Our History

WFRE – In 2020 we are celebrating 25 years in the Region

Waterloo Wellington Fundraising Executives was founded in 1995 by Katherine Smart and her colleague Kristen Porritt.

Katherine and Kristen shared the same vision for the organization to provide a means for Professional Fundraisers to gather for education, sharing, job opportunities and to educate their community about the important role the Fundraiser plays in their community. The fundraising profession was misunderstood so they wanted to shine a bright light on the value and impact that a Fundraising Executive can play in building resources and the capacity required to evolve the non-profit landscape. They realized that a professional group could increase the credibility, ethics, and professionalism in the not-profit sector

They started inviting their fundraising associates to brown bag lunches to network and learn from each other. They rotated lunch time meetings at the various charity offices in the region. Through these meetings they quickly met other professionals who wanted to become part of the founding board and membership Shortly thereafter they brought on Carol Taylor, Val Hall, Peter Bjerland, Robert Barrett, Sharron Chandler and Janelle Martin.

Katherine was the chair of both WFRE and the Waterloo Wellington Philanthropy Awards from 1995 – 1997. Over the years the other founding board members took on various roles.

Today the WFRE has the same vision as it did then. We continue to work hard to improve education, networking, awareness and credibility of the profession.  The WFRE Board of Directors are truly grateful for all the work that Katherine, Kristen and the group did to establish the Waterloo Wellington Fundraising Executives twenty-five years ago. Their vision and efforts set the foundation for a professional organization that has imparted knowledge, best practices and credibility towards the success of many non-profits in the region. Together, we have built a culture of philanthropy that continues to provide quality of life for all.

We want to say a big “Thank you” to everyone who has participated over the past 25 years to make this a great professional group for everyone to enjoy.