AFPKC’s Philanthropy MATTERS: Julianne DeLessio
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Julianne DeLessio is employed with Union Station Kansas City as its donor and corporate relations manager, where she works with corporate partners and sponsors, as well as individual donors. She manages giving groups, annual campaigns, event sponsorships, and community partnerships; and her hard work benefits the STEM outreach at Science City in Union Station. Julianne is from Iowa and attended Rockhurst University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. Julianne loves hearing the stories of the people who pass through the exhibits and tours, as they share stories of how their families traveled through the iconic institution.
Paige Engle graduated from Olathe East High School and Kansas State University. She is the donor engagement manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City – and she is also a Big. Her Little is Arleah, who is looking forward to being a greeter at Paige’s wedding to Ben Peterson later this year. “I love seeing individuals, businesses, and organizations come together with the shared goal of improving the lives of Kansas Citians,” she said, adding, “I feel privileged to be a part of Kansas City’s philanthropy sector, where I can contribute to positive change and witness the transformative power of collective efforts.” Paige’s service on genKC, the young professionals board of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, has included being membership chair on the executive board. She is an active member of The Loop KC and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter. Most recently, Paige has been accepted for the Kansas City Sports Commissions’ Emerging Leaders board.
Trisha Brauer is the owner of Taking Bids Fundraising. She estimates that she spends approximately 26 hours preparing for each fundraising auction. Trisha is a member of the National Auctioneers Association and the only woman to have served two terms on its board of directors. She has a bachelor of arts degree in public relations and English and a master’s degree in business administration in marketing and consumer behavior. Trisha is a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City. Eight years ago, she was matched with Mia, who is her Little. Trisha was the organization’s Big Sister of the Year in 2018. Mia now works part-time with Taking Bids Fundraising. Trisha and her husband, Hayden, have been married for 12 years and have two dogs.
Aaron Stroman volunteers with the We Defy Foundation, which offers instruction in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and fitness training to combat veterans who have disabilities that are related to their military service. He serves as a mentor to the athletes, and is also part of the development team. Aaron grew up in Oklahoma and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. In addition, he has a master’s degree in ministry from Indiana Wesleyan University. He has lived in Our Town since 2010. The father of two teenage children, Aaron is employed as a consultant with Stroman & Associates.
Andrew Lang is director of philanthropy for Starlight. He said, “Nothing beats the joy of giving back to your community, and it is so rewarding to connect people closer to the causes and projects they are passionate about.” Philanthropy is key to his life away from the office, as well. Andrew is a board member of the Mid-America Charitable Gift Planners. He and his wife, Katherine, are a Big Couple for Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City. Andrew is a member of Top Gun Kansas City, which focuses on philanthropy and networking. He was a member of the Centurions Leadership Program, Class of 2020, and served on the steering committee. Andrew was a Band of Angels Rockstar, Class of 2020. He enjoys spending time with Katherine and their dog, Carter.
Tish Sjuts is the development and strategic communications manager with Midwest Innocence Project (MIP). “I help facilitate fundraising efforts for MIP through grants and events. Grants have helped us increase capacity, and in 2020 we were able to develop a social work program to provide reentry services,” Tish said. This year, her responsibilities also include communications, “which means I get to work on developing strategies to raise awareness as we grow community events,” she noted. Tish’s volunteer work includes providing advocacy services for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) and as a member of the Volker Neighborhood Association (VNA) and the Kansas City Neighborhood Advisory Council (KCNAC).
John Wingert is the annual giving and donor engagement specialist at the Kansas City Public Library. John said, “Whether it includes teaching reading to children, providing access to the digital tools that are modern requirements, evening the playing field for families in poverty, or serving as a source of unbiased information, the Kansas City Public Library serves as a doorway to knowledge and opportunity for all, and it is a pleasure to share those stories with folks.” Outside of work, John serves as secretary of the board for the Kansas City Center for Inclusion, Kansas City’s LGBTQIA+ community center. He is passionate about supporting and uplifting Kansas City’s queer and trans communities. John also serves on the professional development committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter.
Lauren Clifton-Thompson is the philanthropy and communications manager for Amethyst Place. As she stated, “My career is rewarding because I witness lives being transformed through the compassion and generosity of our community.” Lauren earned both a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She received a graduate certificate in nonprofit leadership from Park University. Lauren serves on the membership committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter. Lauren and her husband, Charon Thompson, are the parents of three children, plus one dog. They enjoy traveling and cheering on the Chiefs.
Melissa Ford is the director of philanthropic giving at the UMKC Foundation. “I bring people and missions together to make a positive impact and change in my community,” she said. Melissa grew up in Our Town, where she studied at Notre Dame de Sion and was a Girl Scout. Melissa earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance performance from Oklahoma City University. She clearly has a passion for the Kansas City Ballet. Melissa has been a Kansas City Ballet Guild member for 14 years and is now the president. She is a ball committee member and serves on the board of directors. Since 2018, Melissa has served as a Girl Scout Troop leader. In addition, she joined the Kansas City Young Matrons in 2020.
Sarah Link Ferguson is the development and events manager for First Call, which provides recovery and prevention services for individuals, families, and communities impacted by addiction. Born and raised in Kansas City, she graduated from Olathe East High School and The University of Kansas. Sarah gravitated to the non-profit sector after graduation and quickly realized her interest was in fundraising. She completed her master’s degree in fundraising management from Avila University in 2020. “I manage First Call’s annual giving campaigns, including three special events, an end of year appeal, monthly giving, and mid-level individual gifts,” Sarah said. She and her husband, Matt, are the parents of a four-year-old daughter, Eliana.
