Philanthropy Institute

Welcome to the Philanthropy Institute!

TVNPA is proud to present The Philanthropy Institute—a new opportunity for all nonprofit professionals, board members and volunteers to take their skills to the next level through intensive, multi-session cohort courses.

Led by Susan Houghton, a founding board member of TVNPA, The Philanthropy Institute offers attendees access to interactive classes taught by expert guest instructors, participation in group discussions, and guidance in nonprofit best practices that can be immediately applied to help nonprofits grow and prosper.   

The Philanthropy Institute is designed to educate participants in learning the very best skills and strategies to achieve that “ah-ha/light bulb” moment—that special point in time when nonprofit concepts click and the stars become aligned!

Join us on the journey!

In our Fall 2020 Cohort, we begin our coursework with the best practices of Fundraising and Development, including:

  • Learning how to tell your story
  • Finding, approaching and securing donors
  • Applying for grants
  • Engaging your board of directors

Mentor Connection
Participants in the full course cohort will gain one-on-one connections to mentors in the field for six months of advice and feedback. This special mentor connection is only available to cohort participants. To learn more about this mentor opportunity, click here.

FALL 2020: Fundraising Basics and the Art of ‘Making the Ask’

Register Here

6 sessions: Every Friday – October 2 to November 6, 2020
Each session runs 2.5 hours
9:00 to 11:30 a.m.  

Course Fee*
TVNPA member price: $500 
Non-members: $600 

To encourage maximum engagement, class size will be limited.

All six Philanthropy Institute sessions qualify for CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) credits.

Class Requirement: Each attendee will need to be set up for online meetings via Zoom.

*TVNPA is offering a 50 percent discount for additional registrations from the same nonprofit organization.

Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) Credits

TVNPA recently became a CFRE International Participating Organization, – allowing members to receive a 20 percent discount on the cost of CFRE initial certification and recertification. Full participation in all six sessions of the Philanthropy Institute’s fall cohort is applicable for 15 points in Category 1.B – Education.  Further information on the advantages of becoming a Certified Fund Raising Executive will be discussed during the Institute.

Session 1 – Development Basics
October 2, 9:00 – 11:30 am PST

  • Class introductions/overview of the course
  • A brief history of philanthropy
  • Why do people give? How has philanthropy changed in 2020?
  • Creating a donor-centric culture of philanthropy. Donor bill of rights/ethics
  • The importance of marketing and communications in nonprofit image, fundraising and ‘telling your story’
  • The role of volunteers, board and staff
  • The Fundraising Cycle and the 80/20 rule
  • “Friend-raising” and virtual/live galas, walks and events
  • Mentor program preview

Session 2 – The Development Toolkit
October 9, 9:00 – 11:30 am PST

  • Working smarter to identify donors
  • CRM/wealth screening technologies/data cleaning/mailing lists
  • Utilizing standard nonprofit templates such as gift/pledge agreements, gift acceptance policies, gift acknowledgement letters, board fundraising contracts
  • Make the plan– how to use your organization’s strategic plan to develop fundraising goals and objectives for programs, endowments, events, capital and unrestricted needs
  • Overview of the sources- individual (campaign or annual), matching, peer to peer, digital
  • Corporate sponsorships – what you need to know

Session 3 – Donor Personalities, Social Styles and Diverse Philanthropy
October 16, 9:00 – 11:30 am PST

  • Interactive workshop on Social Styles and how to approach donors
  • Meet a major gift officer
  • The importance of diversity and inclusion in effective philanthropy and donor engagement

Session 4 – You Have to Make the Ask!
October 23, 9:00 – 11:30 am PST

  • The Fundraising Pyramid – how and when to secure campaign, major and annual gifts.
  • Case Statements, annual appeal letters and gift charts
  • Meet a major gift donor
  • Cohort breakout/case studies/practice the ask
  • Donor success stories

Session 5 – Foundations, Grant Writing, Planned Giving
October 30, 9:00 – 11:30 am PST

  • Where and how to find grants — The Foundation Center/Directory
  • Community Foundations and Donor Advised Funds
  • The planned giving tool kit

Session 6 – Your Board Can Help! Public Policy, Donor Retention and Stewardship
November 6, 9:00 – 11:30 am PST

  • The importance of Public Policy and nonprofit engagement
  • The value of Stewardship
  • How board members can help retain donors
  • The Fundraising Cycle summary
  • What is a CFRE? Associations dedicated to the fundraising profession
  • Mentor Matchup

The Philanthropy Institute is pleased to work with a number of nonprofit and communications professionals, all of whom are eager to share their knowledge. For more information on The Philanthropy Institute or if you’d like to be considered as a speaker, please contact Susan Houghton, Lead Instructor, at susan.hcgroup@gmail or (925) 321-5757.

