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2023 Nonprofit Fundraising Conference

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Kindling the 8th Fire: A Return of Indigenous Knowledge for a More Abundant Future

with Nikki Pieratos, executive director of Tiwahe Foundation

Nikki will focus on Anishinaabe teachings of abundance and lessons we can tangibly apply to our work including cultural values and defining other forms of wealth and sustainability in our work like cultural wealth, relationships as prosperity, community as an asset, the natural world we live in, and spirituality. 

Get ready to push yourself to rethink the larger systems and practices within philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.
Breakout Session Speakers

Angela BernhardtAngela Bernhardt is a fundraising professional with over 20 years of experience at the Guthrie Theater, Park Nicollet Foundation, and the Allina Office of Philanthropy. For the past 10 years she has been the director of major gifts at Hammer Residences, a Wayzata-based nonprofit celebrating 100 years of providing housing and supportive services to people living with developmental disabilities. Using the consulting services at BWF, Hammer has launched a $10M campaign, Together, We Ensure Tomorrow. Integrating formal prospect research with meaningful conversations has led to increased giving and built deeper relationships with family members, donors, and community leaders. Angela holds a CFRE designation.

Steve BolandSteve Boland is a nonprofit veteran with over 25 years of experience helping charities grow with new ideas in fundraising and communications. Steve has presented over 100 learning sessions on topics such as crowdfunding, fundraising infrastructure, and social media strategy for nonprofits. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Steve holds a master of nonprofit management from Hamline University and is an alumnus of the Shannon Leadership Institute. Steve is the managing partner of Next in Nonprofits, a consulting and services firm focused on building engagement for charities.

Zoe ClarkeZoe Clarke is senior account executive at Mal Warwick Donordigital. Zoe hails from the Twin Cities and specializes in digital nonprofit fundraising. For the last 10 years, Zoe has helped organizations move their missions forward through heartfelt storytelling, innovative campaigning, and creative digital solutions.

Melissa CuffMelissa Cuff is a fund development professional with over 23 years of fund development experience, including individual giving, institutional giving, special events, and development and implementing annual fundraising plans. She has held development positions with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions and has also worked as a development consultant. Melissa is currently the director of development and communications at Avenues for Youth, where she oversees a team responsible for the annual fund and an upcoming campaign.

Tiffany DykesTiffany Dykes is a grant writing and fundraising consultant and an emerging nonprofit leader in the Twin Cities area. Tiffany began her nonprofit career in 2014 as an AmeriCorps VISTA, where she gained an interest in fundraising. Since then, Tiffany has spent most of her career focused on institutional fundraising. Her overall goal as a consultant is to connect community members who are already doing work to improve their communities but need the capital to make a greater impact. She is a member of the Urban Homeworks board of directors and an involved and committed Twin Cities community member.

Mallory EvansMallory Evans is co-owner of Fundraising Solutions by A&M, a consulting firm specializing in solving unique, immediate, or new fundraising issues facing organizations. With over 16 years of experience in event planning and 12 years in the nonprofit sector Mallory uses her event management and design skills to create mission-driven experiences designed to inspire attendees to use their time and resources to improve their communities. In addition to event planning, Mallory joined the nonprofit sector with a focus on volunteer management and ultimately became a development director overseeing all communications, volunteer programs, and fundraising efforts. Her mission is to continue to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations with their fundraising efforts to help them achieve their mission and goals to make a bigger impact on the community.

Maggie FlanaganMaggie Flanagan is senior account executive at Mal Warwick Donordigital. Maggie is a digital fundraiser with nearly 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit industry. She’s well-versed in content marketing, website design, digital advertising, direct response fundraising, and more. Maggie is also a dedicated hospice volunteer.

Karen GrahamKaren Graham, founder of Karen Graham Consulting, is a speaker, trainer, writer, and consultant with expertise in technology leadership and innovation, nonprofit software, and digital strategy. Her consulting work includes strategic technology roadmaps, development of knowledge resources, and leadership coaching. A former executive director of the national nonprofit Idealware, she has held leadership roles in capacity building, arts, and human service organizations as well as a software startup. She holds an MBA in nonprofit management from the University of St. Thomas.

