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Susan Jean Murphy Evans’s fundraising career spanned nearly 50 years.

Susan chose social work as a profession as the result of riding on the New York Subway and seeing a black and white poster developed by the Y & R Agency that showed a picture of residents of Harlem sitting on their front stoops that said, Give a Damn.”


The New York Urban Coalition Give a Damn Campaign, with the tagline “give money, give jobs, give a damn,” was put to music in a song of the same name by Spanky and Our Gang.

Susan earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University in 1972.


After graduating, she served as a social worker for Manhattan Criminal Court, an experience that she said was captured perfectly in the description of the “maw of the criminal justice system” by Tom Wolf in “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

Next, Susan worked at the Mount Loretto Orphanage on Staten Island, helping the orphanage’s young men rise above the traumas of abandonment and poverty and develop the emotional and practical skills to live productive lives, a goal with which Susan found occasional success and great satisfaction.

She also was one of the early social workers who contributed to establishing the Rheedlan Foundation (now the Harlem Children's Zone), which provided family preservation counseling, truancy prevention, alternative education for school dropouts, and adoption services.

Susan met her future husband, CJ (Craig) Evans, while living in a group brownstone on 101st and Broadway in Manhattan, where they both made life-long friends, including each other.


They were married at Windows on the World on December 27, 1980, 21 years before the September 11, 2001 attacks destroyed the World Trade towers.

During their courtship, Susan and her husband-to-be moved to Washington, DC,

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where Susan became a Certified Raising

Executive (CFRE) after a friend, Alfreda Winnings, asked her to help raise funds for

the Action on Smoking and Health’s (ASH’s) campaign to ban smoking in public buildings, restaurants, public transit, and airplanes.


Susan combined her passions for the environment, social work, and fundraising by:

  • Establishing the fundraising programs for the National Association of Social Workers and the House of Ruth;

  • Expanding the fundraising development programs for Defenders of Wildlife, the Sports Fishing Institute, Trout Unlimited, Center for Jury Studies, and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions in Washington, D.C., and

  • Leading a successful capital campaign for the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation in McLean, Virginia.

After the couple moved to Florida in 1997, Susan became the director of development for Kid’s in Distress in Ft. Lauderdale, which is dedicated to preventing child abuse, preserving families, and treating children who have been abused and neglected.

Susan built the development department from a staff of two to a staff of 24 that used every fundraising approach from direct mail to special events to major donor recruitment and multi-million dollar endowments to increase the organization’s budget from $3 million to $17 million per year. 


Susan also led a successful capital

campaign that expanded Kids in Distress from three buildings to a five-acre campus with 24-hour emergency care shelters for abused and neglected children, infant-up-to-

Susan with two of the young people she mentored - JoAnne (l) and Sarah (r) - who experienced fundrasing success and, later, became development officers themselves

18-year-old housing with group parents providing educational, trauma, and mental

and physical health services, as well as a family counseling clinic and foster care and adoption programs.


Char Mollison, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise at George Mason University, wrote in her capacity as the vice president of membership and development for the Independent Sector, a national coalition of nonprofit organizations, foundations, and corporate giving programs, that “I consider Susan to be the finest development professional I have known in my 25 years of work in the nonprofit sector.”

Susan also created development programs for nine nonprofit organizations in Northern Virginia and Palm Beach County, Florida, that had limited or no fund raising history, and built a large-donor and endowment program to create a director of development position and fund the restoration and maintenance of the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, a historical 35-acre beachfront estate in Ft. Lauderdale that preserves one of the last examples of South Florida’s native barrier island habitat with five distinct ecosystems.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, Susan contributed to and expanded the fund raising programs for Hospice of the Piedmont, the AIDS Services Group, and Habitat for Humanity.

Born in Brewer, Maine on February 27, 1948, Susan attended Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, and Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia.


She received a Bachelor’s of Science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia,  as well as her Masters of Social Work from New York University.


Susan passed away at dawn on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.

A memorial bench has been installed in Monticello Memory Gardens, directly below Thomas Jefferson’s home and across from Mitchie Tavern. Sitting on the bench provides a sweeping view across Charlottesville to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, places she greatly enjoyed.

"Give a Damn"  poster created by the Y & R Agency for the New York Urban Coalition Give a Damn Campaign

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