Register Here

TVNPA Thanks our Sponsors

Lead Sponsor

Session Sponsor

Our Instructors

We are fortunate to have experienced thought leaders in philanthropy, communications and nonprofit management on our team. Here are just a few of the individuals who will be teaching at the Institute this Fall. 

Susan Houghton, CFRE
The Houghton-Covey Group

Ms. Houghton provides philanthropy, communications and community engagement consulting to nonprofit organizations.  She also serves as an instructor at the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy. While she began her career as a print and television journalist, the majority of her experience is in senior-level /executive public affairs, government relations and corporate communications positions, including tenures at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UC Berkeley, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Safeway.

She is the founder of three nonprofit organizations dedicated to special needs – Sunflower Hill, Exceptional Needs Network and Kern Autism Society.  She holds a BS degree in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an MS degree in Nonprofit Management from Louisiana State University and is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). 

Catharine Baker
Special Counsel
Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel

As Special Counsel, Baker advises small businesses and nonprofits.

Catharine has served in the California State Assembly, representing the 16th Assembly District (Lamorinda and the Tri-Valley region). She also serves as President of the Diablo Regional Arts Association, which promotes community access to the professional arts at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. Catharine is a Board Director with California Women Lead, a statewide non-partisan nonprofit that helps women attain appointed and elected office, and serves as Board Advisor to Tri-Valley APAPA (Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs).  She earned her BA degree from the University of Chicago, and her JD degree from UC Berkeley School of Law.

Benisa Berry
Principal Consultant, Trainer and Mediator
Berry Consulting Services Berry Mediation and Law

Benisa specializes in participatory approaches to change management initiatives and is experienced in developing inclusive, innovative and ethical cultures. Currently, she leads San Francisco Foundation grant implementation for enhancing civic leadership and social justice advocacy in East Contra Costa.  She also oversees Mediation and Conflict Resolution Programs for Contra Costa County.    

Benisa holds BA and MSW degrees from the University of California, Berkeley as well as a PhD in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Berkeley/Alameda.  She received her JD from the Oakland College of Law and is a member of the California State Bar.

Jack Alotto, CFRE
California Ambassador, Instructor 
JFK University’s Fundraising Academy and Cause Selling Series

Throughout his career, Jack has served in a variety of fundraising positions in hospital, social service and the arts as executive director, development director, major gift and legacy giving manager, and foundation and corporate relations manager.

He has also served on panels in Ethics in Fundraising, Cause Selling, and Donor Loyalty/ Donor Centered Fundraising; he has moderated panels on Strategies for Building a Strong Major Gifts Program, Trends and Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising, and Stewarding Gifts and Cultivating Donors. In addition, Jack has taught Fundraising Basics and Major Gift modules at the SIP Fundraising Academy since 2018. Jack holds an MA degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Oswego and earned his BA degree in Psychology from Rowan University. 

Lori Guidry
Network Engagement Manager for the Western Region

Lori  provides support to Funding Information Network (FIN) partners – libraries, nonprofit resource centers and other institutions – throughout the region, a territory of 13 states. 

In her previous position with Foundation Center, she organized special programs for nonprofit audiences, facilitated training in fundraising and proposal writing, and supervised library services in the San Francisco offices. 

Before joining Candid, Lori worked in information services for more than 15 years, specializing in business and marketing topics, including corporate social responsibility. She earned her MLIS degree in Information and Library Science from Dominican University in River Forest, IL and her BA in Communications from DePaul University.

Stephanie Casenza, CFRE
Director of Development
Lutheran Social Services of Northern California
Instructor, Management Certificate Program
CSU East Bay

Stephanie has devoted her career to helping advance the mission and vision of a broad range of organizations as a professional and a volunteer.  Moving easily between the business and not-for-profit worlds, she has held management, development and public relations roles for advertising/public relations agencies and for social services, higher education, healthcare and arts organizations throughout California.

She has served on 14 nonprofit boards of directors, most currently for Development Executives Roundtable (DER) and the Rotary Club of Oakland #3. Stephanie earned her MS degree in Business Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego and her BA in Journalism from San Diego State University. 

Melanie Sadek
Executive Director
Valley Humane Society

Melanie has worked in both for-profit and nonprofit environments, including 11 years of corporate and small business management. Prior to joining VHS, she served as manager of the traffic safety department for the California State Automobile Association, working to develop education and outreach programs and build volunteer coalitions. She was also instrumental in governmental affairs activities, facilitating effective marketing outreach programs, and screening nonprofit funding requests. She currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the California Animal Welfare Association. Melanie’s dedication to supporting the community was recognized in 2016 when she received the TriValley Hero Award by the Pleasanton Weekly for her Community Spirit. She holds a BS degree in Health Science from Cal State University Hayward.

Chris Carter
Executive Director
Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center

In his role as Director for Development and Communications, Chris was responsible for all the fundraising and marketing efforts for LVPAC. Since joining LVPAC, he has raised more than $8 million for the arts in Livermore.

During his tenure at Saint Mary’s College of California, Chris spent eight years as a leader in the College’s development department. His last position held was Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.

Chris is a member of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professional), The California Presenters Association, AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals), and a former member of CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education). 

He has led and participated in mulitple professional workshops on fundraising, strategic planning, event strategies and volunteer board management. Chris earned his MA and BA degrees in Psychology from St. Mary’s College of CA. 

Steve McCoy-Thompson
Executive Director
Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE)

Steve is Executive Director of the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation (PPIE) and has worked for 25 years at the nexus of business, government and the nonprofit sector.  Prior to joining PPIE four years ago, he worked in senior positions with Bechtel Corporation and Deloitte Consulting, providing management consulting to other large companies and governments around the world.  He has also led nonprofit organizations as Executive Director with significant funding from business and government, helping to diversify their revenue mix and growing their impact.   He has spoken frequently on effective management and stakeholder engagement and published four books on a range of topics.  He’s a graduate of Duke University with a Masters from Tufts University. Steve earned his MALD in International Business from Tufts University and a BA in Chinese and Political Science from Duke University.

Patricia Stirling
Stirling Associates

Patricia and her firm provide strategic fundraising counsel to aspiring nonprofits committed to advancing society. During her three-decade career, she has earned a reputation as a highly regarded campaign strategist, teacher, and lecturer on creating campaign plans and infrastructures that help ensure an institution’s success. In 2013, Patricia was named the Hank Rosso Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Executives.

Prior to establishing Stirling Associates, Patricia served in positions of increasing responsibility at major institutions of education and health care, including serving as Director of Development at UCSF Medical Center and School of Medicine, Associate Director of Development at Stanford University, and Director of Foundation and Corporate Giving at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

She has served on numerous boards, including the Association of Philanthropic Counsel (APC) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Patricia earned her BA in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

David  Russo
Sr. Director – Planned Giving and Corporate Relations
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

As the Senior Director of Planned Giving and Corporate Relations for Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, David is responsible for building and stewarding relationships with donors and with estate and financial planning professionals. He also serves as corporate relations manager, facilitating partnerships between socially responsible bay area companies and the poverty alleviation work of Catholic Charities.

David brings over 12 years of charitable gift planning experience. Prior to Catholic Charities, he was the Director Estate and Gift Planning for the American Cancer Society, Inc. serving the Silicon Valley and Central Coast regions and the Planned Giving Associate at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. While there, he established their charitable gift annuity program, facilitated the successful real estate gift platform and administered their $50 million remainder trust portfolio. He earned his BA in Humanities from San Jose State University and currently serves on the board of directors for Starting Arts.

