Social Work Alumna Honored by Association of Fundraising Professionals

Alumni; Social Work

Brown School alumna Sara Paracha, MSW ’19, has been named the 2023 Outstanding Emerging Professional by the St. Louis chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The award is presented to an individual with five or fewer years of professional experience, recognizing their commitment to professionalism and leadership in the nonprofit community. Paracha is slated to be formally honored during the National Philanthropy Day event, set to take place on November 14 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand.

Currently, Paracha is the Lead Resource Development Catalyst at Forward Through Ferguson (FTF), where she spearheads fundraising efforts. Additionally, she serves on FTF’s Lead Council, a crucial component of the organization responsible for fostering overall organizational growth and development. 

Paracha’s earlier professional roles include working with the North Side Community School and Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club. While still early in her fundraising career, she has drawn inspiration from the direct-service and front-line staff within these organizations.

“They are amazing!  Whether it’s leading a program, teaching a class, or organizing a town hall, the work that these folks do is critical to the execution of the organization’s mission,” she said. “I love being able to support by organizing resources so that these staff have everything they need to do their work in the communities that we serve.” 

A first-generation college student, Paracha is deeply appreciative of the support she received during her tenure at the Brown School. In particular, she is grateful for the pivotal mentorship provided by Barry Rosenberg, a professor of practice, with whom she maintains a close relationship.

“I was not familiar with all the management roles in the nonprofit space (especially on the development side) until my management class with Barry. I have sought advice on new jobs and areas of growth from him,” said Paracha, who was a Management Specialization student and Bettie Schroth Johnson Management Scholar. 

In 2022, the global Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized Paracha as an Outstanding Young Professional. The award spotlights fundraisers under the age of 31 who display excellence in raising funds, inspiring donors, managing campaigns, and dedication to the charitable sector.