Julie Assel is the President of Assel Consulting and has written over $100 million in awarded grants. Julie writes for nonprofits, universities, and schools with a passion for federal and large partnership grants and helping nonprofits with outcomes and program development. She earned her Grant Professional Credential (GPC) in 2010.
President and CEO Matt Beem PhD(c), CFRE (Kansas City) serves on the advisory board for the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University in Plymouth, United Kingdom, sits on the President’s Advisory Council of Central Methodist University, Fayette, Missouri, and is a senior fellow of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, and was on the Board of Trustees at Graceland University, Lamoni, Iowa, where he served as the Advancement Committee Chair from 2010-2014. He is an adjunct professor of Fundraising at Avila University and a featured speaker throughout the United States and abroad.
Lou Dare has been specializing in custom event entertainment for over twenty years. She provides turn-key entertainment packages for corporate events, private parties and charity benefits that includes creating concepts, contracting and on-site coordination. For fifteen years she’s produced a Jazz Christmas Benefit for Community Christian Church.
Kathy Daugherty has been writing grants since shortly after the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Her first grant-writing tool was that cousin to the quill and scroll - the typewriter. She consistently works to complete her grant proposals by always keeping one simple rule in mind: Murphy was an optimist.
Sally J. Ehrenfried
Sally J. Ehrenfried leads Philanthropy and Volunteer Engagement at Blackbaud, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLKB), headquartered in Charleston, SC., and is responsible for the company’s global community relations, corporate giving, and volunteerism portfolios. Her corporate giving responsibilities include grantmaking, where she has more than a decade of experience making funding decisions and educating her colleagues on what it means to be grantmakers. Sally also manages the company’s public policy efforts by working with local, state and federal groups to advocate for policies that benefit the nonprofit community.
Merritt Engel is a direct marketing strategist, copywriter and trainer. She regularly consults and writes for both for-profit and nonprofit national organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the University of Kansas Physicians Group and Hospital. Merritt serves on the faculty at Rockhurst University, where she developed and teaches the Marketing and Technology Trends course. She is past president of the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association. KCDMA named Merritt “Direct Marketer of the Year” in 2012. She was recently honored as a member of the 2016 40 Under Forty class by Ingram's Magazine.
Merritt currently serves as the President of the Kansas City Direct Marketing Education Foundation, as well as Marketing Chair for the Communications Studies Alumni Board at the KU Edwards Campus.
She received her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Rockhurst University and a Masters in the same discipline from the University of Kansas.
Diana believes donor retention is critical to creating a strong fundraising program. She has over thirty years of fundraising experience and has been the chief development officer for five Phoenix based nonprofits. As President of Heritage Designs, Diana markets MatchMaker FundRaising Software to nonprofits throughout the United States.
Dean Johnson is a Kansas City native and 1993 graduate of Loyola University Chicago. He joined the Jesuit International Volunteers and taught at Xavier High School in the Pacific Island nation of Micronesia. Returning to Chicago, Dean taught and was principal at The San Miguel School. Dean was a humanitarian relief worker in Zimbabwe and Indonesia from 2005-2008. Presently, Dean is Executive Director of Crossroads Charter Schools, which he and Tysie McDowell-Ray co-founded in 2011 in Downtown Kansas City.
Dr. Chad Jolly
Dr. Chad Jolly is a Partner at Gonser Gerber LLP, the nation’s longest serving Advancement Consulting firm. Dr. Jolly provides advancement consulting services including; comprehensive advancement counsel, campaign counsel, campaign readiness studies, program audits, board development, and strategic planning to colleges, universities, schools, healthcare organizations, schools, and other non-profits nationally.
Jamie Kapke, Kapke & Company Events, has a passion for executing a fantastic party. As a previous board member, volunteer and employee of nonprofits, she knows what it takes to plan an unforgettable, under-budget event. Her decision to start wearing flats instead of high heels has helped her business tremendously.
Vickie Lobello is a seasoned veteran of peer to peer fundraising, having worked for the American Cancer Society, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and offering consulting and expertise to many nonprofits through Turnkey.
Shelley Loethen, GPC, is the owner of Encore Nonprofit Solutions. Since 2009, Shelley has written or been part of grant-writing teams that have been awarded more than $23 million. Her business background gives her a focus on building sustainable, successful, and healthy nonprofits.
Sr. Vickie Perkins
Sister Vickie Perkins, a long-time educator, was born in Dodge City, Kan. Following her graduation from Archbishop Hogan High School, she entered the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth community. Sr. Vickie holds a degree in education from St. Mary University in Leavenworth and a Master of Arts in Mathematics from Ohio State University. Following her graduate degree, Sr. Vickie taught high school math for 22 years—11 years at Bishop Ward in Kansas City and 11 years at Hogan High School (and then, served as Hogan’s principal). She was an imperative member of the Central City School Fund, a group working to raise scholarship funds for Catholic families in need, and she was also named the superintendent of diocesan schools, a position she held for six years. After serving as the Executive Director of Mount St. Vincent’s Home for Severely Emotionally Disturbed Children (Denver), Sr. Vickie accepted the charge of opening a new Cristo Rey High School in Kansas City in 2005. Sr. Vickie was named founding president of the unique Cristo Rey education model, which combines Catholic secondary education with a work-study program.
