Our History

“What is important is how we see ourselves. We ought to see ourselves as professionals in our ethical structure, the values we believe in and espouse, our acceptance of the privilege of the public trust, and our selfless commitment to the mission that we serve.”

– Henry “Hank” Rosso

Development Executives Roundtable (DER) was founded in 1965 by fundraising leader, teacher and thinker Hank Rosso to provide high quality, accessible and affordable fundraising programs and networking opportunities to the local community of San Francisco Bay Area fundraising professionals.

From its beginnings and through the late 1980s, DER members met once a month at a different nonprofit site to hear a member talk about a specific aspect of their fundraising program. A highlight was hearing the roars of lions over lunch when the monthly meeting was held in the Lion House at the San Francisco Zoo. As DER membership increased, children of board members learned to stick labels and lick stamps to get the newsletter out, and it became harder to find spaces big enough to host the monthly meeting.

In the late 1990’s DER began co-sponsoring Fundraising Day with AFP-Golden Gate Chapter and added job listings to the newsletter.

In 2005 DER expanded and formalized its board of directors and filed articles of incorporation and bylaws with the California Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation. A year later DER launched a website and began taking credit card payments and event registrations online. By 2007 the website was being used for membership, program registration and the newsletter.

Lighthouse for the Blind, The Foundation Center, and Preservation Park in Oakland became regular meeting venues, and a new focus on the East Bay brought relationships with the East Bay Community Foundation, the CBO Center, the Berkeley Public Library.

DER has supported the Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp, the Grassroots Fundraising Journal’s “Raising Change: A Social Justice Fundraising Conference,” the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Community Development, the Agape Foundation Peace Prize, and the Grant Professionals Association.

In recent years DER added more specialized, hands-on programs, including Major Gifts Magic (MGM), Fundraisers Anxiety Busters (FAB) and Grantseekers Anxiety Support Program (GASP.)

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2015 was a momentous year for DER, beginning with the receipt of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Also that year, with the support of sponsors, DER began its first rebranding effort in many, many years. Later, DER began work on modernizing its member management software and website, allowing members to post employment and consulting listings and access slides, handouts and other materials from past events. The website and constituent database launched in December 2016.

DER and AFP co-host the bi-annual Hank Rosso Forum, an afternoon of panel discussions and speakers on issues and opportunities that face today’s fundraisers, followed by a networking reception.