The Institute Team

We are a group of seasoned professionals from across the broad spectrum of non-profits, located all across the United States, with a common interest … leaving a legacy of helping great organizations engaged in education, health and human services, arts and culture, community service, and all of the not-for-profit arenas, reach their full potential in building out their missions.  We build from a global perspective, while ensuring and appreciating a local awareness.

Keeping in mind that there truly are only three ways to possibly lower costs associated with consulting in the external affairs arena, the Institute has assembled an extraordinary team of professionals who wholly embrace the concepts of providing a fee structure consistent with a not-for-profit model, who are committed to swiftly assessing needs and opportunities and taking appropriate actions, and who are geographically located and savvy to the culture of the regions they seek to serve.

Marvin R. LeRoy, Jr.   *   President & Founder                                                                                                      

“I don’t know of anyone else in our profession who brings more of the Jeffersonian Virtues of a knowing head and honest heart than Marv LeRoy.” Jim Eskin, President & Founder, Eskin Fundraising Training (San Antonio, TX)

Marv has committed his entire 40+ year career to leading not-for-profit organizations in professional, volunteer, and consultant capacities.  He has helped to advance the missions of dozens of entities in the education, health, human services, and arts and culture arenas, and has assisted with the raising of more than $400 million for wonderful causes.  He is also an adjunct professor in the Institute for Higher Education Leadership at the College of St. Rose, and regularly presents at conferences and workshops in the areas of fundraising, strategic planning, and legislative affairs.  In addition to his degrees from Siena College (BA, Political Science) and Sage Graduate School (MPA), Marv has also earned graduate certificates in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University’s School of Philanthropy and in Executive Nonprofit Leadership from the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame.  Beyond his work in the nonprofit world, he has also served in elected office for four terms as Town/County Supervisor in Saratoga County, NY, and served as an officer on the board of directors of Mohawk Community Bank.  His decision to create the Institute is grounded in his strong commitment to the nonprofit community, as well as his belief that far too many organizations in the third sector have so much more to offer if resources could be found to expand their missions.

Coaching Team


41 Coaches in 20 States and the District of Columbia

Featured Coaches

  Clara Potes-Fellow  *  Arcadia, CA

Clara is a nonprofit industry expert with a fundamental understanding of the intersection of fundraising, marketing, branding and communications. She has a distinguished 25 year record of accomplishments in the advancement functions of higher education institutions, health organizations, youth development, and religious organizations. As a coach for the Institute for Philanthropic Excellence, she leads fundraising campaigns, fundraising feasibility studies, development audits, and provides marketing/communications advice. Before becoming a consultant, Clara served as director of advancement and communication for a Federally Qualified Community Health Center, and served for 12 years as director of media relations and community partnerships at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. Earlier in her career she was director of multicultural marketing for Southern California Edison, and a public affairs officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


Scott Lyons  *  Fredericksburg, VA

Scott is the quintessential advancement professional, having given his entire career to fundraising programs at nonprofits across the country. He has spent parts of his more than 35 years in development roles serving institutions in higher education, arts and culture, community affairs, youth programming, and environmental concerns. In addition to his professional experiences, Scott has served dozens of organizations in volunteer capacities …winning numerous honors (the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, the Alliance of New York State Arts Councils, and the Rappahannock-Fredericksburg Rotary Club, to name but a few). Over these years, he has brought extensive expertise in annual funds, major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation programs, marketing and communications, and comprehensive campaigns, to his work in advancement of great missions.


Erin Zeiger  *  Olympia, WA

Erin has over 15 years of experience working with boards and executive leadership. She has specific expertise in board governance issues, communication and strategic planning. Erin’s approach is tailored to the individual client with the goal of building high performing work teams through improved communication, shared vision, and greater clarity of roles and responsibilities. Her professional background also includes expertise in state and federal higher education policy, legislative strategy, resource development, fundraising, and advocacy campaigns. She previously served as state agency liaison to the Governor’s office, legislature, two-year college trustees and presidents, two-year college system councils, commissions and student government leaders. Erin has held various leadership roles with experience in strategic planning, policy research and development, and the implementation of major system initiatives. She currently serves as the executive director of a non-profit foundation with assets totaling over $14 million. Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and an MBA in management and strategy.

1Vladia Boniewski  *  Scotia, NY  

Ms. Boniewski has more than thirty years of development, public relations, admissions and teaching experience at the community college level, as well as board and development experience with several community non-profits.  As Executive Director of the Schenectady County Community College Foundation and Director of Development, she established a successful development office, including developing and implementing strategic plans, achieving fundraising goals, building a database, establishing policies and procedures, and hiring, training and managing staff.  While at SCCC, she organized and managed the College’s first major gifts campaign.  Her experience in development includes major gifts, annual fund, planned giving, scholarships, alumni affairs, events, and grant proposals. She has also served in a consulting capacity for two fundraising firms over the past five years, and has been a guest lecturer for a number of college courses.


