OAW Founder Wins Philanthropist of the Year Award
The 2022 National Philanthropy Day luncheon for Southwest Missouri was hosted by the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals on Tuesday, November 15. Several awards were presented during the luncheon to individuals and organizations within the region who are making great strides in giving back to the community. Among them was On Angels' Wings founder and executive director, Michelle L. Cramer, who was named Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by AFP.
"It's a humbling honor," Cramer says. She started OAW in 2013, and the organization has seen more than 60% year-over-year growth consistently. In June of 2022, Cramer resigned her job to work for the organization full time, striving to increase awareness of the organization within the community over the last several months. Now OAW is working on its first out-of-state chapters, with Oklahoma City set to launch by the end of 2022, and Minneapolis to launch in 2023. The organization will also be launching a photographer mentorship program in 2023.
Additionally, Cramer published her first book Unshattered Grief: Helping others through loss without breaking them... again in June of this year, and has been working to spread the message locally and beyond on how we can better serve those who are actively processing grief, even in a work environment.
The award, Cramer says, confirms she made the right decision in her career change to focus on OAW. "Striving toward momentum every day on behalf of the organization is admittedly tough," she says. "Sometimes it can feel like progress is minimal when you're in the thick of it. And then something like this happens, and you feel seen. The affirmation is just the jolt I need to keep persevering!"