Event Details

FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2024
8:00AM - 1:30PM
Bounce Innovation Hub
526 S. Main St * Akron, OH 44311

Join us for a morning of gathering resources, connections, and best fundraising practices.

We are thrilled to announce our Keynote Speaker will be Dr. James Knight. Dr. Knight is an educator, coach/mentor, consultant, author, itinerant speaker/teacher, and equity and inclusion strategist. Much of his work revolves around leading with humility and partnering with other leaders to build dynamic and inclusive communities/spaces where people collaborate, innovate, and engage in fearless dialogue. 

Following the keynote by Dr. Knight, there will be (3) Break Out Sessions (you can select 2):

  • The Best CRM for You/Your Organization!Ceci Dadisman, Communications Professional
  • AI 101 - Learn the Basics and More!IMMIX Marketing
  • The How-Tos of Effective Grant WritingLauren Steiner, Grants Plus

Finally, we'll wrap up with lunch which will feature a Lunch & Learn - "Our Collective Impact - Sharing Collateral Materials".

Registration fee includes continental breakfast and lunch provided by Stray Dog Cafe. 

Full participation in Focus on Philanthropy is applicable for 4.0 points in Category 1.B -Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Dr. James Knight is an educator, coach/mentor, consultant, author, itinerant speaker/teacher, and equity and inclusion strategist. Much of his work revolves around leading with humility and partnering with other leaders to build dynamic and inclusive communities/spaces where people collaborate, innovate, and engage in fearless dialogue.

As an equity and inclusion strategist, James works with leaders, schools, organizations, and individuals in the corporate, non­profit, governmental and academic sector to develop frame­works rooted in humility. The primary goal of this work is to assist others in building safe environments where everyone can thrive and bring their best selves. As an author, James has written numerous books and his latest release is entitled Heart: A Journey Toward Cultural Humility. This book is a manual and resource for any leader, student, or person looking to develop greater awareness and increase their emotional and cultural intelligence. 

As Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at St. Edward High School, James leads the development of vision and strategies that champions the importance of a diverse and inclusive community. Part of his work involves engaging faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni in order to make the school a culturally safe environment. In his role, James assesses the potential barriers to inclusion and diversity; develops strategies focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse community. 

In addition to his work at St. Edward, James has served as a teacher, coach, pastor, and is the founder and leader of I.D.E.A.S., a coalition of DEi practitioners and directors throughout Ohio. James' passion is people and he sees himself as a servant-leader. His personal mission by which he does everything is "education + empowerment= elevation." James' number one goal in everything he does is to elevate those he serves through education and inspiration. He holds a Bachelor of the Arts Degree from Oberlin College and a Masters of Education Degree from Ashland University. He is presently a doctoral candidate at Ashland University. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusion from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. 

Lauren Steiner founded Grants Plus in 2007 to help nonprofits raise the grant funding they need to fulfill their missions and change the world. Sixteen years later, Lauren’s vision has come to life with the impact of transformative organizations and projects around the country. Grants Plus has secured more than $300 million in public and private grants for community-serving agencies, health organizations, schools and colleges, cultural institutions, and other entities nationwide. 

Today Grants Plus has grown to a team of more than thirty of the most experienced and talented grants professionals in the fundraising industry. Lauren aspired to not only launch a thriving business, but also a leading workplace. “I wanted to create an environment where I wanted to work, and where my team could accomplish challenging, rewarding work without sacrificing their whole selves,” she explains. Grants Plus promotes wellness practices and core company values that earned the firm a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award from the American Psychological Association and a Smart Women: Progressive Organization Award. 

As Founder of Grants Plus, Lauren is committed to developing the field of grant-seeking by mentoring new professionals, championing equity in the sector, and speaking on best practices. She leads a graduate-level course in philanthropy at the Mandel School of Applied Social Science at Case Western Reserve University and serves on the board of The Giving Institute and Giving USA Foundation, where she also co-chairs the editorial review board. 

Lauren was recognized in 2017 with the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award from AFP Greater Cleveland and was featured as a 2019 Notable Women in Entrepreneurship by Crain’s Cleveland Business. She is the past president of the Grant Professionals Association Ohio-Northern Chapter. Lauren received a B.S. from Ohio University and a J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

Ceci Dadisman is a communications professional with 20 years of experience creating effective campaigns utilizing innovative, forward thinking methods. She is nationally recognized as a leader in marketing in multiple industries including nonprofits, arts & culture, religious organizations, startups, and government entities with a proven track record of deliverable-driven campaigns.

She is an expert in multi-channel campaigns that integrate digital and traditional communications channels, leading edge technology, automation, and analytics. Her body of work also includes creative solutions that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive of all communities including Hispanic, African American, Caribbean, Asian, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ populations.

A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference, webinar, and workshop appearances at Southeastern Theatre Conference, NTEN, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Midwest Museums Association, Museums and the Web, West Virginia Association of Museums, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, American Alliance of Museums, Dance/USA, OPERA America, Americans for the Arts, Midwest Museums Association, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events. Known for her easy-going and vernacular style, she creates open learning environments with an emphasis on information sharing and useful takeaways.

Ceci is passionate about empowering people through marketing and is a senior contributor to Arts Hacker where she regularly shares timely information and step-by-step tutorials. She also is an adjunct lecturer at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts and a former faculty member of Chorus America’s Chorus Management Institute.

A chronic early-adopter, Ceci has a passion for discovering ways that technology can be used to create more engaging experiences. The Curated Arts Experience focuses on collecting real-world case studies about how organizations around the world are using technology to engage the participant or enrich the experience at virtual and in-person events.

She is a board member of the Ohio Museums Association, serves on the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee, and is a mentor in West Virginia University’s Creative Consultant program. She was the President of the South Florida Chapter of the American Marketing Association and has  served on the Arts Midwest Conference Professional Development Committee, the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee, and the NTEN Conference Session Advisory Committee and was for many years the OPERA America Marketing Network Chair.

Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts. She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Danae Labocki and Chad Crawford, co-founders of IMMIX, bring over three decades of rich, diverse experience in marketing and development. IMMIX means “to mix in”– words that describe what they do so well. Excelling in crafting cost-effective, strategic, and creative solutions, they help local organizations achieve sustainable growth. Their work, deeply attuned to the varied needs of organizations, showcases their commitment to impactful and lasting
marketing and development.

Danae and Chad’s approach is centered around relationships, so much so that they suggest renaming marketing and development to "Flirting, Dating, and Marriage for Your Organization!" This reflects their focus on building and maintaining meaningful connections, a cornerstone of
their success.

Their expertise shines through creative campaigns and data-driven, innovative strategies, catering to a wide range of nonprofits and businesses.

Over the past year, they’ve embraced AI, integrating it into many facets of their work. This technology aids in crafting engaging copy, analyzing data from social media and ad reports, prompting creative ideas, and more.

Passion is the heart of IMMIX. Danae and Chad are deeply committed to the Greater Akron community they live, work, and serve. Their involvement in various organizations and initiatives such as the Christian Community Development Association, Kingdom Leadership Alliance, serving on the Young Life Greater Akron committee (Chad) and the board of Free to Be (Danae), as well as their founding of Buy Local Serve Local, reflects their commitment to fostering a sense of unity, connection, and generosity in the community they love.

Bringing their unique blend of professional expertise and playful spirit, they are excited to learn, 
grow, and “do good together” with you!