Jerry Pickman is the vice president of philanthropy operations for Mosaic Life Care Foundation. “I am responsible for implementing a unified and comprehensive fund development strategy,” he explained, adding, “This involves building and maintaining a donor-centered funding model and team.” Jerry earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Missouri Western State University and an executive master of business administration degree from Benedictine College. He is both a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP). Jerry and his wife, Shannon, are natives of Atchison, Kansas. They have been married for 37 years and are the parents of three children. Grandchildren? Yes – a growing number of them!
Suzie Schuckman is the director of partnerships and fund development for Sherwood Autism Center. “I support Sherwood by strategically advancing our donor outreach, foundation relations, corporate partnerships, volunteer opportunities, and community engagement and integration,” she said. Suzie is a Kansas City native who recently returned here after living first in New York and then in Colorado. She is a first-generation college graduate. Suzie earned a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northwest Missouri State University, where she now serves on the alumni association board. She received a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri and a master of public administration degree from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Suzie serves on the scholarship committee of the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and is a founding member of The Modernists at The National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Lindsey Rood-Clifford is the chief operating officer and vice president of philanthropy for the Starlight Theatre Association of Kansas City. She fondly remembers productions at Starlight from her childhood. Lindsey participated in the Blue Star Awards program and began her arts administration career as a summer intern in the Bob Rohlf Internship Program. She is a graduate of The University of Kansas, a member of the Centurions Class of 2017, and a 2018 Olathe Civic Academy graduate. Lindsey is the president-elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; the secretary of the Centurions Alumni Board; a past chairman of Kansas City’s National Philanthropy Day, a board vice president of In the Name of GRACE; and a steering committee member for Kansas City CARE Health Center’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Joan Cabell is the development director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Heart of America. Her fundraising experience began 23 years ago with United Way. Joan previously worked with students and veterans at the Command and General Staff College Foundation. “My passion for fundraising begins with building strong relationships that can benefit the mission and the community, and Kansas City is a wonderful philanthropic community,” Joan said. She currently serves as the board president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter. Joan and her husband, Pete, are the parents of two daughters, Natalie and Gabi.
MaryLee Guthrie is director of development for Kansas City Repertory Theatre. “I collaborate with other department chairs and the leadership team as we strive to move the region’s flagship theatre to its next level of artistic success and community engagement,” she said. After earning a degree in business from the University of Central Missouri, MaryLee started her career in fundraising at a Boys & Girls Club. She worked for her alma mater prior to moving to Canada, where her titles at the University of Alberta were regional director in the Office of Advancement and assistant dean of advancement for the faculty of nursing. She joined the staff of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2019.
Andrew Garton is the assistant director of philanthropic giving at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. He leads a team of philanthropic advisors at Children’s Mercy, where his younger sisters received care. Andrew doesn’t confine his talents to business hours. “In the last six years, I’ve had the opportunity to weave into the fabric of this incredible community and serve as chair of Orpheus KC (the new audience board at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City), and the chair of the resources and engagement committee for 91.9 Classical KC,” he noted, adding that he “previously served as the chair for the major gifts cohort within Woodmark (the North American organization for pediatric hospital philanthropy), and on the board of the Modernists at The National WWI Museum and Memorial.”
Jennifer Kraenzle might be a native of St. Louis, but she is firmly ensconced in the Kansas City philanthropic community! After receiving her bachelor of arts degree in communications from Rockhurst University, Jennifer settled into a life of serving others. In her current role as director of development at Alphapointe, she is responsible for raising funds to benefit the programs offered for people with vision loss. Those programs include support with rehabilitation, employment opportunities, and skills for living independently. When she is not working, Jennifer spends time with her husband, her two cats and two dogs, or cooking and reading. Jennifer believes, “We all have a responsibility to use our skills and time to make the world a better place.”
Ted Place is the chief development officer for the National WWI Museum and Memorial. “Working in the philanthropic sector in Kansas City has given me the opportunity to interact with a vibrant and diverse community of supporters and partners,” he said. Ted, a native of Albany, Missouri, graduated from Northwest Missouri State University. His career in fundraising and development spans two decades, and includes stints with community service organizations and educational institutions. Ted is an alumnus of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Program. He currently serves on the boards of the Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and the Northwest Missouri State University Foundation. Ted and his wife, Kate, are the parents of two children, Ben and Claire.
David Hanzlick is the director of program and development for Sheffield Place, which provides treatment and supportive housing for homeless women and their children. His many responsibilities include leading fundraising initiatives. David also facilitates a weekly group session, focusing on personal financial management and employment search and retention skills for the organization’s clients. As he said, “A development colleague once warned me that working as a fundraiser in the social services sector was so rewarding that I would never leave. That has certainly been the case. You have the satisfaction of interacting with the clients who benefit from your work and the many generous donors and volunteers who make the work possible.” David is a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter, and the Rotary Club of Kansas City (Club 13). He and his wife, Janeé, are the parents of two married daughters.
Ross Pfannenstiel is a native of Kansas City. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college. As a student at Rockhurst University, Ross received the Finucane Service Scholarship. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration/finance and economics, graduating with honors. Ross is executive vice president with Hartsook, which works to help non profits grow. As Ross said, “Kansas City has a strong philanthropic culture. I have the honor, privilege, and opportunity with Hartsook to work with a wide range of great non-profit organizations and generous philanthropists, making a positive impact in the lives of so many people.”
Jamie Roach is the operations director for the International FOP Association. Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare and disabling genetic condition. Jamie earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from William Jewell College and a master’s degree in non-profit management from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Jamie is the fundraising chairman and a board member of HopeBUILDERS, the home repair organization, and is the board secretary of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Kansas City Chapter. Jamie counts herself as fortunate to “have had the opportunity to work remotely for organizations based in Kansas City while traveling in South America, Europe, and Asia.” Indeed, few people have explored as many places as she has. “In early 2020, I fulfilled a bucket-list item by traveling to Antarctica,” she said, noting that it was the seventh continent she had visited.
Lorraine Moore is the development director at Park University. Her undergraduate degree is from William Jewell College. Lorraine earned a master’s degree in communication and leadership from Park University. “My fundraising experience began over 25 years ago with the March of Dimes, where I served on the logistics and registration committees for the March for Babies event,” she said. Since then, Lorraine has served many organizations in a variety of ways: she has been a volunteer with Junior Achievement, a docent at the Kansas City Zoo, and president of the William Jewell College National Alumni Board of Governors. Lorraine currently serves on the board of Great Plains SPCA.
Raysha Sally is the director of development for Boys Hope Girls Hope of Kansas City, which works to ensure that young people can focus on academics and prepare for higher education while living in a safe and supportive environment. “I am the primary fundraiser working to bring in in-kind, monetary, and grant donations. I also plan our annual events,” she said. These include Trivia Night and Golf Fore Hope. Raysha earned both an undergraduate degree in public relations and a master’s degree from University of Central Missouri. While in graduate school, she was a graduate assistant with the UCM Foundation. Raysha currently is a member of the school’s Next Gen Council. She also volunteers as a recruitment advisor with Delta Zeta’s Epsilon Gamma chapter. Raysha is “dog mom” to Keeva, age six, and Riggins, age two, both rescues.
Amanda Smasal, special events manager, Wayside Waifs, comes by her passion for animals naturally. “As a child, one of my most vivid memories was adopting a puppy from our local shelter. Over the years, my family rescued countless animals,” she said. Amanda’s history at Wayside Waifs has also included stints as an adoptions counselor and as community engagement coordinator. “I feel fortunate every day to do something that I truly love,” she said. Amanda earned a master’s degree in non-profit leadership and fundraising from Rockhurst University. She and her husband, Eric Vaughan, are the parents of a daughter, Maya.
Karolyn Dreiling is the director of development for the University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation. “I have the pleasure of connecting our alumni and community partners with opportunities to support the success of UCM students,” she said. A graduate of Rockhurst University, Karolyn earned a master’s degree in public administration in non-profit management from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She serves on the board of Bra Couture KC, and she volunteers with Boys Hope Girls Hope of Kansas City and the Vittle Van.
Natalie Julien is the president and chief executive officer of CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers advocate in court on behalf of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Natalie earned a bachelor of science degree in social science from California Polytechnic State University and master’s degrees in social work and public administration from the University of Southern California. Her career has included stints with the Thomas House Family Shelter in Garden Grove, California; Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Children’s Way Foster Family Agency, and the Department of Children and Family Services.
Lisa Fickenscher is the corporate sponsorships and grant manager at the Kansas City Zoo. “I love the Zoo! The most rewarding part of my job, and, I think philanthropy in general, is finding those people who share the same passion and showing them a way to make a difference in something they care about,” Lisa said. Lisa earned a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Nebraska. She has worked 21 years in the non-profit sector, and has also had a freelance consulting business, which offered project management solutions to non profits and small businesses. Lisa is a board member of ScrapsKC, which repurposes supplies and materials and works closely with members of the homeless population.
Jess Rhodes is the director of development for KC Scholars. Jess is a first-generation college graduate, who has earned a master of science degree in college student personnel administration from the University of Central Missouri. As Jess noted, “Fundraising is less about the funds and more about the people.” KC Scholars works to make it possible for students and adults with high school diplomas or GEDs to further their education by providing scholarships, financial incentive to promote college savings, and support services for those with low and modest incomes. The organization’s goals include helping people find employment in the area after they have completed their studies. “Kansas City families know that their giving legacy can brighten the future of our scholars, and in turn enhance the workforce right here in our backyard,” she said. Jess and her husband, Josh, round out their family with twin daughters and a dog. Jess and her family love to cheer for her favorite teams: the University of Central Missouri Mules, plus the Royals and the Chiefs.
Susan Belger Angulo did not choose philanthropy — philanthropy chose her. After studying business and marketing at Texas Christian University, Susan joined her family’s multi-generational trucking company founded by her grandfather in 1919. Her volunteer work with the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri led her to a career in fundraising. In 1999, Union Station Kansas City President David Ucko took a chance and hired her as the director of development, and the rest is history! Susan currently serves as director of development for HappyBottoms, Kansas City’s sole diaper bank serving families in need. In her free time, Susan enjoys spending time with family, especially grandson Monty.
Mark Reed is the director of advancement for St. Benedict’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Atchison, Kansas. He has been involved in fundraising since his college days. Mark earned a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. He is an Oblate of St. Benedict’s Abbey. Community service is important to Mark. Organizations in which he has been a volunteer and held officer positions include the Atchison Rotary Club, the Elks Club, the Serra Club, and the Knights of Columbus. What makes him smile? Time spent with his grandchildren!
When asked for a quote regarding her work in philanthropy, Angie Heer hit the nail on the head, “Fundraising is not a solo sport!” This veteran fundraiser should know, she’s been in it for 21 years! With a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Missouri’s Trulaske School of Business, and a master’s degree in management with an emphasis in fundraising from Avila University, she is now the chief development officer for United Women’s Empowerment – United WE. The organization’s mission is to advance all women’s economic and civic leadership, and Angie raises the funds to cover a lot of bases to make that happen. To support her quote, Angie also said, “It takes engaged and passionate volunteers, board members, and donors, and Kansas City is fortunate to have so many of them.” She is married and has two sons.
Read more in the December 11, 2021 issue of The Independent
Being the executive director of The Arts Asylum is extremely rewarding for Evie Craig. The mission of The Arts Asylum is to provide a safe place to create for artists, performers, educators, and creative companies in Kansas City. They offer accessible gallery, studio, classroom, and performing space for artists of all backgrounds. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly rough for artists, Evie is placing particular emphasis on keeping artists and patrons healthy and safe. As a volunteer, Evie serves on the boards of AFPKC, the Downtown Council, and Missouri Citizens for the Arts.
Doug Anderson serves as the individual giving manager at The Children’s Place. Doug manages relationships with individual donors and promotes the organization’s major, monthly, and planned giving programs. He started his career working in various roles at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters, and later served as the development director at LevelUp Kids in the Northland. Doug’s parents made volunteering a priority when he was growing up, and he credits them with fueling his passion for helping people. He and his wife, Amy, have a two-year-old daughter.
Read more from the November 13, 2021 issue of The Independent
Paul Rueschhoff is the chief development officer for Lakemary Center, which provides services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental differences. “There is no greater honor than caring for our individuals, and raising philanthropic support for people with special needs is a very meaningful way to spend a career,” he said. Paul has been involved in fundraising for three decades. Prior to that, he practiced law for more than eight years. Paul describes himself as a “proud Jayhawk” – he has two undergraduate degrees and a law degree from The University of Kansas. With his wife, Denise, he has two grown daughters, plus a feisty dachshund named Boris.
Jennifer Wampler is passionate about the arts, and ballet, specifically. With a bachelor of arts degree from Iowa State University and a master of business administration degree in non-profit management from the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri—Kansas City, she is uniquely qualified to be the chief development officer at the Kansas City Ballet, where she was instrumental in raising $38 million for the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity. Jennifer is the past president of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and she is a senior fellow at the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC.
Also featured in the October 16, 2021 issue of The Independent
Robin Rowland is vice president, donor relations and communications at Wayside Waifs. Robin describes herself as a lifelong learner. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwest Missouri State University and her master’s degree from Avila University. Volunteering has been important to her life, beginning with the Girl Scouts and continuing with the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri. “Receiving the 2020 Excellence in Fundraising Award from my peers and donors was a humbling experience that has inspired me to do more in creating positive change in the community,” Robin said. “I lead an incredible team of committed animal lovers.”
Also featured in the October 2, 2021 issue of The Independent
Tara Hefner is the market development director for Unbound. The organization provides support to nearly 300,000 children, elders, and their families in 19 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The majority of Tara’s career was in corporate communications before she joined Unbound. “What I love about what we do is our core belief – that the best path out of poverty is a self-directed one,” she said. While in Kenya, Tara met Florence, who, despite suffering severe burns to her hands in childhood, makes beads and creates jewelry, using her teeth to hold a sewing needle. Florence is the mother of a child who is sponsored by Unbound.
Also featured in the September 18, 2021 issue of The Independent
Neil Robertson hails from New England. After graduating from Fairfield University, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he lived for nine years, while working as a campaign staffer and grassroots organizer. A resident of Our Town since 2005, Neil serves as the development director of Band of Angels, which rescues and refurbishes musical instruments, and then provides them to young people who would otherwise be unable to afford them. “Kansas City has such a huge heart. We are so fortunate to have volunteers, sponsors, donors, and so many more Band of Angels advocates who support the arts and understand its impact on students’ growth,” he said.
Also featured in the September 4, 2021 issue of The Independent
Marissa Todd is development director, operations, for The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. “I lead the team responsible for development operations. We are the drivers of fundraising activity, ensuring accurate information so our team can engage with members and donors,” she said. Marissa’s hometown is St. Louis, Missouri. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a juris doctor degree from the University of Missouri and also a master’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. Marissa has more than 16 years of experience in fundraising. She is a board member of Apra, the professional association for prospect development, and has held leadership positions in the local chapter.
Also featured in the August 21, 2021 issue of The Independent
Ashton Wells is the associate director, development for the American Cancer Society Kansas City. Growing up in Columbia, Missouri, she considered a career in education, but her father challenged her to look for other opportunities. That led her to her mother’s alma mater, William Jewell College, which had just begun offering an undergraduate degree in nonprofit leadership. “My ‘why’ for working at the American Cancer Society is my younger sister, who went through a cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2016. You never think it’ll be your family, especially the youngest person in our family, that is impacted by cancer. And it changes everything. But knowing every day that I am doing what I can to fight this disease fuels my passion and the work that I do,” Ashton said.
Also featured in the August 7, 2021 issue of The Independent
Mark Blanck Jr. is employed with the UMKC Foundation as Director of Major Gifts, Health Sciences. “My role is to work with donors and alumni from the Health Sciences campus which includes the School of Pharmacy, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. I help to match donor philanthropic goals to the needs of each school to further their programming,” he said. Mark has more than 10 years of fundraising experience, and was previously affiliated with Rockhurst High School. A Kansas City native, he earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University. Mark and his wife, Natalie, have a growing family.
Also featured in the July 24, 2021 issue of The Independent
Melissa Jones has been the development manager for Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City since 2018. “Over the past three years I have worked to build a robust individual giving program that connects donors to our core mission of building homes, communities, and hope,” she said. Melissa previously was employed with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City and Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri and a member of Rotary Club 13. Melissa and her husband, Billy, have a young son, Carson. When they’re not chasing after Carson, Melissa and Billy enjoy spending Saturdays in the West Bottoms and trying new breweries.
Also featured in the June 24, 2021 issue of The Independent
Marites Altuna is the director of the Kansas Deaf-Blind Project at the Kansas State School for the Blind. She serves as a board member of the KC Blind All-Stars Foundation and leads the annual KCBAS 5K. In addition, Marites is an ambassador for the Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce, a Diversity Inclusion Global Council member of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, and a member of the Kansas Early Childhood Recommendations Panel. One of her favorite quotes is from Tim Cook: “You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change.”
Also featured in the June 12, 2021 issue of The Independent.
Holly Jenkins-Long is the development officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Greater Kansas City. In her role, she is responsible for developing and implementing fund development and community outreach strategies. The organization’s mission is to partner with residents and stakeholders to create inclusive communities of opportunity through housing, economic development, financial stability, health, education, safety, and more. Holly graduated from St. Teresa’s Academy, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from Baker University. She is a board member for Lead to Read KC and Black Excellence Kansas City. Holly is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Xi Tau Omega Chapter; and the Central Exchange.
Also featured in the May 29, 2021 issue of The Independent.
Being a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a master of business administration degree from the University of Saint Mary, Sharon Ramsey is especially enamored with serving as the director of development for the Kansas City Kansas Community College Foundation. Sharon enjoys meeting people like Esther Foreman, who is an alum of KCKCC and 103 years young! She also revels in the challenges that come with non-profit work, such as KCKCC’s efforts to build a comprehensive Community Education Center designed to help students meet today’s workplace demands. When not working, Sharon enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and their rescue dogs, Buddy and Patrick. In addition, she serves on the board of Great Plains SPCA, so we suspect there may be more furry friends in her future.
Also featured in the May 1, 2021 issue of The Independent.
Robyn Burky recently joined the American Red Cross as its regional philanthropy officer. She is excited to build relationships within the Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri region. Robyn is a graduate of the University of Missouri–Kansas City and loves all things Kansas City, including the Royals and the Chiefs. She enjoys supporting the community through various endeavors, including animal rescue and military veteran support. “The joy of connecting one’s passion to a cause is the foundation of why I love philanthropy,” Robyn said.
Robyn Burky, regional philanthropy officer, American Red Cross
Also featured in the April 17, 2021 issue of The Independent
B. Michael McFarland is the director of development for the Foundation for a College Education (FCE) organization, serving students in and around East Palo Alto, California. FCE is the most successful college access and success program serving students of color, mostly first-generation, in the East Palo Alto area. B. Michael, who is based in Kansas City, has worked for the organization since 2013, and manages a $1.4 million budget. He rejoices in knowing that each day he is impacting someone and making another person’s life a little better. “Could there be a better way to begin and end each day?” asked B. Michael.
David Barnes, Jill Taylor-Barnes, and B. Michael McFarland
Also featured in the April 3, 2021 issue of The Independent
Caitlin Wilde serves a critical role at Harvesters – The Community Food Network as major gifts manager. She takes great pride in connecting with people who are passionate about fighting food insecurity in our region. She also appreciates her connections through AFPGKC, saying, “AFP has been such a resource for connection, inspiration, and feeling less isolated during such a tumultuous time.” Caitlin has a bachelor of arts degree from Truman State University and started her non-profit career as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Lawrence, Kansas.
Also featured in the March 20, 2021 issue of The Independent
Lauren Mattleman Hoopes has been the executive director of The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City since 2003 and has worked in the non-profit sector since 1992. A graduate of Yale College, Lauren also holds a juris doctor degree from New York University Law School. As an extremely well-versed philanthropist, Lauren has presented and taught numerous courses related to non-profit management. Married to her college sweetheart, they are the parents of two grown children. Lauren’s motto is, “Our true purpose is for each of us to use our unique gifts to try to improve the world.”
Also featured in the March 6, 2021 issue of The Independent
Photo credit: Emmalee Schaumburg
Being the director of advancement at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art suits Don Schreiner well. Not only does he enjoy raising funds and awareness for the renowned Museum, but he believes that art makes the world a better place. Armed with an art history degree from The University of Kansas and a master of public administration degree from UMKC, Don owes his success and love of the arts to his mentors and parents who instilled a “solid work ethic and unbounded curiosity.” Don believes that, “People who are generous with their time and treasure are the nicest you’ll ever meet.” We couldn’t agree more.
