Meet Senior Consultant Patricia Broughton, A Leader in DEI Work at Evolve & in her Community

Jamie Klobuchar
December 2, 2022

Senior Consultant Patricia Broughton always wanted to make the world a better place – but she realized early on that nonprofit programming was not where her strengths lie. Her superpower is connecting people who want to change the world with those who can. As a fundraiser, this means connecting donors who have the resources and want to make a difference with the incredible staff of nonprofits doing the frontline work. 

After nearly three decades of front-line fundraising, Pat began her consulting career. She has been with Evolve since its inception in June 2020. She supports Evolve clients with major gift and planned giving coaching, board development, capital campaigns, and fundraising assessments.

Pat is one of those rare people who promotes her values of diversity, equity, and justice in every aspect of her life. She has led the DEI-J initiatives at Evolve for the past two years. Outside of Evolve, she served as the Vice President of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Chicago chapter, for two years. She is also one of the co-founders of the White Fundraisers Advocating for Racial Equity affinity group of AFP Chicago. She volunteers her time as a kayaking volunteer and pro bono fundraising consultant for Chicago Adventure Therapy and serves on the Board of Directors for the Evanston Environmental Association.

Pat’s service and leadership was recently recognized by AFP Chicago–she was awarded the 2022 President’s Award, which honors individuals who have demonstrated high ethical standards and outstanding leadership and service to AFP Chicago, and exemplify the philanthropic spirit of Chicago. We sat down with Pat to learn more about her passion for fundraising, her DEI-J work, and what this award means to her. 

Q: Why are you passionate about fundraising and consulting?

A: Fundraisers are the connectors between people who have resources and want to make a change, and the people who are actually on the ground doing it. As a fundraiser, I get to make those connections and help people do something important and make a change in the world. 

As a consultant, I get to use what I learned in my almost 30 years of frontline fundraising with people who can carry it into their work. I get to coach people who want to make a difference, and I get to learn from the people I’m working with. That’s one of the best things about fundraising: being exposed to worlds that I wouldn’t otherwise be. 

Q: What brings you joy outside of work? 

A: Lots of things. I volunteer with the Chicago Adventure Therapy kayaking program and get to do something I love–kayaking-–for an organization that is making blue and green spaces and outdoor adventure accessible to people of color. I also serve as treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Association of Evanston. We’re currently partnering with the City of Evanston to build a new canoe and kayak launch at the Evanston Ecology Center. I really care about the environment, racial justice, and paddling; volunteering with these organizations lets me bring those passions together and be useful! 

Being out in the wild brings me joy, and especially being on the water. I love the Boundary Waters. My favorite place I’ve been kayaking was Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), an archipelago off British Columbia’s west coast, on a six-day sea kayaking trip. Biking is another activity that brings me joy. 

Q: How do you bring a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to your work?

A: I am always looking for opportunities where I can leverage my white privilege to advocate for people of color and open doors where I have access and they may not. I look for opportunities to elevate my BIPOC colleagues, and I’m aware that sometimes that means my stepping aside or stepping down. 

Q: After nearly 3 decades of front-line fundraising, in what ways do you hope to see our sector change in the future?  

A: Dare I say that I wish there were no need for a nonprofit sector? Our work is necessary because there’s so much injustice and inequity - and non-profits are having to address those wrongs. 

Until we have a just and equitable world, it’s important to center the voices of the people in the communities where nonprofits work to avoid a nonprofit “savior complex.”   

Q: Congratulations on being awarded the 2022 President’s Award from AFP Chicago! What does this award mean to you? 

A: I feel very honored and humbled to receive this award which is given for service to the chapter. It’s meaningful to me because it comes from my peers and the people I’ve worked with over the last 6 years on the board of AFP Chicago. 

The award is in recognition of the rabble rousing I’ve done in the chapter’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) space (along with a few other contributions, including serving as chapter treasurer for two years). I’m touched because it recognizes the impact of our IDEA efforts over the past six years. This award belongs to more than me - it’s a testament to everyone who has worked to literally change the face of AFP Chicago.