Emily Greenwald JohnsonEmily Greenwald Johnson is a dynamic grant professional working to advance equity in all of its forms. As founder and principal of Tikkun Grant Advancement, she advises clients on all aspects of grantseeking through a strategic lens that addresses the complexities and uniqueness of her clients. Emily founded Tikkun Grant Advancement in 2016 as a social enterprise where senior writers mentor up-and-coming writers from BIPOC communities to diversify the grantwriting field. Prior to founding Tikkun Grant Advancement, she led grant-seeking at Lifetrack, where she increased foundation giving by 17 percent in her first year as grants manager and managed a portfolio of $4.4 million in private giving and government contracts. She has a B.S. in urban studies from the University of Minnesota.

Sierra HegstomSierra Hegstom has been a compassionate advocate dedicated to making a difference in her community for years. Her creative talents – writing, photography - combined with intuition, kindness, and resourcefulness – served her well as the assistant director at Small Sums. In that “many hats” role, she wrangled resources and funds to support the work of Small Sums, helping clients experiencing homelessness with what they needed to start back to work.

Lindsey HemkerLindsey Hemker has over a decade of development experience that has helped bring nonprofits to the next level of fundraising through multi-year strategic planning. Her strengths include annual giving, foundational giving, corporate relations, capital campaigns, peer to peer fundraising, state level lobbying, and grant writing. She is committed to the integrity, mission, ethics, and reputation of the organizations she supports. Lindsey completed her master’s degree in international development at the University of Saint Mary’s, is the commissioner for the Economic Development Authority in her hometown, an ambassador for her local Chamber of Commerce, and a devoted volunteer in her community.

Dana HoltDana J. Holt is an award-winning author, charitable gift planning educator, professional speaker, and consultant. She teaches fundraisers how to raise millions more by accessing wealth, not just cash. Dana began her career as an estate planning attorney and then spent 13 years at a Fortune 300 financial services company where she taught wealth advisors how to integrate charitable planning into their practice. Now, Dana teaches charities how to accept non-cash assets through public speaking, consulting, her online training program, and book entitled Turning Wealth Into What Matters™: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Accepting Non-Cash Gifts. Dana is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law and Southern Illinois University. She served as chair of the Minnesota Gift Planning Association in 2020 and 2021.

Lenny JonesLaura “Lenny” Jones speaks from nearly 30 years of grantwriting, program development, and awards management experience through her work with nonprofits in Chicago and Minneapolis/St Paul. Before becoming MCN’s development manager, she served as grants & contracts specialist for the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, procuring and managing and over $3 million annually in government, foundation, and corporate awards and contracts. Throughout her professional life, Laura has been involved in program development and fundraising in the areas of HIV/AIDS treatment, community health, and reproductive justice in Chicago.

Clara JungClara Jung (she/her) is associate director of philanthropic giving at Macalester College and fundraising coach with Aligned Strategy Group. Her mission is to facilitate change at the intersection of philanthropy and social justice. With a deep commitment to community care, Clara has dedicated her career to mobilizing resources for nonprofits in the areas of public health, social services, and homelessness prevention. Clara gives back to her community as a volunteer at People Serving People and serves on the board of directors at Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. As the first person in her family to attend university, Clara earned her B.A. in religion, sociology, and anthropology from St. Olaf College.

Carly KortuemExecutive director of Qué Tal Language Program, Carly Kortuem  is a strategic and collaborative leader who oversees and guides the organization's strategy, operations, finances, and programs. With a strong commitment to the mission and a data-driven mindset, Carly empowers teams to achieve their goals through fun collaboration and effective use of technology. With a background in nonprofit leadership, including previous positions as director of strategic advancement and director of finance and operations at Franklin Center, as well as being the founder of Peerly Social, Carly has experience in fundraising, capital campaigns, strategic planning, and business administration. Carly is passionate about embracing technology to improve the effectiveness of nonprofit work and help more people.

Clara LindA native of Wisconsin, Clara Lind has called Minnesota home since 2017. She graduated from Luther College with degrees in political science, French, and international studies, and received her master’s in international development from American University. As RaiseMN’s director of coaching, Clara brings a variety of skills as a coach and curriculum-builder. Clara was drawn to fundraising because of the immense potential in all of us to do better. She aims to center equity, CCF principles, trust, and care for communities in her work with RaiseMN. Clara knows that we can all be powerful fundraisers when we’re equipped with skills, resources, and training.