Also featured in the February 6, 2021 issue of The Independent
Meggan Rorvig is passionate about working with non profits, as her role at M&C is that of senior marketing and development manager. She caters specifically to non profits all around the country with professional boutique services. When Meggan is not working, she is volunteering on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Kansas City, or helping to raise funds for Children’s Mercy. This busy career woman and mom is grateful to Children’s Mercy and Ronald McDonald House Charities for having provided services to her family. “Both personally and professionally, philanthropy has played a major role in my life,” said Meggan.
|Mark and Meggan Rorvig with their children, Emma and Grady|
Also featured in the January 23, 2021 issue of The Indpendent
Dan Ryan is the director of development for Tri-County Mental Health Services, where he leads the charge raising funds, managing social media, and coordinating special events. The agency provides services for families battling mental health and substance use issues in Platte, Clay, and Ray counties in Missouri. Dan’s route to working in philanthropy came after practicing law and then moving into fundraising at UMKC. He believes his interest in helping others came after he didn’t make the soccer team as a freshman in high school. His late father advised him that helping others might be a good antidote to his moping. The advice seems to have been quite right. Keep up the good work, Dan!
Also featured in the January 9, 2021 issue of The Independent
As the director of The Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, Richard Potter serves a unique and critical role of fundraising by expanding corporate relations. Founded in 1899, the VFW service organization serves all veterans by assisting them with navigating ‘red tape’, gaining access to benefits and more. Richard has been working in non profits for 35 years. He has an MBA from the University of Dubuque. Richard and his wife, Tracy, have raised two children who also chose to work in public service. As Richard so aptly put it, “Kansas City is known as one of the most philanthropic cities in the USA, and there is no better place to raise a family.”
Also featured in the December 19, 2020 issue of The Independent
Matt Astleford is the vice president for advancement of University of Saint Mary, where he leads the fundraising and alumni engagement efforts and serves as the chief development officer. Matt is also a student at the school: he is studying toward a master’s degree in business administration. A native of South Dakota, Matt is a graduate of Buena Vista University and a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive). He serves on the AFP Greater Kansas City Chapter’s membership committee and is a volunteer organizer with the 2021 Mid-America Conference on Fundraising (MAC). “Although relatively new to Kansas City, I have been amazed by how deeply people care about the community and how willing they are to step up and make a difference when given the opportunity to give back and help others,” Matt said.
Also featured in the November 28, 2020 issue of The Independent
Erika Brant is divisional events and corporate engagement manager for The Salvation Army. Her responsibilities have included fundraising and planning for the Civic Lunch (usually held in May) and the Rock the Red Kettle Concert (a highlight of past Novembers), in addition to setting up box fan, food, and toy drives, and arranging for employee bellringing days, among other activities. “It’s a privilege to work in the philanthropy community in Kansas City and it all feels more worthwhile because I know someone is getting fed, given shelter or emergency assistance because of my effort,” she said. Erika is a member of the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, and a past chairman of Holiday Mart.
Also featured in the November 14, 2020 issue of The Independent
Alfredo Garcia is the director of major giving for the Bloch School of Management at the UMKC Foundation, where he seeks funding for the programs and initiatives associated with the 1,800 students who attend the Bloch School each year. Alfredo has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and yet another master’s degree and a doctorate degree from Princeton University. He serves on the diversity, equity, and inclusion board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City, the BARRE KC board of the Kansas City Ballet, and the board of OneKC Radio. Alfredo said, “I often describe my work in fundraising as my ‘super power’ because I am able to effect profound change in people’s lives through my work.”
Also featured in the October 31, 2020 issue of The Independent
Kelley Carpenter is the director of development and marketing at Cross-Lines Community Outreach, which provides crucial services in Wyandotte County, addressing hunger relief, housing stabilization, and basic needs. Kelley was the first person in her family to graduate from college. After receiving her degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Journalism, Kelley was originally a newspaper journalist. For the past 24 years, she has been a fundraising and marketing professional – and she remains a dedicated writer who loves her work. “I can’t imagine a more rewarding job than telling the stories of incredibly brave people who are overcoming overwhelming obstacles and connecting them with generous people with kind hearts who truly want to make a difference,” she said.
Also featured in the October 17, 2020 issue of The Independent
Brian Williams is the executive director of Hillcrest Hope, which has been serving Clay and Platte counties since 1978. The organization’s mission is to empower the homeless and working poor to achieve personal independence through transitional housing, education, accountability, and community support. Brian’s career with non profits began when a mentor encouraged him to join his development team at United Way of Chicago. “Philanthropy is magical! How many people can say they make a living helping someone who wants to make meaningful change in the world and then connect them with an organization/program to literally make generations of transformational change?” Brian said. He currently serves as the board president of the Arts Council of Johnson County.
Also featured in the October 3, 2020 issue of The Independent
Joy Richardson came to Kansas City as a student at William Jewell College. She is now the senior manager of annual giving for Harvesters–The Community Food Network, a regional food bank that serves 26 counties in Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas. Her work includes leading team members in special events and donor cultivation. “This pandemic has amplified what I have always known and experienced to be true of our community. Kansas Citians and friends surrounding the metro truly care about their neighbors in need and respond in powerful, generous ways,” Joy said. In addition to spending time with her husband and their children, Joy takes an interest in community theatre. She serves on the advisory council of the Theatre in the Park and is a member of the board of directors for Mid-Life Players. Joy is also a volunteer in the children’s department at Redeemer Fellowship – Midtown.
