Clemson University’s Missy Ryan Penland elected as new board chair for the AFP U.S. Foundation for Philanthropy


Melissa “Missy” Ryan Penland, MPA, senior associate vice president for Development, has begun a two-year term as the chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) U.S. Foundation for Philanthropy.

Penland is a nationally recognized philanthropic leader within higher education and community-based organizations and has been a member of AFP since 1999. Since then, she has served in various roles, both at the local and global level. She is the former president of the AFP Greater Atlanta Chapter.

The mission of the AFP U.S. Foundation for Philanthropy is to advance philanthropic investment and impact in the sector by serving as a catalyst to address the sector’s greatest issues, acting as a convener between the professional fundraiser and the philanthropist to solve society’s most-pressing challenges and conducting and supporting in-depth research leading to strategic insights and innovative thinking in philanthropy.

A white woman, Penland, featured from slightly above the chest, has shoulder length hair that parts on the side. She is wearing a black blouse with a slight curve, a big-beaded necklace and a Tiger Paw logo pin.
Missy Ryan Penland

Penland is known for motivating staff and volunteers to reach ambitious philanthropic goals with passion and commitment to mission and says of her new role with AFP: “It’s such an honor to begin this role and lead this amazing team. Our mission is critical — and so fitting for this moment in time. The Foundation is embarking on a new strategic plan that we believe will advance philanthropic investment and have greater impact on our sector. We are building on a strong foundation of championing philanthropy and volunteerism by supporting the development of the sector’s current and future leaders, welcoming diverse new voices into the charitable world and rigorously upholding the highest standards of ethics in fundraising. I’m so very proud to be a part of it!”

Currently the senior associate vice president for Development at Clemson University, Penland leads a dynamic team of development and donor relations professionals to inspire philanthropic giving throughout the University community, including alumni, parents and friends. She excels in operations of all sizes as a seasoned strategist with executive oversight responsibilities in major and principal gifts, prospect management, talent and financial management, donor relations and board governance. Her leadership and contributions have gained meaningful engagement and strategic investments in Clemson’s educational objectives, strengthening the University’s reputation and securing Clemson’s future.

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