Allison LiuzziAs project director of Minnesota Compass, Allison Liuzzi (she/her) works with a team of researchers to describe and measure progress on topics related to our shared quality of life in Minnesota. She has particular interest in demographic trends, employment and workforce development, and immigration. Allison joined Wilder Research in 2012. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Luther College, her master's degree from Michigan State University, and completed her doctoral coursework in sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Allison lives with her family in Saint Paul’s Como Park neighborhood.

Mallory MitchellMallory Mitchell (she/her) is co-founder of Aligned Strategy Group, a nonprofit fundraising consultancy specializing in community-centric fundraising and individual giving. Her comprehensive fundraising curricula has been embraced by numerous nonprofits across the country. Mallory received the 2021 National Philanthropy Day Award from the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for her extraordinary commitment to advancing racial equity in philanthropy. Her mission is to equip fundraisers with the knowledge and resources needed to build values-aligned fundraising strategies. Mallory holds a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Montevallo, and a master of public policy degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Sarah PriceSarah Price is the managing director of research services at BWF and has over 20 years of experience working in fundraising. She leads a team of researchers working on projects including prospect verification and identification, prospect research, and training for new and established prospect development teams. Before joining BWF, Sarah served as prospect research manager at Augsburg University, where she created and implemented a prospect development program to support the largest campaign the university has undertaken. Sarah is a former board member of Apra-MN, and has presented at Apra International, NEDRA, Apra-MN, and AFP Minnesota conferences. Sarah earned a B.A. in anthropology and environmental studies from the University of Minnesota – Duluth.

Peter RachleffPeter Rachleff is director of the East Side Freedom Library. Peter taught at Macalester College in the History Department, served as department chair during his tenure there, and as the faculty coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. Peter has also taught at Metro State University and the University of Minnesota. He co-founded the East Side Freedom Library in 2013 to bring labor, history, and humanities, into the community. Peter retired as the co-executive director and now serves on the board of directors.

Jenna RayA North Dakota native, Jenna Ray came to Minnesota in 2006 and has been here ever since. She studied theatre, English, and multicultural studies at the University of Minnesota – Morris and has served the Morris Area Schools, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, UMN Morris, West Central Initiative, and GiveMN. Her fundraising superpower is telling good stories about causes close to her heart. She’s worked on campaigns ranging from $300 to $31 million, and she’s equally proud of them. Jenna earned a certificate in fundraising management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. She is a matrilineal descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, with ties to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana. An everyday philanthropist, Jenna lives, works, and gives in rural Minnesota.

Frances RoenFrances Roen is a certified fundraising executive with over 18 years of fundraising experience helping nonprofits across the globe to raise more than $150M. Frances helps nonprofit professionals plan and execute successful fundraising campaigns without sacrificing their health and sanity. Specializing in small and mid-size nonprofit fundraising, Fundraising Sol offers interim development support and campaign planning and ongoing counsel. 

Keila Anali SaucedoKeila Anali Saucedo has been writing, storytelling, lying, and creating travesura since their childhood. They are a playwright, performing artist, and theatre maker originally from Chicago. Keila Anali's work is an attempt at alchemy using ancestral wisdom, survivor technology, and queer discoveriesThey have presented work with Patrick's Cabaret, Teatro del Pueblo, Pangea World Theatre and the 20% Theatre Company.  They currently serve as the co-Artistic Director of Lightning Rod, a queer trans arts organism. Currently, Keila Anali is excited to serve as one of the Waterers. The Waterers seek to disrupt philanthropic models in an attempt to spread resources to local communities doing amazing work.

Amanda SkorichAmanda Skorich is co-owner of Fundraising Solutions by A&M, a consulting firm specializing in solving unique, immediate, or new fundraising issues facing organizations. Amanda’s love for people has driven her aspirations. Originating her career in the nonprofit field of grantwriting, Amanda has honed this skill over the last 13 years with experience in health, social services, and education funding. Her philanthropic pursuits also extended into events, lobbying, and volunteering. Amanda has planned and organized weddings, conferences, and fundraisers for the last 10 years in various capacities, and even occasionally officiates weddings! On a mission to fulfilling her aspiration to Gandhi’s “Be the Change You Wish to See in this World,” Amanda looks forward to helping organizations achieve their mission and goals to make a bigger impact on the community.

