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Darryl Lester

Darryl Lester, Director of Service Year NC in the Institute of Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University

Prior to joining NCSU, this social entrepreneur and community philanthropist, founded HindSight Consulting in 2001 and the Community Investment Network in 2006 --- but his passion for philanthropy and giving back was rooted during his early life in Marion, South Carolina.

HindSight Consulting, Inc was an entrepreneurial effort designed to promote and to encourage social innovation within community giving and institutional philanthropy by design and not out of crisis.

Prior to creating HindSight Consulting, Inc, Darryl served as the Director of Community Leadership and Programs at the Triangle Community Foundation (NC) and as Trustee of the Warner Foundation. He was also an Associate Counsel at Capital Development Services,

and a Training Manager at N.C. Public Allies( part of the founding staff). He is well acquainted with educational institutions, having served as an Adjunct Professor in Public Administration at North Carolina Central University, Assistant Dean at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Assistant Director of African American Student Affairs at North Carolina State University and as a Counselor at Shaw University Counseling Center (NC). In 2003, he traveled to Cape Town, South Africa as a participant in the Binational Civil Society Forum.

Darryl is a graduate of both Wofford College (B.A., Economics) and North Carolina State University (M.Ed. in Counselor Education and minor in Psychology) and enjoys the brotherhood that he shares as a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

When Darryl is not working with others to strengthen communities, you can find him on his Harley traveling the nations highways.

How did you get interested in the fundraising profession?

My interest in fundraising was heightened when I served as a founding staff member of Public Allies, a national service organization located in Durham, NC . This heightened interest led me to take a position with a professional Fundraising Counsel.

What is something you wish you knew early on in your fundraising career?

I wish I would have had more access to fundraisers of color to help me balance my affinity/Identity in the field of fund development and to also help me to reframe the narrative associated with giving and asking.

What is the one quality every fundraiser should have?

I think that one quality every fundraiser should have is being able to talk  with the person on the street, and the person that owns the city, the block and the street.

What inspires you about the fundraising profession?

The fundraising profession allows individuals to participate in community building endeavors, growing the public sector, and improving local communities. In my opinion fundraisers are the gate keepers into who can participate….If we are not asking some folks to give, we are in essence saying that they can’t participate in this!!!!

How do you want to be remembered as a professional?

I want to be remembered as a professional that expanded the giving highway by changing the lens of some fundraising professionals and the narrative around giving and asking.  I also want to be remembered as a professional that affirmed and encouraged folks viewed or perceived to be on the “receiving” side of giving to affirm their giving and at the same time think of ways to maximize their giving by connecting with others with like thinking and ability.


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