Darlene Norris, B.A.

Philanthropy Consultant

Darlene is an energetic, goal oriented, empathetic and passionate fundraising professional with over 20 years of proven experience. As a consultant she has a talent for helping organizations identify, cultivate, solicit and build relationships. Darlene has extensive experience working with high net-worth families, Fortune 500 corporations, and foundations. She will share her secrets to securing support from the general public to secure gifts through corporate partnerships, workplace giving, sponsorships, service clubs, tribute and memorial giving, planned gifts, annual giving, community events and major gifts.

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Rock Balancing

Darlene's Story

Born into an athletic and competitive family, Darlene’s childhood was full of activities.  She started ice-skating at the age of 3 and began figure skating at 5.  She would typically spend 6-7 day a week on the ice.  In the summer months she played rep soccer, tennis, volleyball, swam and ran.


In her teens she became passionate about fashion, did some professional modelling and was a contestant in the Miss Canada Pageant.


From a young age, her parents instilled a strong work ethic in her through a paper route she shared with her younger brother. (Who was born on the exact same day as her, a year later.)


When she entered the workforce, she had planned to follow her father’s footsteps in the investment industry.  When that company “loaned” her to help United Way of Greater Toronto’s annual fall campaign, she found her true calling.  Fundraising was the perfect match for her interests in business, people and helping others.  She spent over six years at United Way of Greater Toronto developing a through knowledge of industry best practices and proficient skills in all areas of donor relations.


She’s worked at several educational institutions including: Bayview Glen Independent School, Centennial College, George Brown College Foundation, and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. 


Darlene also worked at The Heart & Stroke Foundation, The Toronto Humane Society and most recently as the Chief Development Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto.


When she’s not working, Darlene enjoys motorcycle adventure touring with her husband John, spending time at the cottage with her two stepdaughters and caring for her three rescued Siamese cats.


She has completed several marathons and once did 1,000 burpee’s in 2 hours and 38 minutes at her CrossfFit box as a charity fundraiser.  She enjoys coaching and has been a past-certified instructor in inline skating, ice-skating, downhill skiing and CrossFit.


From time to time, you may also find her in Bonita Springs, Florida, on the golf course with her parents or being a “Savvy Auntie” to her twin nieces Estelle and Brooke and Aveline.