Fundraising Friday Speakers

Friday, November 5

Yolanda F. Johnson,  Founder and President of YFJ Consulting, Women of Color in Fundraising Philanthropy

Yolanda F. Johnson has a wealth of experience in the non-profit sector and is both a philanthropy and fundraising expert, successfully having led fundraising operations for a wide range of nonprofit organizations, launching creative events, sponsorship, and marketing initiatives that produced new streams of both contributed and earned income. Her fundraising expertise includes securing foundation, corporate, and government funding and cultivating a diverse major gifts portfolio. Her philanthropic work includes counseling philanthropists on where to direct their resources, and through her own YFJ Philanthropies, she personally gives back to causes supporting racial and gender equity, those with disabilities, and the arts.

In addition to leading YFJ Consulting, LLC, Yolanda is the Founder of WOC, Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy®, and Founder of Allies in Action Membership Network in addition to the President of Women In Development, NY (WID). Yolanda has also had an outstanding career as a performing artist, as a composer, as a producer, as an educator, and she has used her background as a performer to become a sought-after fundraising and philanthropy expert.

Her leadership roles include: serving as an International Advisory Board member and the former Representative for the Foundation for Post Conflict Development to the United Nations; a member of the board of directors of the Lehman College Art Gallery; a member of the board of trustees of the Hudson River Museum and a member of the PowHerNY board of directors. A trailblazing figure on the national fundraising landscape, Yolanda is the first African American President in the 40-year history of WID. She co-established the WID Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and is often a featured expert on incorporating DEI initiatives into organizational culture. Her public speaking portfolio includes keynote presenter, panel expert, and panel moderator in addition to an array of powerful workshops created through YFJ Consulting. Yolanda is also a member of the Chronicle of Philanthropy Advisory Committee of national leaders in the non-profit sector.

Crafting her life as a successful performing artist together with her prowess as a non-profit leader, she developed All the World’s A Stage, a special workshop using performance practice for getting what one wants out of fundraising, philanthropy, and life. She presents All the World’s A Stage to audiences across the country. Yolanda is the Worship Leader/Music Director at the church she attends, a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Women’s Music Fraternity, and is on the artist roster for Random Access Music/Queens New Music Festival and the Westchester Chamber Soloists Orchestra. She holds a B.A. in Voice (Music Performance,) and an M.A. in Arts Administration with a focus on Fundraising and Events, and is the author of various publications and articles on topics in fundraising and philanthropy.

Tom Kissane,   Principal & Managing Director    CCS

Tom Kissane, Principal & Managing Director, CCS, is fortunate to have spent his 30-year professional fundraising career exclusively with CCS. During that time, he has partnered with hundreds of extraordinary organizations in designing, implementing, and providing strategic oversight to over 1,000 fundraising initiatives. The programs for which Tom has provided counsel have raised more than $3 billion on cumulative goals of $2.5 billion.
Tom’s areas of expertise include feasibility and planning studies, landscape analysis, development audits, philanthropic assessment programs, major capital campaigns, annual giving efforts, endowment fundraising, and board recruitment. He focuses on major gift identification and solicitation, campaign management, and client relations.

Tom currently serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s Children’s Healthcare System in Bayside as well as the De La Salle School in Freeport, and also serves on the Board for the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) and the Editorial Review Board of Giving USA. Previously, Tom served on the Boards of Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy and Saint Francis College.

He resides in Douglaston, Queens with his wife Shalini and daughters Leela and Priya.

Cory Rosenberg, Marketing Strategist,   Cree8 Group/Five Star Advertising

Cory Rosenberg leads a team of talented creatives at Cree8 Group ―top-notch business development consultants, creative thinkers, innovators, writers, and producers, based in Melville, NY.

Corey Rosenberg is a creative visionary who possesses the ability to inspire creative teams that deliver measurable results and increase profitability.

An Emmy nominated and multiple award-winning television creator, producer, director with a diverse background in branded entertainment and media.

• Wrote, produced and directed numerous productions and television commercials, both live action and animated.
• Worked for top Madison Avenue agencies including Deutsch, Y&R, DMB&B and Needham Harper Steers (DDB Needham).
• Developed creative initiatives for Fortune 500 Companies including American Home Products, AT&T, EMI Records, Sony Music, Capital Records, McDonald’s, MetLife, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Visa, etc.
• Brokered many development, licensing, marketing and promotional deals (Warner Bros., Disney/Marvel, DreamWorks, USA Networks, King Features, MGM) and is considered an expert in the advertising, licensing, marketing, promotion and new product development fields.
• Conceived various character brands and is an accomplished toy inventor/designer.
• Produced a variety of successful live events and stage shows.

