Harold J. (Si) Seymour Award

"Leaders are the ones who keep faith with the past, keep step with the present, and keep the promise to posterity." – Harold J. Seymour

Si Seymour Logo

About the Award

The association’s highest honor, the AHP Si Seymour Award, recognizes distinguished leadership in association affairs and the healthcare philanthropy community. The award is in the name of Harold J. (Si) Seymour, one of the trailblazers in the world of philanthropy. He fostered and promoted exemplary standards of excellence for volunteerism and philanthropic support. His career spanned a half-century of fundraising on behalf of many worthy causes, from the National War Fund during World War II and Harvard University to youth groups, educational institutions, health organizations, and numerous community service projects. Seymour’s book, Designs for Fundraising, published in 1966, is regarded as the dogma of philanthropic fundraising to this day.

Since 1970, AHP presents its prestigious Harold J. (Si) Seymour Award to development professionals whose careers reflect excellence and outstanding leadership in healthcare philanthropy. This award is given annually and presented each year at the AHP International Conference.

Meet the 2023 Si Seymour Award Winner


Fred Najjar

2023 Winner

Fred Najjar served as the executive vice president and chief philanthropy officer of CommonSpirit Health and president of CommonSpirit Health Foundation from March of 2011 through July of 2023. During his tenure at the nation’s largest nonprofit healthcare system, Fred oversaw 80+ local foundations and one national foundation that represented nearly 60,000 donors, 1,500 governance members, and roughly $300 million in support annually.

In 2019, Fred oversaw the philanthropic alignment between two of the largest healthcare systems, Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, creating CommonSpirit Health. Fred’s steady leadership provided local teams the support needed to come together and form a cohesive systemwide team.

Less than a year after the alignment at CommonSpirit Health, Fred stepped into a two-fold leadership challenge due to the emergence of a once-in-a-generation global pandemic. He had to move quickly but with intentionality in order to accelerate much needed support of CommonSpirit Health’s caregivers, communities, and those most vulnerable to the pandemic. The second leadership challenge focused on helping the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) navigate the pandemic in his role as chair of the board of directors. Leading AHP to be more nimble, creative, and responsive to member needs helped the association successfully navigate a difficult two years.

Prior to joining CommonSpirit, Fred served as vice president for university advancement and chief executive officer of the Tower Foundation of San José State University (SJSU). There, he oversaw development, campaigns, alumni relations, advancement operations, marketing, communications, government relations, community relations, and public affairs. As vice president for university advancement and chief executive officer of the Tower Foundation, he led the university to unprecedented fundraising numbers and launched the first comprehensive campaign in school history. Under his leadership, SJSU was consistently in the top tier of fundraising universities in the 23-campus California State University system. He has also served in executive positions at Arizona State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Virginia Tech University.

Fred is a thought leader in health care philanthropy, publishing articles and making frequent presentations on the subject to a variety of audiences. Fred served as the chair for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) from 2020-2022. He served as chair of the Search Committee for the AHP President and CEO, member of the AHP Certification Task Force, member of the AHP Content Advisory Council, and a founding member of the AHP Health System Philanthropy Leadership Group (HSPLG).

Fred received his undergraduate degree in public administration and a graduate degree in counseling and student personnel administration from Virginia Tech University. He has completed coursework toward a doctorate in organization and leadership at the University of San Francisco and is currently retired, spending quality time with his husband Matt and his beloved bulldog, Bruno.

Award Criteria

The Award Committee uses six criteria in determining the winner. The candidate should:

  • Be a member in good standing, or a representative of a member firm in good standing, who has maintained development professional membership for a minimum of 10 years during their career
  • Be a successful fundraiser, demonstrated by documented dollars raised
  • Embody the recognized traits of leadership in our profession
  • Represent the profession well to other professionals and to the candidate’s community
  • Have made continuing contributions to the association by holding office, publishing articles, teaching at conferences, etc.
  • Have improved in some way the level of professionalism in the association 

Nomination Contents

  • Three letters of endorsement from those who can speak to one or more aspects of the candidate's qualifications for this award.
  • A 400-word statement describing why the nominee merits consideration for the Si Seymour Award, including how the candidate demonstrates leadership traits, how they represent the profession to other professionals and their community, and how they have helped improve the level of professionalism within AHP.
  • Information that illustrates the nominee's service to AHP, the profession, community, and their institution

Tips for a Strong Nomination 

Your nominee's professional success and volunteer experience are the greatest factors in the Si Seymour Award selection. However, there are a few tips that can help strengthen your nomination:

  • Follow the instructions on the submission form, including thoroughly addressing the detail requested in each section. Feel free to contact AHP staff at education@ahp.org if you have any questions as you review the form.
  • Request the letters of support early in the process. The recommendation letters often take a while to be written and submitted, so identify the letter-writers and request their involvement at least a month prior to the submission deadline.
  • Write as if the selection committee is being introduced to the nominee for the first time. Don't assume that committee members know the details of the nominee's career accomplishments and service to AHP.
  • Go to more sources than you think might be necessary. The more people who can share details about their experience working with the nominee, the more likely it is that the nomination will provide a full picture of the nominee's accomplishments. Consider talking to both current and past supervisors and colleagues, board members, and others who know the nominee well.
  • Upon request, AHP would be happy to provide details about the nominee's volunteer history with the association, as listed in the AHP database.

Previous Si Seymour Award Winners

  • 1970

  • 1974

  • 1975

  • 1976

  • 1977

  • 1978

  • 1979

  • 1980

  • 1981

  • 1982

  • 1983

  • 1984

  • 1985

  • 1986

  • 1987

  • 1988

  • 1989

  • 1990

  • 1991

  • 1992

  • 1993

  • 1994

  • 1995

  • 1996

  • 1997

  • 1998

  • 1999

  • 2000

  • 2000 - Second Recepient

  • 2001

  • 2002

  • 2003

  • 2004

  • 2005

  • 2006

  • 2007

  • 2008

  • 2009

  • 2010

  • 2011

  • 2011 - Second Recipient

  • 2012

  • 2013

  • 2014

  • 2015

  • 2016

  • 2017

  • 2018

  • 2019

  • 2020

  • 2021

  • 2022