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National Philanthropy Day

Date(s) - Thu, Nov 3, 2022
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Location: Southern Exchange Ballrooms - Map

National Philanthropy Day Returns In-Person November 3 to Metro Atlanta

40th annual celebration honors Shan Cooper, Ann Q. Curry, and Mary Ellen Imlay at Southern Exchange Ballroom 


The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Atlanta Chapter will host its 40th annual National Philanthropy Day (NPD) celebration at the Southern Exchange Ballrooms on November 3, 2022, sponsored by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

National Philanthropy Day celebrates the power of community by bringing together business, civic, foundation, nonprofit, and volunteer leaders throughout Atlanta. Attendees will be engaged by keynote speakers, presentations, and networking opportunities with sponsors and partners. 

2022 Honorees

Mary Ellen Imlay is this year’s Philanthropist of the Year honoree. Mary Ellen Imlay is Chairman and President of The Imlay Foundation, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Imlay Investments, Inc. 

Mary Ellen has been active in the Atlanta non-profit community for many years having previously served on the Boards of the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Volunteers in Medicine of Hilton Head, South Carolina, along with the Art Advisory Council for the City of Brookhaven. Mary Ellen currently serves on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation Board of Trustees, Georgia Public Broadcasting Board of Directors, and Historic Oakland Foundation Campaign Committee and Advisory Board. Mary Ellen was honored by Fernbank Museum of Natural History as the Honorary Chair of the 2020 Timeless Affair gala, and as the honoree for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 2018 Hope and Will Ball. 

A native Georgian from Decatur, Mary Ellen attended Furman University and Georgia State University. She gained business experience with Management Science America, Dun & Bradstreet Software, and Imlay Investments, Inc., founded by her late husband, John P. Imlay, Jr. 

Together, John and Mary Ellen committed themselves to supporting Atlanta non-profits through The Imlay Foundation, established in 1989. The Foundation partners with non-profit organizations across the Atlanta region, investing in the work of people whose empathy, passion and hard work seek to create a better community for each and every member. Beginning with her appointment as a Board Member, Executive Director, President, and Chairman, Mary Ellen has poured her energy into active leadership of the family foundation for 28 years, and is currently engaged in developing a path to philanthropic leadership for the third generation of family members. As detailed through her years of generosity, Mary Ellen’s philanthropy is strategic and inspirational, driven by her personal and professional belief that people are the key to creating better communities. She is deeply committed to a philanthropy that honors equity and inclusion in our communities, and is extraordinarily dedicated to grantmaking that makes a profound difference for an organization at a particular point in time, motivating others to give. 

Key among the many grants nurtured and implemented by Mary Ellen through The Imlay Foundation over the decades are: the establishment of the Imlay Innovation Fund, an endowed joint partnership between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech to identify critical clinical pediatric needs that can be addressed through technology solutions; the design, development and installation of the transformative Mary Ellen Imlay Channel Garden in Storza Woods at the Atlanta Botanical Garden; seed funding for Georgia Public Broadcasting’s new Virtual Reality statewide school curriculum; the restoration of Historic Oakland Cemetery’s 1899 Bell Tower; and the building of the accessible, zero-entry swimming pool at Camp Twin Lakes.

Shan Cooper will be honored as Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year. Shan is founder and chief executive officer of Journey Forward Strategy, LLC and previously served as executive director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, Chief Transformation Officer of WestRock, and Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.

Working with Fortune 500 corporations, private companies, and the not-for-profit sector, Shan leverages more than 30 years of diverse experience and expertise to deliver sustainable results across the nation. Specific to her role as a volunteer leader and fundraiser, Shan is heralded for her ability to inspire, in Dr. King’s words, a “qualitative change in our souls” and a “quantitative change in our lives.” Shan credits “the power of diversity” for her unique ability to welcome, encourage, and engage people who think, act, and look different from her, and to foster an environment where differences are seen as a strength and inclusion is the norm. This people-centered approach to doing business has positioned her to be a trusted advocate, mentor, and thought leader at the intersection of the corporate, philanthropy, and nonprofit worlds. 

