A member of the Fresno Pacific University Advancement team has been named 2016 Fundraising Professional of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, California Central Valley Chapter.

Karin Chao-Bushoven, director of major gifts, will be honored during the Central California celebration of National Philanthropy Day Thursday, November 10, 2016, at The Falls Event Center, 4105 W. Figarden Dr., Fresno. The awards luncheon begins at noon, capping a morning of activities including a workshop by Jay Frost, senior partner at Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners and president of donor research company FundraisingInfo.com. Frost will speak at the luncheon. More on the event and a complete list of honorees at afpcavalley.afpnet.org/Content.cfm?ItemNumber=14709&navItemNumber=5337

Chao-Bushoven began her professional career following her studies in biochemistry at UCLA and in neuroscience at Brown University. After Brown, she served on NASA’s Challenger Center grant evaluation team working on several NASA-STEM programs for inner-city youths.

During this period, Chao-Bushoven also had the privilege to work directly with Brenda Dann-Messier, Ed.D., currently the United States Assistant Secretary of Education. Together, they founded Providence Rhode Island’s Federal Even Start Literacy Program, partnering with Senator Patrick Kennedy.

Following her work with Messier, Chao-Bushoven was recruited to revive and subsequently lead the Boston Public Library’s literacy education programs—serving Boston’s economically challenged communities. This program has since been lauded as an American Library Association’s model literacy program.

Re-locating to California in 2005, when her husband, John, accepted a faculty position at California State University, Fresno, where he is now the chair of the plant science department. Chao-Bushoven established California’s first CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) education program for foster children. Her success led to her appointment to the National Conference Planning Committee for Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, based in Washington, D.C.

Chao-Bushoven then served as the Fresno Philharmonic’s fund development director. During those years, her fondest memories were working with the board and donors to increase donations and to firmly establish the philharmonic’s education program, which serves more than 10,000 students annually. Her fundraising expertise was also instrumental to establishing a successful philanthropy program at University High School, one of U.S.’s top charter schools.

Her work at FPU is under the leadership of Mark Isaac, vice president for advancement and university relations. She executes a long-term strategic team-approach across academic programs—from nursing, to arts, to athletics scholarships. Chao-Bushoven credits her FPU family for the inspiration to advance the university and donors’ charitable visions.

In her nomination letter, Sandra Flores, former senior program director, Central Valley Community Foundation, noted, “Fund development is an art and there are very few gifted artists in the fundraising sector. Karin is one of the rare few and she’s brilliant at it; she doesn’t just raise money, she authentically connects with people and cares about her community and organizations’ missions.”

Other winners with FPU connections

AFP has also recognized a number of other FPU donors, volunteers and current and former staff and faculty:

Outstanding Fundraising Professional: Linda Calandra, former director of annual giving, 2011; Mark Deffenbacher, executive director of the FPU Foundation, 2005; Joan Minasian, director of annual giving, 2003; and Bud Dickerson, director of major gifts, 2001.

Outstanding Philanthropic Organization: Leon S. Peters Foundation, 1989.

Outstanding Philanthropist: Bill and Linda Smittcamp, 2014; Ted and Joyce Smith, 2012; Nadene and Marvin Steinert, 2011; Al and Dottie Warkentine, 2006; Larry A. Shehadey, 2003; Coke and James Hollowell, 1995; William M. Lyles, 1992; and Earl Smittcamp, 1991.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Scott and Deborah Leonard and Larry and Paula Warkentine, both 2009.

Distinguished Achievement Award: Bob Croft, SPIRIT 89.9 Radio, 2012; and Arthur J. Wiebe, 2002.




Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations