Al Gleason Receives Top Philanthropy Award

December 11, 2007

The former Aquarium Chairman of the Board is recognized for his extraordinary fundraising efforts

The cover of the December issue of Oregon Business magazine features a face familiar to Oregon Coast Aquarium staff; that of Al Gleason, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Aquarium. (Click here for online link to article.) The Oregon Philanthropy Awards chose Al Gleason as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for his “unswerving focus” in approaching the Aquarium’s financial crisis of 2002. It was Gleason who raised the immediate funds to keep the doors open and then developed a financial plan that raised 5.3 million dollars in three years.

The Oregon Philanthropy Awards is a partnership between Oregon Business magazine and the Oregon Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Its mission is to advance philanthropy by enabling people and organizations to practice ethical and effective fundraising. The core activities through which AFP fulfills this mission include education, training, mentoring, research, credentialing and advocacy.

“I am very pleased that AFP chose to recognize Al Gleason as the Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year,” said Dale Schmidt, Aquarium President. “His efforts saved the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the entire state of Oregon owes him a big thank you. Al's continued dedication and his ability to inspire others has allowed the Aquarium to continue to be not only a statewide, but a national attraction.”

Gleason, the retired Pacificorp CEO and former president of the Port of Portland, raised funds and convinced government organizations, corporations, bondholders and individuals to contribute. Aquarium staff and volunteers honored Gleason at a celebration last year, renaming the Aquarium’s special event room “The Al and Janet Gleason Event Room.”

“Al’s community leadership with many organizations has resulted in significant building and fund-raising growth of the organizations he has supported, best evidenced by his ability to effectively re-structure the Aquarium’s debt and lead a $5 million capital campaign that has helped position the Aquarium as one of the top ten in America,” said Ken Thrasher, Aquarium board member.

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