Kimberly Gresh, president of S.A. White Oil Co., with her late father, Wally Gresh. She is the third generation of the family business (Special: S.A. White Oil Co.)

By Maria Saporta

The 2020 National Philanthropy Day will be unlike all previous Philanthropy Days.

Not surprisingly, the annual event will be an online, interactive event on Oct. 29 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the event organizer – the Greater Atlanta Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – is dedicated to honoring metro Atlanta’s philanthropic leaders and celebrating community successes during the current challenges.

The top award this year will go to Kimberly Gresh, who will be recognized as Volunteer of the Year. Gresh is president of the S.A. White Oil Co., who has led fundraising for a variety of organizations across metro Atlanta.

Kimberly Gresh, president of S.A. White Oil Co., with her late father, Wally Gresh. She is the third generation of the family business (Special: S.A. White Oil Co.)

One of her signature efforts has been the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre, a permanent fixture of the Marietta Square because of her efforts.

She also has volunteered with the Shepherd Center, liveSAFE Resources and the WellStar Foundation, raising more than $24 million in charitable gifts for all these organizations.

Gresh also serves on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America – Atlanta Area Council, Cobb Community Foundation, Sweetwater Mission, Gateway Marietta CID, MUST Ministries, the WellStar Foundation and Chattahoochee Technical College.

This will be the first year that the National Philanthropy Day event will not recognize a Philanthropist of the Year. The selected 2020 Philanthropist of the Year opted to have her honor moved to 2021 due to extenuating circumstances. The organization will announce the recipient of that award at a later time.

The theme of the 38th annual celebration is “Leading through Giving: Strength in Unity,” and it will be presented by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

The celebration will include members of the business, nonprofit, philanthropic and volunteer communities. For safety reasons, this year’s event will be produced by award-winning Atlanta production company, Living Stories, and it will be held virtually via Hopin, an all-in-one and interactive live events platform that will allow attendees to network one-on-one, watch keynote presentations, and engage with event sponsors.

The Association for Fundraising Professionals also will honor fundraising professionals and charitable organizations for the first time with three new member award categories: “Spirit of Collaboration,” “Best 2020 Pivot” and “Stellar Professionalism.”

Those recipients will be announced at a later date.

Organizers said sponsorship and ticketing levels have been adapted to accommodate the virtual platform. More details are available on the AFP Greater Atlanta website..

Maria Saporta, executive editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state. From 2008 to 2020, she wrote weekly columns...

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