Connecting with Carol Borgmann, 2019 Professional Achievement Award Recipient


June 27, 2019 

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Pulling the Curtain Back with Carol

Carol Borgmann, CFRE, CPGS receives the 2019 Professional Achievement Award from Abbey Norris, Advancement Northwest President-Elect, at the
June 7 Award Luncheon at the Forum on Strategic Fundraising. 
Image: Jonathan Vanderweit

Given her 30+ years as a dancer and a fundraiser, it is no surprise that 2019 Professional Achievement Award recipient Carol Borgmann, CFRE, CPGS exemplifies grace and graciousness.

“I want to help people do their best work,” she says. “I try to find a place where I can provide the most benefit.”

A member of AFP Advancement Northwest since 2005, Carol served on the board for six years and also volunteers her time with the Washington Planned Giving Council.

“What drives me is connectivity,” she says. “For me, right now at Advancement Northwest, that is the mentor program.” Carol has long been a champion of mentoring – “whether it’s a coffee date or a longer-term agreement” – and cites the role Advancement Northwest has played in her own life by connecting her to valued peers. “I am energized by my colleagues who are lifelong learners, who embrace new ideas and incorporate them into their work. I try to be the same way.”

After a childhood in St. Louis, MO, Carol moved to New York City to audition for the Joffrey Ballet. She danced her way from the Big Apple to Chicago down to Florida and then over to LA where she auditioned for Kent Stowell, who offered her a chance to come to Seattle and join Pacific Northwest Ballet. At PNB, at the time, dancers needed to supplement their dance incomes with second jobs. Carol was offered a position in the development department and so began her dual career path.

In 1982, Carol co-founded Spectrum Dance Theater with other local dancers and choreographers. Concurrently, she moved to Seattle Symphony, working her way up to become the Director of Annual Fund and Capital Campaign. What she learned by day at the Symphony, she put into practice by night at Spectrum as they built a new nonprofit dance company. “It was a labor of love,” she recalls. “I started to realize that fundraising was a profession with best practices.”

Being a member of Advancement Northwest has helped Carol see the larger landscape of our nonprofit community and to be grateful for the organizations with which she has worked. “Lakeside was founded on a philanthropic premise,” she says of the school where she has been Director of Major and Planned Giving since 2004. “This is a place of abundance and possibility. I never take that for granted.”

When thinking about what advice she would give a younger colleague starting a new position, she says, “Listen to what leadership is saying and to what your new team is saying. Are they saying the same thing? Ask questions. Are the Board and ED involved in fundraising? Is the DD part of the leadership team?”

Carol is hopeful about the current fundraising climate and the future of our profession. “Advancement Northwest plays a big role in helping all these leaders be good at what they are doing,” she says. “Getting the tools and the inspiration to do what we do…that makes my heart happy.”

Advancement Northwest congratulates Carol Borgmann on this well-deserved honor. Recipients of the Professional Achievement Award are nominated by their peers.

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