Melissa Benjamin, Director of Development,  Fiver Children's Foundation

Melissa Benjamin was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and holds a bachelor’s in Sports/Entertainment/Event Management from Johnson & Wales University, and a master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus. She has been a successful fundraiser for nearly 14 years and currently oversees all fundraising and marketing efforts for Fiver Children’s Foundation as their director of development. Melissa sees her participation in Rise Academy as an important step to achieving her future goal of becoming an executive director one day. She is grateful to Youth Inc. and all involved for this incredible opportunity.

In her spare time, Melissa is a long-suffering NY Knicks fan, and enjoys music, travel, writing, and learning about wine. She is currently researching her maternal African roots in Sierra

Tracie Gilstrap,  Director of Partner Network Engagement,  Youth Inc.

Tracie Gilstrap joined Youth INC in 2015 and became Senior Associate Director of Youth INC’s flagship fundraising training Celebration where she successfully trained our nonprofit partners and their governing boards to fundraise towards an annual event that was sponsored and underwritten by Youth INC. In her role she helped organizations to raise over $4.5 million dollars of unrestricted funding support.

In 2019, Tracie was promoted to the Director of Partner Network Engagement, where she manages and facilitates the relationships for over 75+ youth serving nonprofits. In this capacity, Tracie developed a leadership program at Youth INC called Rise Academy for Leaders of Color. In partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University, the program addresses the challenges of building the pipeline for leaders of color within the Youth INC network of partners.

Prior to Youth INC, Tracie has spent more than 20+ years at some prominent NYC funding institutions including the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and Ms. Foundation for Women. Tracie recently received her MDiv. from New York Theological Seminary. She resides in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

Leigh Reid, Senior Director of Development & Communications, Extreme Kids & Crew

Leigh Reid is Senior Director of Development & Communications at Extreme Kids & Crew, a non-profit that provides arts and play programming for kids with disabilities and their Crew. She is a collaborative member of the committee spearheading the diversity equity and inclusion initiatives for the organization. Leigh received her bachelor’s degree in Communications and International Studies from Penn State University, and she is a 2018 New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow alumna. Leigh grew up on Staten Island and lives in Brooklyn.

Friday, November 12

Alphonce Brown, Jr., ACFRE    Stetson University College  

Alphonce J. Brown, Jr., ACFRE has worked with large established nonprofits, as well as small grassroots organizations for almost thirty-seven years. He also has consulted with local, state and federal governmental agencies and international NGOs. He founded his consulting firm, Docere Consulting, Inc. in 2003. He currently serves as the director of development and alumni relations at the Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, FL.

Brown was the director of development, National Minority AIDS Council, Washington, DC; vice president, University Advancement of California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA; president & CEO of the Prairie View A&M University Foundation; assistant dean of External Relations at the College and Graduate School of Business, University of Texas at Austin and has held senior positions at a number of other nonprofit organizations. He has considerable expertise in the areas of strategic planning, feasibility studies, organizational assessments, board development, volunteer management and fund development.

Brown is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, an Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE), and an AFP Master Trainer. He is a past chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)—a 30,000-member global professional organization. He was named one of AFP’s 2021 Distinguished Fellows for his significant leadership contributions to the association, philanthropy and the fundraising profession. This designation represents the pinnacle of service to the profession and to the tenets of giving, volunteerism and philanthropy.

Matt Campo, Chief Executive Officer, Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro

Matthew Campo is Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro (RMHC NYM) and has been a non-profit career professional for over 20 years. He joined the RMHC system in early 2009 as the organization’s Director of Development and Communications. Matt has focused much of his recent energy on expanding the organization’s reach across the New York Metro region, including opening the region’s first two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and overseeing the exploration of a second Ronald McDonald House to serve more families experiencing the pain of having a child in the hospital.

Developing new relationships with unique companies and individuals, raising awareness for the RMHC mission and brand to attract support from diverse members of its community, creatively engaging young donors, and further flourishing existing relationships with those who have supported RMHC programs since the inception of RMHC NYM’s first program, the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park are on the forefront for Matt. In addition to his dedicated work in program expansion to serve more families, he fosters a steadfast commitment in his staff to offer support anywhere it is needed within the RMHC organization.

Campo participated in the RMHC Global Advisory Council in 2018 & 2019, a meaningful experience which elevated and redefined his leadership skills as the CEO of RMHC NYM. First becoming involved with the group by participating in a special delegation that explored the system’s newly formed partnership with IPFCC, Matt has appreciated the opportunity to help shift and shape system perspectives and broaden group discussions in the council’s quest for commitment, consensus and compromise. Matt takes tremendous pride in being a conduit for communication within both his local and national region, often capturing opportunities for feedback both one on one with fellow organizational leaders and at the east regional system level.