Maria Hjelm
Assistant Dean of Development
UC Berkeley

Maria has spent the last 14 years at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Development for the Division of Mathematical & Physical Sciences.  Prior to that, she was the Director of Development and Communications for the Physics Department. While her work is very focused on major and principal giving, it also encompasses strategy for the division, goal-setting and the management of a team of frontline fundraisers. Prior to Berkeley, she worked for many years in book publishing, including Marketing Director at a division of HarperCollins. Maria also managed a successful author interview series for many years at her local public library.  She earned her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Christine Lim
Senior Development Officer
East Bay Community Foundation

Christine brings over 16 years of senior investment management experience and a breath of knowledge and expertise from the financial sector. As part of the East Bay Community Foundation’s external fundraising team, she spearheads the professional advisor engagement strategy as well as build and strengthen relationships with existing and prospective donors. Most recently, Christine worked at RGP in Client Services as well as Charles Schwab as Vice President of Financial Consulting and Client Services, where she received recognition for assistance in the development of financial coaching program for the San Francisco Homeless Prenatal Center Program, Motif Investing, and TIAA in San Francisco.

Christine holds an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH and a BS degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University.  She has also completed coursework for UC Berkeley Extension’s Professional Sequence in Personal Financial Planning.

Alyssa Hansen
Senior Account Manager

With a strong background in nonprofit communications and international economic development, Ms. Hansen works to help non profits improve their digital presence. She’s the author of several papers and blogs specifically related to CRMs for advocacy-based nonprofits and has published The Nonprofit’s Guide to Increase Online Donations.   As a full-service agency, Elevation focuses on the nonprofit sector and offers consultative services, branding, ongoing support, and digital marketing. She has a BA degrees in International Economics and International Studies from American University.

Jim Taylor
VP Leadership Initiatives

As Vice President of Leadership Initiatives, Jim Taylor focuses on leading BoardSource’s efforts to position nonprofit boards for stronger leadership on diversity, inclusion, and equity. This includes leading the organization’s work to spark and support understanding, action, and change at the board level on these issues; serving as an external representative, speaker, and writer; developing new resources and programming; and partnering with peer organizations around the country.

Prior to joining BoardSource in December 2018, Jim held several leadership roles in community development and diversity, inclusion, and equity. As Vice President of Multicultural Leadership at AARP, he developed partnerships to create greater access to health, wealth, and “quality of life” programs and information for African Americans of age 50+. At Capital One, in the roles of Director of Community Relations and Director of Community Development, Jim developed and implemented impactful national and local strategies that leveraged the organization’s philanthropic, volunteer, and programmatic resources to serve lower-income populations. As Director of Product Innovation at Fannie Mae, he developed several successful first-time homebuyer programs targeted to multicultural audiences. And most recently, Jim was the Corporate Relations Program Officer at the Fairfax County (Virginia) Office of Public Private Partnerships, where he was a key member of the strategy team for the county’s racial and social equity policy, “One Fairfax.”

Jim has served on boards of directors and advisory boards of various local and regional nonprofits, including Carpenter’s Shelter, The Giving Square, the Latino Economic Development Center, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County (Maryland), Shelter House, and LearnServe International. 

Jim is from Long Island, New York and earned an MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia.

Steve Berley
Left Propeller Salesforce Consulting

Steve is an expert in helping  nonprofits leverage the power of’s cloud technology to deepen relationships, increase donations, and streamline operations. He  has broad experience creating technology solutions to business problems in roles that have included business analysis, product management and software development. He has an MBA from San Francisco State University and a BA from University of Florida.

Jackie Bouvier Copeland, PhD
Founder, Black Philanthropy Month
Founder and CEO, The WISE Fund

A social and environmental justice leader, Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland is Founder and CEO of The Women Invested to Save Earth (WISE) Fund, an innovation enterprise, supporting grassroots Black and Indigenous women climate change innovators in Africa, Brazil, Australia and the USA.  Founder of Black Philanthropy Month, a global campaign to document, celebrate and promote African-descent giving, social investment and venture funding that has reached 17 million people, she also is an award-winning social change visionary, recognized as a HistoryMaker by the US Congress for her impactful civic contributions.

Other key roles have been COO of the Anita Borg Institute of Women and Technology, where she continues to serve as a senior advisor.  She also has served as COO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County; CEO of the social equity enterprise, Copeland Carson & Associates; African Women’s Development Fund USA executive director; US Bank Private Client Philanthropy Services vice president and managing director; COO of Twin Cities RISE!; and The Philadelphia Foundation’s program vice president.

Jackie holds two masters degrees, one in urban design and the other in cultural anthropology, with a Ph.D. in anthropology all from the University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in the US, Africa and South Asia, her undergraduate degrees are from Georgetown University’s liberal arts and foreign service schools in literature and African studies.