Sarah StaigerSkill in asking the right questions has set Sarah Staiger apart in her career. Her inquisitiveness and relational skill create space for people and organizations to become deeply curious, laying the groundwork for change. Curiosity can begin to break away at outdated systems that cause harm, it can allow for vulnerability and growth, and it can help us imagine our very best future and determine what it will take to get there. Sarah’s time as a fundraiser, coach and communicator and her passion for building power through organized people and organized money. Sarah's master’s degree in advocacy and political leadership connected her fundraising work to policies and systems. Make her day and invite a conversation about power dynamics in our work and lives.

Terre ThomasTerre Thomas served as the executive director of Small Sums, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit that assists those experiencing homelessness with the items they need to start new jobs. In the seven years as executive director, she raised the organization’s annual budget funds from $112k to $524k (and tripled the size of the donor base), primarily through individual giving, events, and grants (without government contracts, nor fees for service).  She learned, and practiced, many creative ways to raise those funds. She currently works freelance on fun and interesting fundraising, marketing, writing projects, and political campaigns.

Heidi TieszenAs a philanthropic advisor at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Heidi Tieszen partners with individuals, couples, families, and corporations to realize their charitable goals and make an impact. Prior to the Foundation, Heidi worked at Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota Foundation in both stewardship and major gifts. She previously worked in marketing at companies including Bain Capital and Bain & Company. She has an English degree from Augustana College (now University) in Sioux Falls. Heidi serves as a board member of the Real Estate Riders, a bike team raising money for the MS Society, and is a member of the Minnesota Council on Foundations’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. She also volunteers at Every Meal.

Laura VitelliLaura Vitelli knows the joys and challenges of working to create change in our homes, institutions, and communities. With 30 years as a nonprofit leader, she’s experienced the days when everything seems to be coming together and the days when you ask is ‘why does it have to be so hard?’.  Laura works with clients to build capacity so that it doesn’t have to be so hard. Nonprofit leaders with big visions count on her to help crystalize and communicate their strategy and to secure the sustainable resources to make it happen. She is a master planner able to help teams set big goals and map the path to achieve them. Laura’s work experience is supported by her MBA in nonprofit management.

Cary Lenore WalskiCary Lenore Walski is nerd-in-chief of Copilot: Web Development & Ongoing Support for Nonprofits. Cary is an award-winning web developer using her knowledge of psychology and the arts to create better online experiences for nonprofits. She works primarily using the WordPress and Squarespace platforms. As a former digital fundraiser herself, she knows how to do a lot with the limited resources available to most social impact organizations. She graduated magna cum laude from Macalester College with a B.A. in psychology. Her many interests include ethical nonprofit storytelling.

Jeremy WellsJeremy R. Wells serves as senior vice president of Philanthropic Services at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. Jeremy serves as the chief fundraising and donor stewardship strategist. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas and is a frequently requested speaker on a variety of advancement and fund development topics, including charitable tax policy, development planning, utilizing volunteers, donor engagement, stewardship, ethics, and campaign strategy. In addition to his work, Jeremy has served on many local, regional, and national nonprofit boards, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Global board of directors and the AFP Political Action Committee board. He was also selected as a “40 Under 40” recipient by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in 2018. He holds M.A. and CFRE designations.

Daryl YankeeAs “a fixer”, Daryl Yankee has facilitated strategic changes for a host of Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the country. During his time at the Humane Society, he earned a master’s degree in organization development from Pepperdine University. It was there he learned to initiate process improvement through dialogue and inquiry. These days Daryl serves as an MCN board member and independent consultant, using visual harvesting and facilitation to create connection through all-inclusive formats, welcoming all styles of learners into the decision-making process. Dogs and cats working together, that’s what Daryl does.

Aaron ZimmermanAaron Zimmerman (he/him) is the executive director of PFund Foundation, the upper Midwest LGBTQ+ community foundation. He is a career fundraiser and nonprofit executive who has supported social justice nonprofits in the Upper Midwest through comprehensive communications, strategic planning, and development. As a certified fundraising executive, he utilizes best practices to support missions important to him and the community. He has his master of arts degree in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He focused his capstone on the history and practice of white supremacy in philanthropy in the United States. Aaron volunteers on the boards of Social Venture Partners MN, Minnesota Council on Foundations, and on the finance committee of Healthcare Reparations Cooperative. He holds an M.A. degree.