Before joining the RMHC system, Matt held several fundraising positions at local Long Island non-profits including those specializing in the Arts, Human Services and Higher Education. He has been a member of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for over a decade and previously served in leadership positions, offering his expertise to growing professionals in the non-profit field in his community. A classically trained vocalist and avid runner, Matt enjoys a broad range of personal passions with his wife and three children as lifelong residents of Long Island.

Debbie Kneidl, Chief Fundraising Officer, IGHL Family of Services

Deborah Kneidl has over 28 years of experience and has comprehensive fundraising, marketing, and volunteer management experience, resulting in increased annual gift programs and secured funding for capital projects. With the belief that the key to being successful in philanthropy is based upon understanding and communicating the mission you represent, Deborah has been able to raise 50+ million dollars to advance the goals of several Long Island healthcare and human service organizations. She earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Dowling College, is a certified grant writer, and is actively involved in many civic organizations on the east end of the Long Island.

Jeff Eichenlaub, Senior Development Officer, Habitat for Humanity International, New York Region

Jeff Eichenlaub serves as the senior major gifts officer for Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) in the Greater NY region. He spent the first half of his career in the private sector, managing operations and purchasing in the contract food management industry. In 2006, Jeff transitioned to the nonprofit sector and served in various roles at World Vision, including National Director of Workplace Engagement and was responsible for developing innovative partnerships with corporations based on shared value initiatives, employee/volunteering/teambuilding programs, causal marketing, media opportunities, and special events. He also worked closely with individuals and foundations helping them fulfill their philanthropic vision.

After leaving World Vision, Jeff served as Managing Director at Better World Consulting, working with companies and nonprofit partners in strategic planning, fundraising, employee engagement and teambuilding events, and helping companies build and communicate their corporate social responsibility platforms. As Vice President of Development for The Resource Foundation, he oversaw corporate giving, individual philanthropy, shared value initiatives, workplace engagement and giving, and causal marketing.

Jeff holds a degree in Social Sciences and Education from the University at Stony Brook, and his passion to help INGO’s began when he served on the board of Fundación Exodo, a nonprofit serving children in El Salvador. Additionally, Jeff is currently a bi-vocational Pastor serving True North Community Church and also serves on the board of directors for Mission 500, Christ Calling and Pastor’s Lens

Matt Coulson, Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement, Farmingdale State College

Matthew Colson is an industry leader in higher education development and alumni relations, building successful operations and programs both in small private college and large public university settings. As Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement at Farmingdale State College, State University of New York (SUNY), he leads the College’s fundraising strategy and the Farmingdale College Foundation Inc., working with the Board of Directors, to grow the culture of philanthropy and inspire support among the College’s alumni and friends, as well as the corporate community and private foundations. Just finishing his first year at the helm, Farmingdale has re-engineered its fundraising operations which resulted in one of Farmingdale’s highest fundraising years to date.
Prior to Farmingdale, Matt was at Stony Brook University for 8 years as Executive Director of Alumni Relations, where he was responsible for the transformational growth of the Stony Brook Alumni Association Inc., its revenue and program development for engagement of SBU’s 200,000 alumni worldwide. He served on the leadership team during the Campaign for Stony Brook, a $600 million dollar campaign that at the time was unprecedente

Lori Finch, SVP Fundraising Services, iDonate

Lori Finch has spent the last fifteen years helping nonprofits grow their giving, specializing in utilizing digital technology to design campaigns that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently, she is the SVP Fundraising Services for iDonate and is responsible for developing and maintaining iDonate’s relationships with some of the largest organizations nationwide. She has a passion for helping organizations add new digital tools and campaigns to their toolbox that engage donors and build long-term relationships and impact within communities.

She designed and led the first ever community based, nationwide giving day—Give Local America—and community based endowment building campaign—Endow San Diego. Lori holds an MBA from The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and a B.S.B.A in Finance from Georgetown University.

Friday, November 19

Alexandra Brovey, Author and Senior Director Gift Planning, Northwell Health Foundation

Alexandra P. Brovey, JD, LLM is a leader in the philanthropic field with more than two decades of gift planning experience at complex educational and health care nonprofits.

Alex is the Senior Director, Gift Planning at Northwell Health Foundation in New Hyde Park, New York, where she has worked since September 2008. Alex previously worked at the Pennsylvania State University, Pace University and Stony Brook University during comprehensive campaigns. Earlier in her career she focused on estate planning and administration as a member of the Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York bars.

Alex is a President Emeritus and mentor of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York in New York City. Alex is a past Board member and Treasurer of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners served a 2-year term as Chair of its Leadership Institute. She is also a member of the Estate Planning Council of Nassau County. Alex is a frequent lecturer across the United States on topics related to charitable giving and is on the editorial board of Planned Giving Today.

Alex earned a B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University, Phi Beta Kappa, a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and an LL.M. in Estate Planning from the University of Miami School of Law. Alex has a published trilogy of books focused on Zen and the Art of Fundraising and is writing a young adult book series.

Meryl R. Cosentino, JD, Executive Director of Gift Planning, New York University

Meryl R. Cosentino, JD has more than 30 years of estate and gift planning experience, and is currently the Executive Director of Gift Planning at New York University. Prior to joining the NYU Advancement team Meryl spent almost six years as the Senior Director of Gift Planning at Stony Brook University and five years as Director of Planned Giving at St. Francis Hospital. Before that, Meryl honed her philanthropic skills at The Nature Conservancy.

As a practicing attorney, Meryl specialized in representing parents of children with disabilities, and it was this work (tailoring estate plans to meet the specialized needs of her clients) that sparked her interest in pursuing a career in Gift Planning. Meryl served a three-year term on the CGP Board and was Chair of the CGP National Conference in 2020 - the first all virtual conference.

Meryl has been a faculty lecturer at NCPP and is a President Emeritus of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York (PPGGNY). Meryl received her BA from Indiana University and her JD from Brooklyn Law School, where she was an editor on the Law Review. In her free time Meryl enjoys quilting, baking, and taking spin classes on her Peloton.

Jim Meyer
President, JEM Planned Giving Solutions
Associate, Arnone, Lowth, Leibowitz, and Andriano, Inc.
Associate, Greco Planning Group, Inc.

Jim Meyer has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is a leader in the not-for-profit sector because of both his fundraising skills and those skills specific to planned giving. Jim is President, Long Island Affiliate of the Partnership for Philanthropy Planning, The Charitable Estate Planning Council of Long Island. He is a former board member of AFPLI and is past president of The Financial Planning Association (LI) where he was selected for the Howard Black Award for Achievement and Excellence in Financial Planning. Jim was both a former faculty member and Director of Alumni Relations and Development of Queens College (CUNY). Jim received his bachelor’s from SUNY at Brockport and holds two master’s degrees from Columbia University and Hunter College. He is a board member of several 501(c)(3) organizations, he teaches and has taught Planned Giving at LIU Post, Hofstra University and Molloy College, and is an AFPLI Gilbert Tilles Award recipient.

Stacy B. Sulman, J.D., Vice President for Personalized Philanthropy and Legal Affairs,

American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science

Stacy B. Sulman, J.D., is the Vice President for Personalized Philanthropy and Legal Affairs for the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, where she has worked for over 13 years. In that capacity, among other responsibilities, Stacy oversees planned giving, including the organization’s loyalty and legacy societies, estate settlements, and gift annuity administration. Previously, Stacy served as Associate Director and General Counsel for the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest, New Jersey.

Stacy teaches Planned Giving at New York University’s Heyman School for Philanthropy and Fundraising. She also speaks on various aspects of planned giving to local, regional, and national groups, and has several published articles, including in Planned Giving Today. Stacy has also taught at the University of Arizona College of Law. Stacy currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Philanthropic Planning Group of of Greater New York. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of Daughters of Israel Geriatric Center in New Jersey and Goucher College Hillel Board.

Stacy received her JD from the University of Arizona College of Law, and her Bachelor’s Degree from Bryn Mawr College. She also spent a graduate year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a Raoul Wallenberg Scholar.

David M. Okorn, Executive Director, Long Island Community Foundation (LICF)

David M. Okorn has been the executive director of LICF since 2010. He began his career at LICF in 2008 as the Foundation’s director of advancement and donor relations. Previously, he was the senior vice president of development and external relations at Abilities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with disabilities. Prior to that he held positions as director of community relations at KeySpan and executive director of the KeySpan Foundation.

Dave received his B.S. and M.S. in Business Administration and Energy Management at New York Institute of Technology -Old Westbury. He is a member of the board of directors of the Long Island Volunteer Center and the Better Business Bureau Foundation. Dave was recently appointed as a Member of the Long Island State Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Shawn Mroz, Senior Advisor, Gift Planning, Northwell Health Foundation

Shawn T. Mroz is the Senior Advisor, Gift Planning at the Northwell Health Foundation. After a brief career in Finance, Shawn worked in gift planning at several organizations (Vassar College, Columbia University and The Metropolitan Museum of Art) with campaigns ranging from $300 million to $5 billion, before joining Northwell in 2012. He is currently the President of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York. He has trained numerous colleagues in both large formal settings and individual sessions. Shawn earned his B.A from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. He is an alumni interviewer for his high school, Phillips Exeter Academy, and enjoys coaching several of his two sons’ sports teams as well as pretending he is a good cook for his family by grilling as much as possible.