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2006 Ann Castle Award Recipient: Helen Brown


Helen Brown, founder and head of research consulting firm, The Helen Brown Group, was the recipient of the fifth annual Ann Castle Award.  Since becoming a development professional in 1987, Helen has worked with a variety of clients to establish and re-align research departments, identify major gift prospects, and train researchers and other fundraisers.


Over the course of her nineteen year career, Helen Brown has become a recognized leader among development research professionals in New England.  As a director of NEDRA and a past President, Helen recognized the need for a mentor program and advocated for a stronger program to better serve the members.  She also worked to build collaborative relationships between NEDRA and its for-profit partners, significantly increasing sponsorships at NEDRA’s annual conference. After nearly six years, Helen retired from the board of directors in 2004 but she continues to serve the profession as a frequent speaker for NEDRA and APRA as well as AFP and CASE.


With the growth of the Helen Brown Group, Helen is expanding her leadership overseas.  For the past several years, Helen has worked to increase the professional status of prospect research in the UK which lags behind the United States in advancement opportunities and compensation.   As a member of London’s Researchers in Fundraising, Helen participates in workshops and conferences around the UK and has even presented to fund raising professionals in Europe.   Most recently, Helen has partnered with Chris Carnie of The Factary to found ShareTraining, a web-based training program for fundraising professionals.


As a representative of the prospect research profession, Helen is a wonderful ambassador for researchers around the world.  She continuously impresses her growing list of clients with her intellect, her generous spirit and her thoughtful strategies for success.  Characteristic of true leaders, Helen possesses vision.  She has a view of our profession that extends far into the future and in her quiet, focused, and most effective way, she is doing her part to ensure that we remain a profession that adds value to our institutions and earns respect simply and honestly through our good work.


Helen has given so much to NEDRA both as a role model and mentor, and has raised the bar in the quality and depth of our research.  Her enthusiasm, warmth and intelligence transcend beyond this role, making her a true leader in the field.



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