Shan serves as lead volunteer for the Beloved Benefit and, along with a robust list of corporate board appointments, currently serves on the Board of Directors for Grady Health System and the Board of Trustees for Emory University. She is also on the Board of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), Georgia Historical Society, Georgia Music Accord, and Zoo Atlanta and is a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and a Life Member of the Board of Councilors for The Carter Center. She also continues to be a resource and advocate for countless organizations where she formerly served in volunteer leadership, including the American Heart Association, ArtsBridge Foundation, Atlanta Police Foundation, Atlanta Technical College, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Families First, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, The Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, the Technical College System of Georgia, Westside Future Fund, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, and the Woodruff Arts Center.

Ann Q. Curry will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in celebration of her more than 30 years of philanthropic leadership in Atlanta. As the former owner and current Chairman and Chief Client Strategist of Coxe Curry & Associates, Ann is widely respected as a moving force for philanthropy in our community. In her career, she has supported hundreds of organizations in raising more than $4 billion to advance philanthropic efforts across the state and has had a tremendous impact on Atlanta’s non-profit landscape. 

Beyond her meaningful guidance to organizations across Atlanta, Ann gives generously of her time through many volunteer leadership roles. Locally, she was a five-year member of the Board of Research Atlanta and its first woman president. She chaired the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Board for three years and was the founding president of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Foundation. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Georgia Conservancy.

Ann’s community service also includes deep engagement at her alma mater, Duke University. She is the current chair of the Advisory Board for Duke University Libraries, a past chair of the Duke University Women’s Studies Council, and a six-year member of the Board of Visitors for Trinity College at Duke. She also served on the search committee for the recently appointed University Librarian. Ann is a board member of Adventure Scientists, a Montana-based organization that collects data for scientists to address critical challenges to the environment and human health. 

Ann is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia. She is a member of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers and was the 2017 co-winner of their Woman of Achievement honor; a recipient of the Eudora Rogers Award as the outstanding League of Women Voters member; and also received the Eleanor Raoul Greene Award from the Georgia League. In 2017, she was recognized by the Foundation of Wesley Woods at its Heroes, Saints & Legends Event and in 2018 was pleased to be designated as a “Tree Champion” by Trees Atlanta. She is an active member of the Atlanta Rotary and was the 2018 recipient of the M. Collier Ross Leadership Award. She was also a member of the Corporate Board of State Bank and Trust prior to its merger with Cadence Bank.

AFP Greater Atlanta is grateful to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for its ninth year of partnership as Title Sponsor; the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Chick-fil-A as presenting sponsors; Coxe Curry & Associates as Honoree Reception Sponsor; CIBC Private Wealth Management, Delta Air Lines, and Piedmont Healthcare Foundation as Supporting Sponsors; and Living Stories and Atlanta Business Chronicle as Media Sponsors.

Additional information about the 2022 National Philanthropy Day can be found at or by contacting 2022 Chair MacKensie Brandt or PR & Marketing Co-Chairs Adi Bates and Kiana Lawrence. 

About Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Atlanta Chapter

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Greater Atlanta Chapter promotes professional development, networking and volunteer opportunities for those working in the fundraising arena. With over 400 members, the Greater Atlanta Chapter reflects a cross-section of Atlanta’s nonprofit community, as well as the consultants and resource partners who serve the industry. The chapter hosts several events throughout the year, including monthly networking and education meetings and the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon. AFP Greater Atlanta also provides engagement opportunities for specific groups within the fundraising community, including Young Professionals, Veterans in the Profession, and diverse groups of early career fundraisers through the Diversity Fellows program. AFP Greater Atlanta is a chapter of AFP Global; for 60 years, AFP has been the standard-bearer for professionalism in fundraising, advancing philanthropy through its 30,000 members in more than 240 chapters throughout the world. For more information or to make a donation, visit

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta inspires and leads the Atlanta region toward equity and shared prosperity for all who call it home. TogetherATL is the Foundation’s strategic ethos, working through a collaborative approach with community stakeholders, donors, nonprofits and others to examine complex challenges the region faces and create solutions that build a thriving region. Started in 1951, the Community Foundation shepherds approximately $1.4 billion in current assets through its 1,000+ donor funds, while simultaneously raising and deploying more than $120 million annually to thousands of nonprofit organizations. It is Georgia’s second largest foundation. For more information visit: or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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Last updated on October 23, 2022

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