Kelli Smith Earns Credential as Certified Fund Raising Executive

April 15, 2016 7:43 pm
Smith, Kelli 2016 - Headshot

Kelli Smith, CFRE

CFRE International has named Kelli Smith as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Smith, senior special gifts officer for Saint Mary’s Foundation, joins more than 5,000 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation. Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International, which include tenure in the profession, education, demonstrated fundraising achievement and a commitment to service to not-for-profit organizations. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive, and have agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and the Donor Bill of Rights.

“The CFRE credential was created to identify for the public and employers those individuals who possess the knowledge, skills and commitment to perform fundraising duties in an effective and ethical manner,” states Jim Caldarola, CFRE, Immediate Past Chair of CFRE International. “As the certification is a voluntary achievement, the CFRE credential demonstrates a high level of commitment on the part of Kelli Smith to herself, the fundraising profession, and, the donors who are served.”

CFRE recipients are awarded certification for a three-year period. In order to maintain certification status, certificants must demonstrate on-going fundraising employment and fundraising results, and continue with their professional education. Employers and donors who work with CFREs know they are getting a professional who is committed to the best outcomes for their organization and has the requisite knowledge and skills.
CFRE International is an independent organization dedicated to the certification of fundraising executives by setting standards in philanthropic practice. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and led by a small professional staff, CFRE International consistently meets the highest standards for certification excellence and is itself accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies.

As the premier global credential for career fundraisers, the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation is endorsed and supported by the world’s leading professional and philanthropic associations, including, but not limited to, Association of Philanthropic Council, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and The Giving Institute. For more information, please visit

About Smith:

Kelli Smith joined Saint Mary’s Foundation in 2011 shortly after arriving in Grand Rapids. In her role as senior special gifts officer, Smith is responsible for leading the development and implementation of major and planned giving strategies to increase overall philanthropic support to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Smith holds a Master of Science in Health Services Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy. Smith is a member of the board of directors for Catholic Charities West Michigan and serves as board president of Western Michigan Planned Giving Group.


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