As a first-generation Columbian American, Heidi Alzate Kaufman, M.S., CFRE, says she was surrounded by philanthropy growing up; it just looked a little different. “Philanthropy was always part of how I was raised, but it wasn’t so much on the monetary side. In our cultures and in our countries, philanthropy exists, but it usually comes through your place of worship, through your home. You always have a seat available for someone who needs a meal, you always have clothes available for someone who may need a shirt on their back,” Heidi says.
Her parents’ house in Sunrise, was also a safe place for someone who was coming into the United States for a fresh start. “Whether it was a cousin or a family member, they were always helping someone.”
She says she fell in love with the “art of philanthropy” in 2010 when she began her first job with a nonprofit, Jack and Jill Center. And she realized she was good at it.
Learning the Ropes: In 2013, she started fundraising full-time as director of major gifts and planned giving for the Broward College Foundation, then became director of development at Nova Southeastern University’s Health Profession division. At 35, she was named vice president of development at Chapman Partnership, the private sector partner of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. There, her leadership and strategic skills led to her acquiring private revenue that raised more than $5 million for the organization. Thus far in her career, she has raised over $40 million for private and public philanthropic campaigns.
“I achieved success at a young age. I worked with some of the most amazing leaders in South Florida. I saw different aspects from institutional fundraising to healthcare to local organic,” Heidi says. “But what would it be like if I did this on my own? What if I could help some of those mid-level, smaller nonprofits that couldn’t afford a full-time development team?”
In 2021, she founded Heidi Alzate Consulting, based in Fort Lauderdale, which works with a variety of companies focusing on fundraising, campaign management, board development, and other strategies honed from her own career experiences. In the three years since its opening, her company has served at least 27 nonprofit organizations in different capacities including clients outside of Florida, and, she says, it continues to grow globally.
“One of the things that is important to me, too, is that I’ve always been a minority within the philanthropy sector,” Heidi says. Now, at 39, she’s a Hispanic woman running her own business that helps other organizations realize their fundraising and giving potential.
She is on the boards of Life Net for Families and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is also a leadership member of the United Way of Broward Women United and co-chair of the Veteran pillar for the United Way public policy committee.
Words To Live By: The principles of philanthropy, according to Heidi, are the three T’s: Time, talent, and treasure. “If you have the time, volunteer; if you have talent, lend that, and if you can afford to, offer monetary support.”