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Fundraising Legend and Icon Jerry Panas Passes Away

July 18, 2018

Jerold “Jerry” Panas, founder of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners and fundraising author, presenter, teacher and icon, has passed away. Because of the prominence of his firm and the impact of his writing, there are few who have had a greater influence in the history of the profession.

Since Panas started it in 1968, his consulting firm has served over 3,800 clients around the world. The firm has provided campaign services for the University of Oxford (UK), Forman Christian College (Pakistan), the American Hospital in Paris, France; the American College of Greece in Athens; Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos in Cuernavaca, Mexico— the largest orphanage in the world; the American British Hospital in Mexico City; and over a hundred organizations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

His 20 books are considered the most significant in the field, and Asking is the largest selling in the history of fundraising. He also shared his knowledge in countless professional presentations. By directly helping charities to raise more money and by educating fundraising professionals, Panas has touched the lives, both directly and indirectly, of countless people around the globe. His impact on the nonprofit sector and on the lives of people in general has been profound.

Panas was executive vice president of Westminster College in Princeton, New Jersey. Before that, he was executive for administration and finances for the National Council of YMCAs, responsible for the work and development of 400 associations on the East Coast.

He was co-founder and chairman of the board of the Institute for Charitable Giving, one of the most significant providers of training in philanthropy. He was also a Life Trustee of the American College of Greece and a member of the Board of the Council of Independent Colleges.

AFP Chair’s Award

In 2014, AFP recognized Panas with its special Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service. In his comments, Bob Carter, CFRE, chair of AFP at the time, said this of Panas:

“The Chair’s Award is a special recognition that is given out only on a few occasions for exceptional services to AFP, fundraising and the entire philanthropic community. Lyle Cook, one of our fundraising pioneers, was the first to receive the award in 1982, and other luminaries who have received it include Brian O’Connell, Claude Grizzard, Jimmie Alford, Hank Goldstein, Charles Stephens and Don Campbell.

“Tonight, that incredible pantheon grows with an individual who is synonymous with fundraising and has left an incredible legacy through his words and writing that will never be forgotten.

“I’m speaking of course of Jerry Panas.

“If you’ve just heard of Jerry, it’s probably because of his books. To say he’s an accomplished writer is a huge understatement. He is, in many ways, THE writer of fundraising. He’s written or co-written so many amazing volumes. But they’re not just any books. They’re classics. At least three of them— Mega Gifts, Born to Raise and Asking—are books that every fundraiser needs to read, and probably most of you have. Of course, Jerry would tell you that you need to read ALL his books. And you probably should! His work forms one of the foundations of our profession.

“But to think of Jerry as just an author is to severely underestimate him and what he’s done for fundraising. He is an incredibly accomplished fundraiser. The ideas in his books didn’t just spring out of nowhere—he preaches in his books what he practices in the field. His firm is one of the most well-known fundraising institutions anywhere. He has helped thousands of organizations around the world learn how to raise funds. He has probably forgotten more about fundraising than most of us will ever learn.

“It’s not often you get to honor a legend. And it’s my great pleasure to introduce a legend of fundraising, and the recipient of the 2014 Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service, Mr. Jerry Panas!”