Chapter President

Jonathan Meagher-Zayas, MSW, MPA


Jonathan is the Communications and Special Projects Officer and manages communications, stewardship, and special initiatives. Before, he held several communications and development roles at local nonprofits including the Albany Damien Center, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, Inc., and Habitat for Humanity Capital District. He has been on the local board since 2014 and was recently awarded AFP Global’s 2019 Oustanding Young Professional Fundraiser. Jonathan earned his Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration degrees at University at Albany, SUNY, focusing on nonprofit management and social welfare policy. He received his bachelor’s degree in Religion, Linguistics and Gender Studies from the University of Rochester.

Jonathan is active in his community and passionate about professional development, community change, and social justice. One of his most notable achievements is the creation of the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Accelerator program with the Insitute for Nonprofit Leadership and Community Development, which works to attract rising leaders working at New York Capital Region nonprofits and provide them resources, support and a network to succeed and stay in the sector. Jonathan is also chair of Mission Accomplished Transition Services, which helps aspiring young professionals prepare for the global economy by providing access to coaching, job training, and professional development. In addition, he serves as the mentorship chair for the Capital District Chapter of the New Leaders Council, the hub for progressive Millennial thought leadership and inspiring progressive change. Jonathan resides in Albany with his fiancé and their three adorable pets.


Michael J. Buckley, CFRE

A career fundraiser, Mike Buckley is a non-profit consultant\coach working with small and medium-sized non-profits to increase results.  Mike's extensive experience includes annual campaign audits and management, capital campaign leadership, feasibility studies, interim and ad-hoc program leadership and providing inspirational counsel to his clients.  Mike is an effective and sought-after speaker on topics including actionable fundraising data, major donor identification, and strategic planning.

Previous to his consulting career, Mike served as the Chief Philanthropy & External Affairs Officer at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Albany, NY. In this role, Mike had overall responsibility for unrestricted, capital and legacy giving as well as strategically increasing exposure of the organization.  Previous to this position, Mike served in multiple leadership fundraising roles in higher education in the Albany area.  Mike began his fundraising career as a student phon-a-thon caller at his alma mater, Castleton State College (VT).

Mike has been an invited speaker at the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, the Northeast Annual Giving Conference, New York State Animal Protection Federation and the Hudson Mohawk Chapter of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, of which he currently serves as Past President and Treasurer.  Mike also serves President of the Board of Education for the Schools of the Albany Catholic Diocese and on the Board of Trustees for the Saratoga Independent School.

As a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Mike has met a series of standards set by CFRE International which include tenure in the profession, education, and demonstrated fundraising achievement for not-for-profit organizations. CFRE’s also pass a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a fundraising executive, and have agreed to uphold CFRE Accountability Standards, the Donor Bill of Rights and the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising.

A native of Long Island, NY Mike now resides in the Albany, NY area with his wife Alison O’Brien Buckley.

Capital Region Fundraising Day Chair

Laurie Ballard, LMB Development Consulting, LLC


Laurie Ballard is the President of LMB Development Consulting, LLC, and through her work, supports nonprofit organizations and businesses in identifying, developing and implementing short – and long-term strategies that promote growth and build sustainability.

Laurie holds a BS in Community and Human Services from Empire State College and has 25 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. After working in numerous nonprofit positions, at every level, Laurie formed a business to offer a broad-based skill set in leadership, management, business development, communications and relationship building. Laurie understands the day to day challenges of securing revenue and managing people and projects. She is passionate about working with teams to transform communities.

Laurie is a member of the Capital Region Chamber, Women@Work, and AFP. She serves as Program Co-Chair of the Women’s Business Council, is a Board member of the Association of Fundraising

Professionals, and volunteers with a number of local nonprofit organizations. Laurie has presented locally at AFP’s National Philanthropy Day, Women in Development, Capital Region Chamber, and provides training to local nonprofits, and Boards. She received a National Membership Award during her tenure at Girl Scouts, and an Outstanding Achievement Award at the end of her tenure from To Life!

Laurie resides in Troy with her husband Wayne, daughter Alissa, and son Anthony. She has an Akita who is the love of her life and is passionate about making the world a better place!



Communications Chair

Nicole Babie, Saratoga Historic Preservation Foundation


Eric Guzman, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless

Eric has served on the development team at Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) since 2012.  He began his career in a marketing and outreach focused role, adding structure and formality to the agency’s volunteer program and helping build an identifiable brand, social media presence, and new website from a communications standpoint.  Today, Eric serves as Assistant Director of Development, with a focus on donor relations, annual fund, and special event fundraising.

In addition to his role at IPH, Eric served two years as president of the board of the Capital Alliance of Young Professionals (CAYP), helping connect and engage local professionals to grow personally and professionally from networking events and other professional development opportunities.  Eric also serves on the board of Albany Youth Soccer (AYS), helping produce bi-annual soccer seasons for more than 400 local youth, and coordinating more than 50 coaches and volunteers to support the program.

Eric earned his BS in Marketing/Management from Siena College.  Originally from Long Island, Eric now lives and works in Albany.


Membership Chairs

Julie Brennan, Berkshire Farm Center & Service for Youth

Audrey Stone, Sunmark Charitable Foundation

Vice President of Marketing


Tish Czachor, Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady

With more than 15 years of experience, Tish continues a lifetime commitment to the nonprofit sector. Her expertise includes major donor management, corporate partnerships, event management, donor marketing and communications, and annual fund.

Currently, Tish holds the position of Director of Advancement at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, managing individual and corporate revenue generation and all related marketing and communications. 

Her previous successes include fundraising roles at reputable organizations such as Friends of Basset, the Brain Injury Association of NYS, Susan G Komen Colorado, and Morris Animal Foundation. 

In addition to her volunteer commitment as Membership Chair of the Hudson-Mohawk, NY Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Tish served as a mentor with the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Accelerator for the 2018-2019 program year and has been a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Northeastern NY since 2016.

Tish is a native of Long Island, NY and received her BS in Journalism from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Outside of her passion for her family and the great outdoors, her mission is to make the world a better place through philanthropy.


Programm Chair

Rebecca Whalen

Chapter Administrator
Alisa Brancatelli, LexisNexis

Alisa Brancatelli is a Senior Electronic Product Analyst with LexisNexis where she has worked since 1995.

Alisa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from University at Albany with a major in English and double minor in Psychology and General Education studies. She continued her education at Sage Graduate College earning a Master of Science degree in School Counseling.

Raised in West Nyack, NY she now resides in Guilderland, NY with her husband and three children.  She volunteers heavily in her children’s classrooms and at various school events. In addition, her family serves their community by volunteering at the local food pantry and Ronald McDonald house.