Emmy Stuebing

Top 40 Under 40 2010

Photography Constantine Tanasiuk

Age: 35

Job Title: Executive director, Alberta Emerald Foundation

Why She’s A Top 40: Since taking the helm of the Alberta Emerald Foundation, she has doubled its annual funds raised. As a fundraiser for other Alberta organizations, she has earned them sizable contributions.

Key To Her Success: “It comes down to people. I’m a people person. Even my degree, anthropology, is the study of people.”

Stuebing has raised almost $6 million in total for five non-profit agencies in Alberta. She’s so good at raising money that since assuming leadership of the Alberta Emerald Foundation, which honours environmental stewardship in organizations and individuals, Stuebing has doubled the foundation’s annual donations, from $300,000 in 2008 to more than $600,000 in 2010.

Yet she insists she’s not in the business of sales.

“It’s not about trying to shake money out of someone’s pocket,” she says. Instead, the goal is finding the right fit between donors wanting to give back and charities needing support. “These people want to make a difference and you want to facilitate that,” she says. “If your cause isn’t their cause, that’s OK.”

Stuebing became a stellar fundraiser serendipitously. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of Alberta, she snagged a job as executive assistant with the Fort Edmonton Foundation, where she wrote and submitted her first big grant proposal. She was shocked that on her first try, she earned them a $125,000 grant from the provincial government to help build the Blatchford Air Hangar in Fort Edmonton Park. “That was my first big success and what really hooked me in the profession,” she says.

Prior to the Emerald foundation, Stuebing worked for the Valley Zoo Development Society, Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research. She describes fundraising in the non-profit sector as “being a professional volunteer.” It’s a profession she started early – even as a kid she was happy to paint other kids’ faces at school events or run in a charity race. “I’ve always felt it was an important part of being a citizen,” she says. “I think sincerity is a big part of being successful in this profession.”

Stuebing even puts her own money down. Three years ago, she started contributing to her personal endowment fund at the Edmonton Community Foundation – a non-profit for other non-profits, facilitating between philanthropists and charities, donors and scholarship seekers. “Even when I’m gone, the fund will start to contribute to causes in the community. It will go on in perpetuity.”

Now that she’s leading the Alberta Emerald Foundation, Stuebing says she has found where she’s meant to be. By giving out the Emerald Awards, Alberta’s “Emmy’s” of environmental excellence, the charity is dedicated to recognizing what’s going right, which is an unusual mandate for a charity and another reason to love the cause. “Plus, green is my favourite colour, so I can always dress for the job.”

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