the confidence to do so.” And that’s the true impact of Dave’s work.

“His genuine love for the school and its mission is readily apparent to the many contacts he makes throughout the community, which has translated into a greatly increased donor base over the last 15 years,” said Robert Koenig, who nominated Dave for the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award.

The award will be presented to Dave at the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Northwest Ohio Chapter’s 30th Annual National Philanthropy Day celebration.

The National Philanthropy Day event, which will be held on November 9, 2017 from 11 am – 1:30 pm at Premier Banquet Hall in Toledo, is a community celebration of the philanthropic spirit and practice that results when we work together to “Change the World with a Giving Heart.” Space is limited to 500 guests, so those who would like to attend are encouraged to reserve their tickets now. Reservations can be made online at AFPNWO.org or by calling 330-329-2472.

About Association of Fundraising Professionals – Northwest Ohio Chapter

The Northwest Ohio (NWO) Chapter of AFP is an inclusive and diverse community of more than 125 fundraising professionals from 78 nonprofits and 9 consulting firms in 15 counties throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan whose nonprofits raise more than $277 million dollars annually. Members and their institutions abide by a Code of Ethics and Donor Bill of Rights to ensure that funds are raised and stewarded ethically to benefit people within our community, thus strengthening public trust in philanthropy.


About National Philanthropy Day®

National Philanthropy Day® (NPD), observed internationally around November 15th, is an international celebration of the countless contributions individuals and organizations make every day to benefit their communities and enrich our world. NPD was originally conceived of and organized by Douglas Freeman in the 1980s, and President Reagan signed the official NPD proclamation in 1986. Last year, more than 130 AFP chapters held NPD events and activities across North America.