Interview with E/MGA Carol Tichelman

The Rotary Foundation Canada had the opportunity to speak to the new Region 35 (which includes all of Zone 28) E/MGA (Endowment Major Gifts Adviser) Carol Tichelman, a member of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack, BC in District 5050.
What does an E/MGA do?
As an E/MGA I am a primary resource for major gifts and endowment fundraising and recognition matters within the Region/Zone.  I identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors with an emphasis of securing gifts to The Rotary Foundation of $25,000 or more.  I work in collaboration with zone and district leaders as well as staff partners. Primarily I work one on one with Rotary members to help them realize their goals for support of The Rotary Foundation.
What have you done in Rotary before being appointed EMGA?

I am a self-proclaimed Rotary “junkie” and have had the opportunity to serve as Club President (twice), District Conference Chair, District Trainer, RLI Facilitator, Visioning Coordinator, Assistant Governor, Chair of Pacific Northwest PETS 2020, District Governor for District 5050 2020-21 and most recently I chaired the National Committee for President Jennifer Jones’ “Imagine Rotary Canada Tour”.  I am also currently the Zone 28 Empowering Girls Ambassador.
What do you do in your professional life?

I am a Certified Financial Planner and am registered as a Financial Planner with Investment Planning Counsel. I have been an independent planner since 1994 prior to which I was in the banking industry for 15 years that included positions as Internal Auditor and Branch Manager.
What are your goals for this Rotary year?

I just recently started my role as E/MGA so I am still getting my feet wet!  The position is usually appointed a year prior to assuming the responsibility so I have a steep learning curve.  I am a huge believer in donor recognition and am currently working with my staff partner Senior Major Gifts Officer Carolyn Ferguson on a couple of upcoming recognition opportunities.  I also plan to meet with donors along with Carolyn in early September.  I will be in Toronto at the end of September for the Learning to Lead Conference to introduce myself to the Governor Teams in our Zone.  I also will be attending the planned October Million Dollar Dinner in District 5040.  More goals will be identified as I work through the coming couple of months.
What is the most misunderstood aspect of The Rotary Foundation?
The Rotary Foundation is so multi-faceted that I think most Rotarians get overwhelmed trying to figure it all out.  It is my charity of choice for so many reasons.  I often remind Rotarians - what other charity can you donate to and then decide how the funds will be used?  It is one of the highest rated charities by the independent charity reviewer Charity Navigator. When I was District Governor and was doing my Club visits, I got immense pleasure telling the Clubs how much of their donations they have received over the past five years through Global Grants and District Grants.  Most Clubs were very pleasantly surprised by this information.
Do you have any advice to share?
Find your Rotary passion – and your Rotary Foundation passion – and share that passion.  One of my passions is Polio Plus.  My father was a victim of polio.  I have participated in nine National Immunization Days (NIDs) in Ethiopia.  Although I don’t speak Amharic – and nor do the villagers we met as we went hut-to-hut speak English --- with every child I immunized --- every mommy looked deep into my eyes and my soul was filled with the thanks they were expressing from saving their child from the ravages of polio.  Those children will face many challenges in their lives – but they will not be crippled nor potentially die from polio.  I genuinely believe in Rotary’s Vision statement because I have experienced it – “Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves”.
Carol can be contacted at