The Jennifer Bielat Legacy Scholarship Fund
The Nonprofit Alliance Foundation honors the legacy of TNPA board member and longtime industry advocate Jennifer Bielat. Jennifer’s volunteer roles with various industry associations always prioritized education and training and the invaluable professional networking that comes along with it. She brought that passion to her board role with TNPA, and she lived these values in how she led her teams.
The Jennifer Bielat Legacy Fund, which launched in September 2023, will help underwrite professional development expenses (registration and travel) for emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector. Support of the Legacy Fund will open the door for deserving mid-tier professionals and future executives to participate in events including, but not limited to, TNPA’s Rising Leaders Summit.
Applications for scholarship funding will be available to all TNPA members beginning in 2024.
Jennifer passed away on August 2, 2023, at 57, following a brief illness. She was a fundraising industry champion, as evidenced by her long list of industry volunteer roles with organizations like DMA (now ANA) Nonprofit Federation, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, DMEF/Marketing EDGE, and most recently, her seat on The Nonprofit Alliance’s board of directors. She committed much of her career to promoting and protecting the mechanics of connecting everyday givers with world-changing organizations and strengthening the expertise of her fellow direct response fundraisers.
Jennifer’s career spanned both sides of the client and agency partnership. She spent two decades with Easterseals, Inc., where she led the organization in a brand renaissance to bring greater clarity and relevance to the nearly 100-year-old brand. Under her leadership, the direct response channels, digital and mail, raised more than $32 million annually for the organization and served as a critical pipeline for other development areas, including planned giving and major gift development. She took her intimate knowledge and understanding of nonprofit management to her role as executive vice president, client strategy, with Pursuant, developing strategic solutions in integrated marketing and communications strategy, comprehensive direct response strategy and execution, digital marketing and fundraising, and nonprofit leadership.
She led by example; many nonprofit fundraising professionals sought to emulate her. Her unflappable grace under pressure. Her gift for thoughtful listening and dialogue. Her sensible approach to operationalizing fundraising strategies that organizations could rely on year in and year out. The authenticity she brought to her roles, leading teams and uplifting colleagues. The value she placed on creating solid stepping stones for younger professionals coming behind her.
She was known for her ability to see through the sparkle and sizzle and boil down a problem, or an opportunity, to something actionable. That’s what made her successful in her long tenure at Easterseals, and so valued in her agency role with Pursuant. Jennifer chose to stay in positions long enough to make deep and lasting differences. She generously gave her time and expertise to make the industry and the work that nonprofit fundraisers do better, more effective, and more accountable.
Jennifer was a wife and a mom. She was a colleague and a friend, an influencer and a fighter. She leaves a legacy that those who love her can be proud of, and those who had the exceptional good fortune of working with her must now pick up and carry forward.
Your donation to The Nonprofit Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)3, is a tax-deductible charitable contribution.
Sometimes you never know where your career path will take you. More than two decades ago, I accepted a job within the nonprofit sector and fell in love not only with the mission of the great organization, but also with direct response as a marketing discipline. I continue to get the oxygen that fuels my energy and innovation from the ability to test and improve results for amazing organizations that are making the world a better place. Everyday I am blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference…and that’s why I LOVE what I do! – Jennifer Bielat