Also featured in the September 19, 2020 issue of The Independent
David M. Fulk is the director of philanthropic giving at KCUR 89.3. He oversees the station’s fundraising efforts which include membership, major gifts, foundation support, and event sponsorships. David says that the most rewarding part of his work is connecting people’s passions for free and independent journalism with their desire to make sure it continues as part of our democratic fabric. “Philanthropy is in all of us. I love playing a small role in helping others unleash it,” he said. David grew up on a farm in Platte County and graduated from William Jewell College, where he launched his career in fundraising. Today, he lives in Liberty and serves on the board of AFPKC. David is the concert host of the Liberty Summer Band.
Also featured in the July 11, 2020 issue of The Independent
Megan Boos is the assistant director of community engagement and events at Children’s Mercy, where she oversees the community fundraiser program. Megan also assists with the Hospital’s signature fundraisers, Red Hot Night, Big Slick, and Dream Big Day, and serves as a hospital liaison with the auxiliary volunteer groups. “In my role, I have the pleasure of meeting people who only want to do good and make a difference for others. It’s inspiring, humbling, and a daily reminder of how the simplest acts of kindness can bring a smile and make an impact in our community,” said Megan. She serves on the board of directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Megan volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City, and Lead to Read.
Cory Anderson, Ashley Lopez Anguiano, Ali Abplanalp, Megan Boos, and Tara Smyth
Also featured in the June 13, 2020 issue of The Independent
Whether Chad Jansen is serving in his current position as a consultant for Donor Centric Consulting, or in his previous position as director of development at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, his passion is for philanthropy. Chad’s professional life centers around helping non-profit organizations enhance fundraising, focus on leadership development, and provide training. “It is a blessing – a gift – to have the opportunity to serve in philanthropy. To me it’s about them: the donor and the transformation they want to accomplish through a meaningful investment in others’ lives,” Chad said.
Also featured in the May 30, 2020 issue of The Independent
Jennifer Ingraham serves as the assistant vice president for development at the UMKC Foundation, where she brings more than 25 years of fundraising experience in the arts and higher education. She provides strategic leadership and supervises a team of eight in the area of University philanthropic priorities. “It is truly an honor to help donors fulfill their dreams of making a difference for a cause they care about,” Jennifer said. When not wearing her professional hat, Jennifer has been a working mother of two, as well as a volunteer and board member for the Coterie Theatre, Madam President Camp, and Tri County Mental Health Services Foundation.
Also featured in the May 16, 2020 issue of The Independent
Shamika Hogan serves as director of development for reStart. She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in management and fundraising. Shamika has worked and contributed to the growth and success of both corporate and non-profit organizations. She has a proven commitment to community development and advocacy. reStart’s mission is to empower all people facing or experiencing homelessness by providing housing and services that inspire hope. Shamika said, “I’ve always had a passion for the housing equity issue and serving the underserved, so reStart’s mission is an excellent fit.”
Also featured in the April 4, 2020 issue of The Independent
Jonathan Thomas is the senior manager of individual giving for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He returned to the Kansas City area from San Francisco in 2018, where he served as the development manager for The Walden School, a music program for aspiring composers and musicians. Jonathan enjoys performing and is passionate about the arts. He said, “No other discipline combines virtuosic vocal and orchestral music and singing, stagecraft, and dramatic narrative like opera. It is a collaborative triumph and a critical piece of a thriving arts community. Investing together in the arts connects us all, and it brings me joy to interact daily with area residents who share my passion to better our region.”
Also featured in the March 21, 2020 issue of The Independent
Katie Lord is the vice president of nonprofit development for Proof. She works with non-profit organizations to build deeper donor relationships by discovering the “Why?” that underlines their connection. “I absolutely love the philanthropic sector,” Katie said. “I have always said I will be a ‘lifer’ in the sector working on, in, or for the advancement of philanthropy. It is my personal mission to do the most good for the most people I can.” Katie has more than 12 years of experience in her field. She also is a speaker and trainer who enjoys passing along her skills to the next generation of non-profit fundraising leaders.
Katie, Madilyn, and Matt Lord
Also featured in the March 7, 2020 issue of The Independent
Chelan David is the director of development for Youth Volunteer Corps. The organization creates volunteer opportunities for youth, ages 11 to 18, so that they are inspired to continue showing a commitment to service throughout their lives. Chelan is impressed with the resolve of the young participants and the philanthropic spirit shown by the residents of Our Town. “I love waking up every day knowing that we are developing empathy, a sense of belonging, and leadership skills to a generation of future leaders,” he said. Chelan isn’t the only member of his family to be involved with YVC – his two daughters are regular volunteers.
Neah David, Chelan David, and Kylie David
Also featured in the February 22, 2020 issue of The Independent
Laura Berger is the director of development for Saint Luke’s Health System. She started her non-profit career with the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Red Cross. “As a member of the Saint Luke’s Foundation, I have the opportunity to connect passionate donors with the wonderful services provided through our health system – in particular, Bishop Spencer Place and Saint Luke’s Home Care & Hospice. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of Kansas City’s only locally-owned, non-profit/faith-based health system.”