In June 2011, Sr. Vickie retired from Cristo Rey and was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame. She now leads a poverty assistance center, Welcome Central, in Leavenworth—completely operated by volunteers. The center provides transportation and evening shelter, along with helping those in need apply for birth certificates, complete disability forms, and prepare for job interviews.
Andrea Robinson, MPA is a veteran fundraiser with nearly two decades of experience in nonprofit management. A serial "do-gooder," Andrea has broadened the base of support for organizations serving the arts, the environment, health, social services and youth development both in Kansas City and nationwide.
Andrea recently became the Executive Director of the Heartland Credit Union Charitable Foundation where she is working with credit unions in Missouri and Kansas to increase their collective community impact. Andrea has led a diverse portfolio of development initiatives and was most recently the Director of Development at ArtsKC - Regional Arts Council. She has experience in management, communications and marketing at both for-profit businesses and nonprofits, including work for Smiles Change Lives, DataFile Technologies, Rose Brooks Center and Bridging The Gap. Andrea received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and her Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Previously a personal chef and caterer, Andrea is often found hosting dinner parties, spontaneous sleepovers and neighborhood dark parties. She is prone to sporadic bursts of gardening, dance and travel. Andrea lives in the northland with her handsome and handy husband Russell, three happy, healthy kids and a very, very bad dog.
Annie Rhodes serves as the Director of Foundation Strategy in the MicroEdge division of Blackbaud. Annie helps philanthropic organizations leverage technology to track outcomes, optimize how they manage their giving and improve collaboration between funders and their grantee partners. Annie holds an MBA from Pace University.
Laura Shultz, Executive Director of the Northeast Community Center and its flagship program, Harmony Project KC. Laura is a former Peace Corps Pediatric Nurse with over twenty years experience in commercial business and nonprofit leadership. Her deep interest in youth development lead to the launch of Harmony Project K.C. for children of low-income families in Northeast Kansas City, in an effort to help bridge the academic achievement gap. HPKC has tripled enrollment of students in this intensive free after-school and weekend music/mentoring program and now serves 120 children with a waiting list for January 2017.
Ann Spivak has covered philanthropy and fundraising for more than 20 years, first as Society Editor for The Kansas City Star for 13 years, commenting on fundraising trends, dos and don'ts of event planning, and those awkward gala mishaps, and then shifting to development director of an alternative school for high-risk youth in the urban core, where she started with nothing but a mailing list of a board member's church friends.
Today, she is the Funds Development Manager for the Northeast Community Center, where she works to raise funds and awareness for this historic, five-building campus, as well as its flagship program, Harmony Project KC.
Heather is a nonprofit expert with more than 16 years of experience in leadership, program development, marketing, and fundraising. Heather practices and teaches integrated grant seeking, a process by which the strategies and tactics of fundraising, marketing, and grant seeking are coordinated to increase engagement, donations, and grant awards. Using this philosophy, Heather has secured more than $75 million for nonprofits across the country.
Monica Tiffany specializes in developing effective communications strategy for companies and organizations. She has written for Shriners Hospitals for Children, National Geographic, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Red Cross, to name a few. Monica served as VP of Marketing and Communications for the Association of Fundraising Professionals — Mid-America Chapter. She currently serves as Marketing Chair on the CASA of Jackson County board and as a member of the Community Council for Reach Out and Read Kansas City. As a professional copywriter, she speaks to both local and national audiences about copywriting, messaging and creative strategy. Prior to joining M&C, Monica spent five years in nonprofit association management.
Tom Turner has been Executive Director of Bishop Sullivan Center for 23 years. The Center provides various services to low-income people: food pantry, community kitchen, emergency assistance and an employment program. Tom is also an adjunct teacher of Philosophy of Ethics and Bioethics at Avila University.
Jeff Wilklow puts his more than thirty years of development experience to work as a keen empathizer—he thinks of each donor’s needs and each constituent’s needs as guideposts toward thoughtful, tailored fundraising solutions that help organizations move forward in fulfilling their missions.
For six years, Jeff was the Vice President of Development for the Points of Light Foundation, where he helped conceive and develop a $100 million campaign for program support. He also served as Senior Vice President of Eisner, Petrou & Associates, a marketing communications firm, and provided strategic communications counsel to corporate, nonprofit and association clients. As Director of Corporate Relations at Children’s National Medical Center, Jeff played a major role in the conception and implementation of the successful $40 million Campaign for Children’s. Prior to that, he was the Associate Director of Development at Very Special Arts. He began his development career at Special Olympics International and Special Olympics Virginia.
Jeff earned his Bachelor of Arts from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) chapter of Greater Washington, DC, where he served as president. Additionally, Jeff is past president of The Arc of Northern Virginia and currently serves as a member of The Arc’s Foundation Board, and he is president of the Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church.