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Awards in Philanthropy 2022: Lauren Pluskey McLain

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter (AFP NEPA) awarded Lauren Pluskey McLain, MBA with the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award this past November. Lauren was nominated by the AFP NEPA Board of Directors and was honored at November 2022's Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon.

Lauren has more than 16 years of professional fundraising and nonprofit leadership experience. She has raised millions of dollars in this region to support higher education, the arts and now health care. She has been involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals NEPA chapter for 16 years, serving in several leadership roles including president. She’s now the chapter’s membership chair.

Lauren started her professional fundraising career at her alma mater, Wilkes University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a Master of Business Administration. She started at Wilkes as the manager of alumni relations and annual giving, managing the student phone-a-thon and helping to manage alumni events. After three years, she was promoted to director of annual giving. During this time, she led all annual fundraising efforts and directed her team in increasing overall giving and alumni participation each year. She instituted new giving opportunities for employees, companies and alumni, managed donor recognition events, managed the annual athletic golf tournament and developed a peer-to-peer giving program.

After spending 10 years at Wilkes, Lauren took an opportunity at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts as the director of development, leading a brand-new team to many successes. A few of those successes include closing two of the biggest corporate sponsorships in Kirby Center history and launching a new fundraising event that sold out in its first and each subsequent year. She helped increase funding for the arts-in-education programs and sensory-friendly performances.

The board of directors appointed her executive director in April 2019 after she spent three years as development director. In her time as executive director, she continued to set the direction for the organization, working closely with the board and leading a high-performing team.

In late 2019, Lauren accepted a position at King’s College as the associate vice president for institutional advancement, leading a $50 million comprehensive campaign, the college’s largest to date. She successfully led, assessed and motivated a team of fundraising professionals in the areas of annual giving, major gifts, planned gifts, grants and advancement services. A few of her successes included increasing overall campaign dollars and donors during a global pandemic, launching the public phase of the campaign and starting a new planned-giving program.

In September 2022, Lauren became the senior director of corporate and foundation relations at the Geisinger Health Foundation. In this role, she’s helping create a new corporate and foundation giving program to support the mission of Geisinger. She is responsible for the cultivation and solicitation of national, regional and local foundations and corporate entities.

In addition to her professional career, Lauren has sat on many local nonprofit boards and committees. She is a board member of the AFP NEPA chapter, a board member of the Pittston Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Junior League of Wilkes-Barre, and the vice chair of Junior Achievement, NEPA.

Lauren resides in Plains Township with her husband, Scott, and daughter, Mia.

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