Mark and Laura Berger on a trip to Alaska
Also featured in the February 8, 2020 issue of The Independent
Christopher Stibbs is the events and donor manager for Newhouse Shelter. The Omaha, Nebraska, native came to Our Town seven years ago to study at Rockhurst University. Christopher fell in love with the community and decided to stay. He describes Newhouse as a place of transformation, where 24-hour care is provided to women, children, and men who have bravely stepped away from the life they don’t deserve, to build the life they do deserve. “There is a powerful energy in the philanthropic community of Kansas City and my favorite part is going to work everyday where I hear stories and see donors who believe deeply in our mission,” Christopher said.
Also featured in the January 25, 2020 issue of The Independent
Marcus Oatis is a native of Our Town. Following a career as a ballet dancer, he decided his next goal was to make a difference in the community. That’s why he founded Providence School of Arts, a private Christian elementary school with an emphasis in the arts. After-school enrichment courses and summer camp programs are also offered. “I love working in philanthropy because it reminds me that change is possible – that bit by bit, we can make our world better for ALL to live in. For me, that’s the American Dream,” he said.
Also featured in the January 11, 2020 issue of The Independent
Molly Moody has been the special events manager for Wayside Waifs since 2017. Wayside Waifs is Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter, working tirelessly to find homes for more than 6,200 abandoned, abused, and homeless pets annually. Molly oversees the organization’s two major fundraisers, Fur Ball Gala and Strutt With Your Mutt Walk/Run, with a combined goal to raise more than $1.45 million annually. “I have met the kindest of individuals working in non profit — people who donate not only their money but their valuable time to serve the mission they are most passionate about,” she said.
|Molly Moody, Special Events Manager, Wayside Waifs; holding her dog, Bear, and Casey Waugh with Megan Harding and Pete|
Also featured in the December 7, 2019 issue of The Independent
Reid Samuel is the annual fund manager for the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, which was founded in 1925 and has its headquarters in Kansas City. His responsibilities include managing direct response, online giving, and sustaining giving programs. In addition, he had a key role in the organization’s first-ever capital campaign, which drew $4.25 million in pledges. When Reid moved to Our Town in 2010, he was pleasantly surprised. “I’ve really come to appreciate the spirit of generosity,” he said. “I’m fortunate to work and volunteer alongside so many great people.”
|Reid Samuel with Roger Samuel|
Also featured in the November 9, 2019 issue of The Independent
As director of corporate relations for the Kansas City Ballet, Karen Massman VanAsdale is excited to connect her dots – a passion for the arts, extensive storytelling and marketing experience, and a lifelong commitment to contributing time, talent, and treasure to causes and organizations that are important to her and the community. According to Karen, the arts have the unique power of bringing diverse people together to inspire, educate, and entertain. “I’m a fourth-generation Kansas Citian with deep roots in the philanthropic community, so for me, giving is a privilege and a responsibility. I am thankful to live and work in a town where every individual really does have the opportunity to make a difference. I am so proud to be part of such an incredible organization.”
|Karen Massman VanAsdale, Sue Massman, and Claire VanAsdale|
Also featured in the October 26, 2019 issue of The Independent
April Padgett began her career in development five years ago. She came to Our Town in the summer of 2018. April is director of individual and corporate giving for Vibrant Health, a network of safety net health clinics in Wyandotte County, Kansas. She enjoys interacting with donors and colleagues. “One of the best parts of my job is working with donors who are making their first gift – either to our organization or their first philanthropic contribution ever,” April said. After hours, she loves spending time with her husband, Nelson Padgett, and their dog, Winston.
Also featured in the October 12, 2019 issue of The Independent
Dionne M. Pleasant is a donor development strategist for the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. “Every day I see so much good, but conversely, so much opportunity,” she said. “Working in philanthropy has given me the chance to play a tiny role in improving lives and communities. Luckily, Kansas City is full of people who want to help.” Dionne earned both a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis on strategic communications from the University of Missouri. In addition to her involvement with the Association of Fundraising Professionals Kansas City, she serves on the Mizzou Black Alumni Network Executive Board and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. The highlights of her work with the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation have been participating in a medical delegation to Haiti in 2018 and distributing scholarship checks to medical students and residents. As Dionne said, “It’s so inspiring to see how generosity touches lives.”
Also featured in the September 28, 2019 issue of The Independent
John Shehane views himself as “a life-long learner.” He was one of the founders of the local AFP chapter, and of what is now Nonprofit Connect, in addition to being one of the first members of the Mid America Planned Giving Council. “I served on the AFP’s National Ethics Committee that created our first Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct,” he said. After 52 years in fund development at the local, regional, and national levels, his goal is to become the first 100-year-old fundraiser. He is a little more than 21 years away from that point. “As Jerold Panus, our profession’s guru, said, ‘all philanthropy is about changing and saving lives.’” As John sees it, that is what he and his colleagues at AFP do every day in “an amazingly wonderful and caring city, filled to the brim with fantastic, generous donors, volunteers, and nonprofit leadership.” Recognize that description? It’s Our Town!
Also featured in the September 14, 2019 issue of The Independent
Kate Migneron is the leader of a team of gift officers at Children’s Mercy who present potential donors with options that will lead to a positive impact on the lives of patients and their families. She is a lifelong resident of Our Town who is excited to see the growth of the Children’s Research Institute at Children’s Mercy. “I believe everyone should have access to affordable, inclusive and state-of-the-art medical care,” Kate said. “This goal is possible in Kansas City with an incredible collection of clinicians, researchers, and teachers from different institutions collaborating to change the way we practice healing.”
Also featured in the August 31, 2019 issue of The Independent
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