2021 Speakers

Stacy Palmer
Chronicle of Philanthropy

Stacy Palmer has served as a top editor at the Chronicle of Philanthropy since it was founded in 1988 and has overseen the development of its website, Philanthropy.com. She plays a hands-on role in many Chronicle services, such as its Philanthropy Today daily newsletter and its webinar series offering professional development for people involved in fundraising, grant seeking, advocacy, marketing and social media.

Palmer has appeared frequently on radio and television to offer commentary on news in the nonprofit world. She is the editor of Challenges for Philanthropy and Nonprofits, a book published by the University Press of New England that collects three decades of observations by the nonprofit activist and Chronicle columnist Pablo Eisenberg. Before she helped found the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Palmer was editor for government and politics at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

She is a graduate of Brown University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in international relations. She has been an active alumna, serving on numerous alumni boards, including chairing the Brown Alumni Magazine and is now a member of the university's Women's Leadership Council.

Keynote - A Brave New World of Fundraising - Learning BIG Lessons, Setting BOLD Goals
9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Jai Phillips

Jai Phillips manages and implements CCF’s public-private partnership with the Los Angeles County Probation Department, along with the Foundation’s youth development and boys and men of color portfolios, in order to advance CCF’s vision and goals and provide youth and families with culturally-responsive, asset-based, high-quality resources and opportunities that create successful pathways to adulthood.

Previously, Phillips managed CCF’s BLOOM (Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men) initiative, an effort to redirect South Los Angeles’ justice-impacted Black male youth toward improved educational and employment opportunities. The BLOOM Alliance now stands firmly as a community resource to serve youth throughout L.A. County.

A lifelong South Los Angeles resident with a proven history of community involvement, Phillips is committed to changing the trajectory of children and youth through a comprehensive approach that addresses their multifaceted needs. Prior to joining CCF, he served as regional development officer for Children’s Defense Fund-California, where he led the organization’s strategies for developing relationships and partnerships to achieve fundraising goals. He also served for nine years as development and operations manager for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, responsible for providing scholarships, mentoring and leadership opportunities for underserved youth.

Phillips studied at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in both psychology and Black studies.

A1 - Privilege, Access, and Power: How Funders Can Lead the Charge to Advance IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access)
10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Zahra Nealy
Donor Communication Specialist, Cedars-Sinai 
USC Adjunct Instructor - Nonprofit Public Relations

Zahra Nealy is a relationship-driven healthcare public relations and communications professional with specialties in media relations, development and donor communications, nonprofits and community outreach/relations. She’s worked on behalf of local and national public-affairs initiatives and nonprofit organizations including the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Nealy is currently the development communications specialist at Cedars-Sinai. She is the recipient of PR Daily’s 2017 Digital PR & Social Media Awards - Best Multichannel Campaign of the Year: “Wage Hope Together” for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Nealy has a BA in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MA in strategic public relations from USC Annenberg.

B1 - Communicating with Donors when Disasters Strike
Donor Communications
10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Craig Rettig
Partner, Perceptiv

Craig has over 20 years of experience at international, national, and regional marketing firms. Craig has worked with numerous non-profits, government, and service organizations, including City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, New Los Angeles Marketing Partnership, Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Wellnest, Special Olympics, City of Pasadena, California Association of Food Banks, USC, Frostig School, The Archer School for Girls, Pasadena City College, Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, Casa Treatment Center, and Swim With Mike. Craig is the cofounder of Perceptiv, a full service, integrated communications firm based in Pasadena.  The American Advertising Federation and City of Los Angeles have recognized Craig for his outstanding contributions to Special Olympics, and the City of Los Angeles. Craig is a graduate of Texas Tech University and has served on numerous boards. 

David Schwartz, Partner at Perceptiv

David has over 30 years of experience providing day-to-day leadership and strategic oversight at three successful marketing firms that he founded. David works closely with both staff and agency clients, providing hands-on account management and creative guidance on communications that range from identity development, advertising, and marketing communications to the full gamut of digital and social media communications. David has enjoyed partnering with a wide range of clients from start-ups to nonprofits, and the Fortune 500 across myriad categories. David is the cofounder of Perceptiv, a full service, integrated communications firm based in Pasadena. After graduating from California State University, Northridge, David went on to further hone his skills at the Art Center College of Design, Otis Parsons Institute, and WSAAA workshops.


A2 - Revisiting, Reminding, and Refreshing Your Brand
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Joshua Daniels
Career Coach 
Korn Ferry

Josh Daniel has been working with Korn Ferry Advance for two years as a coach focusing on career changes and job search strategy. Josh’s background began in the US Army and he has worked in nonprofit, start-up, and corporate environments as an International Coach Federation accredited Executive Coach.

B2 - Managing Career Change: Staying Nimble as a Fundraiser
Career Development
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Melissa Alvarenga Mooney, M.A.
Director of Development
Loyola Marymount University

Native Angeleno, Melissa Mooney is a people-focused fundraiser with a passion for matching need with individuals who want to make an impact. Part of the field of higher education since 2007, Mooney transitioned from student development to fundraising early in her career. Having worked at Fordham University, where she earned her masters of art, Columbia Law, USC, Cedars-Sinai, and now LMU, also her alma mater, Mooney is dedicated to cultivating philanthropy that helps create the next generation of diverse leaders. As a first-generation college student and the daughter of Central American immigrants, she knows firsthand the transformational power higher education offers. In her current role, Mooney oversees all fundraising efforts for LMU’s College of Communication and Fine Arts, partnering with the Dean, academic leaders, and external partners, including various dedicated boards. Mooney’s extensive experience allows her to deepen relationships with a strategic and thoughtful approach to continue raising support for scholarships, programs, capital, and endowment needs.

Session 3A - The Power of Boards in Aligning Mission and Strategy in 2021 and Beyond
Board Management/Strategic Planning
12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Calvin Chan

Philanthropy Advisor
Calvin Chan Giving

Calvin Chan has cultivated relationships with High Net Worth individuals and families for over fifteen years as an investment and philanthropy advisor. Ten of those years were in the real estate, finance, and banking sectors. He brings traditional for-profit training, experience, and an approach into the non-profit sector that has increased the average gift, retention, and total major donors for the largest homeless services agencies in Los Angeles County.

Session 3B - Reimagining the Way You Engage with Major Donors
Major Gifts/Donor Engagement
12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.