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Bruce Denson Sr. Awarded Outstanding Civic Leader

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On Thursday, November 9, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Alabama Chapter hosted its annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon and awards ceremony. More than one hundred people gathered to recognize and honor philanthropists in and around our community.

These philanthropists were different in many ways—some young, some old; some donating their time, others donating money, and many doing both; some devoted to helping animals, others to health issues like cancer, some to educations, and the list goes on.

No matter their differences, the one thing each person recognized had in common was their obvious passion for the charitable work they have done and continue to do. This is no exception for Cobbs Allen Chairman Bruce Denson Sr., who was awarded as the United Way of Central Alabama Outstanding Civic Leader.

“With the commitment of strong civic leaders our community has guidance and direction as we move toward a better future,” explained Ty West, Editor in Chief at the Birmingham Business Journal and emcee for the event. “This award honors the individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in community projects or major fundraising campaigns benefiting a charitable organization. The winner always encompasses energy, enthusiasm and heart.”

The nomination came from The Altamont School, where Bruce has been a Trustee for almost 30 years. A graduate of Birmingham University School, one of Altamont’s founding schools, Bruce has stayed involved with the school in numerous ways, including chairing the Finance Committee for 15 years and two of Altamont’s capital campaigns.

“He gives cheerfully and enthusiastically, inspiring others to do the same,” the nomination letter reads. “He has a remarkable way of rallying donors around Altamont’s mission. Bruce organizes his fundraising efforts just like he organizes his sales teams at Cobbs Allen, using metrics to set expectations and create accountability.”

When Bruce got up to accept his award, he was cheered on by more than 75 friends, family members and colleagues—a surprise to him and a testament to the strong relationships he’s formed through his many years of civic leadership. These are the same people who have supported his fundraising efforts through the years and he was quick to recognize them.

“I want to thank all the individuals and corporations that I’ve called on for over 20-something years who have given me money for all the various causes I’ve represented,” Bruce told the crowd. “The Birmingham-metropolitan area is unbelievable in terms of giving money!”

And as the true civic leader he is, dedicated to the causes he devotes his time and money to, he finished by saying, “Right now Felix Drennen and I are involved in raising money for the Firehouse Shelter capital campaign. If I don’t call you, Felix will—please give us your support!”