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Fundraising Professionals Honor NDNU Professor Michael Elkins

(Click here to view the video news release about the AFP award and the 25th anniversary of The Gift)

Belmont, CA, November 16, 2010 — Professor Michael Elkins, chair of the Notre Dame de Namur University Department of Theatre and Dance, and two others with ties to the university will be honored by the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at a luncheon this Friday, November 19.

The association’s “Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year” award recognizes Elkins for his leadership in generating donations of food and toys over the Christmas holidays for the last 24 years, during which he, along with other community members, has organized and produced a musical version of Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol: The Gift. The show is shown free to the public in the NDNU Theatre; patrons are asked only to bring a donation of food or a new toy. This year will mark the 25 anniversary of The Christmas Carol: The Gift.

The AFP is also honoring one of NDNU’s major donors and recipient of an NDNU honorary doctorate, Lorry I. Lokey, founder and former CEO of Business Wire, as the “Silicon Valley Community Foundation Outstanding Philanthropist.” In addition, NDNU alumna Annelys Farrell, former Western Regional Director with the Alzheimer Association of Mountain View, has been named “Outstanding Professional Fundraiser.”

The AFP award notes that since the annual production of Christmas Carol: The Gift began in 1986, Elkins has donated well over 12,000 hours to coordinate the efforts of 130 volunteer actors and stage crew involved in the production. In that time the production has been seen by more than 100,000 people who have donated well over 48 tons of food and more than 20,000 toys. The donations go to several area agencies including Second Harvest and the Toys for Tots program.

“It is an honor for me to receive this award but Christmas Carol: the Gift is really the result of a community effort that has involved hundreds of people over the years, from NDNU students to local actors and residents who have ranged in age from eight years old to eighty,” said Elkins. “For me the real honor has been to work with, and share this experience with these amazing people.”

Over the years, Elkins has received awards and commendations from two California Governors, one U.S. Senator, three U.S. Congressmen, three State Assemblymen, and many local officials.   He has received hundreds of letters of thanks from local non-profits.  Elkins will receive his award on National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 19th, at the Santa Clara County Convention Center.