Two Trustees Honored for Professional Contributions

Owen Youngman and Jimmie Alford

Owen Youngman and Jimmie Alford recognized for innovative contributions to their industries

CHICAGO, IL (January 27, 2009) – Two North Park University trustees are making news for innovative contributions to their industries.

Founder and chair of the Alford Group, a leading development consulting firm in the nonprofit sector, Jimmie Alford received the 2008 Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP); while fellow trustee Owen Youngman, former senior vice president at the Chicago Tribune, has accepted a prestigious chair at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

Alford is one of only 11 individuals to receive the outstanding service award since its establishment by the AFP in 1982. It is an honor given only to individuals who have made landmark achievements in philanthropy. Past recipients include John E. Marshall III of the Kresge Foundation, which is focused on community development through the strengthening of nonprofits; and Ron Carroll of the Boy Scouts of America, a former AFP chair.

An alumnus of North Park and an executive in residence, Alford teaches courses at the University’s school of business and nonprofit management. He also founded its highly regarded Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, which commemorates its 10th anniversary this year.

“It is a pleasure to celebrate the role that North Park University has played in educating me for a life of significance and service,” says Alford, alluding to the University’s mission statement. “When I accept this award, it will be done with profound appreciation for the faculty, administration, and students.”

The award will be presented during the AFP’s philanthropy banquet on March 31 in New Orleans, and is part of the organization’s 2009 International Conference on Fundraising. Alford will also appear in a future issue of the magazine, Advancing Philanthropy.

Spring will be no less busy for Youngman, who will begin his position as Knight Professor of Digital Media Strategy in April. The chair is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports 24 chairs at universities across the United States. As a tenured, full professor, Youngman will teach, write, and build networks of scholars and professionals working on challenges in digital journalism.

“My 37 years at the Tribune, and my more than 25 years online, have taught me a lot about the connections between online and offline media,” says Youngman, a former sports reporter who has also held positions in suburban news, features, interactive media, and corporate strategy. Under his direction, chicagotribune.com was the first newspaper Web site to concurrently be named the industry’s best news site by Editor & Publisher magazine and the Newspaper Association of America. Believe it or not, Youngman began his career at the Chicago paper as a copy boy.

“I hope my students come away understanding that for their work to make a difference, it has to reach an audience,” says Youngman. “They therefore need to understand not just the tools we use today to communicate, but the needs and interests of the people they are trying to educate, inform, or entertain.”

Few people have as strong a history of writing award-winning journalism and building creative enterprises that support it as Youngman, notes Medill Dean John Lavine. “[He] is coming to a school whose faculty and students are passionate about learning and experimenting with new ways to engage people with news and information. We’re all eager to learn from his experience, leadership, contacts, and energy.”

Youngman was awarded an honorary doctorate from North Park University in 2005.