Alex Nelson  *  Portland, OR

Alex is founder and CEO of Impact Capital Management, LLC in Portland, Oregon. Prior to his current venture, he served as VP and Business Lender for Craft3, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution in Oregon and Washington. He also served as Vice President and Business Development Officer for Accelevant, Inc., a business finance and entrepreneurial consulting company. Previously, Alex held VP level positions with three regional commercial banks. He is also a seasoned veteran of nonprofit leadership, currently serving as a President of the Lower Columbia College Foundation. Alex received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Management and Leadership, with honors from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.                                                                             


Gary Salberg  *  Sisters, OR/Eagle, ID

Gary has a deep professional background in charitable estate planning and investment management that provides him with an excellent foundation to assist philanthropic organizations and their constituents.  He served as Director of Major Gifts & Planned Giving in the California State University system for over 17 years.  Working within charitable fundraising organizations for more than four decades, he earned the designation of Certified Specialist in Planned Giving.  Gary also holds a Master’s degree in Social Work Planning & Management, and worked for 15 years as a licensed financial representative.  Gary recognizes that in this challenging environment of working with non-profit organizations to meet fiduciary obligations, along with charitable objectives, we must carefully build solid fiscal plans, clear messaging, and engaged leadership.  His noteworthy skills and knowledge help to develop true philanthropic engagement resulting in enduring legacies and powerful impact.

Howard Bloom  *  Boynton Beach, FL        howard-b-2-2

Howard is a seasoned development and human service professional with over 25 years of administrative, planning and fund raising experience.  He has enjoyed a long career as a successful major gifts officer whose specialty is finding the precise point at which donor interests and nonprofit organization needs and desires intersect. His past work for the Alzheimer’s Association and various Jewish Federation agencies around the country has afforded him great opportunities to truly come to know the cultures of high performing organizations and diverse communities served by these entities. Howard holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Manitoba, a Masters degree from Ohio State University, and has completed his PhD course work at the University of Toronto.

Joe April  *  West Boylston, MA

Joe has more than 30 years of experience in resource development programs as a staff member and consultant. His professional expertise includes major gift campaigns, planned giving, and strategic planning for foundation boards and advancement teams. As a consultant, Joe has led more than 55 feasibility studies, development assessments, foundation strategic plans, community summits, industry forums, and alumni strategic planning efforts, and comprehensive campaigns (all of which exceeded their goals). He is actively involved in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), where he regularly speaks at their regional and national conferences. Prior to becoming a full-time consultant, Joe served as the Chief Advancement Office at Holyoke Community College, MA; MassBay Community College; and the Community College of Rhode Island. Since 2017, he has served as the Director of Development at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He is currently leading the $25 Million Building Community Campaign, the largest campaign in the Museum’s history.


Jackie Bowen, CFRE  *  St. Augustine, FL

Jackie has more than 25 years of experience in community college development and teaching.  In her past fundraising roles as Associate Dean of Resource Development and then Dean of Institutional Advancement for a number of community colleges, she has organized a first development office, implemented a first annual internal giving campaign, significantly increased Foundation assets, organized a first major gifts campaign, and developed a solid donor/prospect database. Jackie was regional co-director for CRD, served on the national CRD Board, and organized and taught three sections of the two-day CFRE pre-examination course at the annual CRD meetings. She has also given presentations on several topics including annual giving and Foundation development. Before her development career, Jackie taught English literature and composition at both two-and-four year institutions, was publicity manager for the Johns Hopkins University Press, and President of National Health Publishing.  She received her B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.A. in American Literature from the John Hopkins University and an M.A. in Renaissance Literature from the University of Illinois.


Steve Maxey  *  Kansas City, MO

Steve Maxey has devoted his entire life to advancing the nonprofit sector.  Having recently retired from North Central Missouri College after more than twenty years running their foundation office, he is credited with orchestrating the college’s first-ever comprehensive campaign that raised over $14 million in support of allied health programs, campus facility expansion, and scholarships.  In addition to his tenure at NCMC, Steve served as a professional and volunteer with numerous other not-for-profits in education, civic, religious, and governmental affiliations spanning more than 40 years of dedication to his community, region, state and nation.  Beyond his extensive fundraising experience, he also has noteworthy acumen in organizational design, marketing, and governmental affairs.


Chris Downing  *  Bloomington, IL

With a passion for storytelling and a commitment to his community, Chris Downing is well suited to a profession in fundraising. Currently the Executive Director of the Heartland Community College Foundation in central Illinois, he just successfully completed the college’s first-ever major gifts campaign. With a background in fundraising for both community colleges and social services agencies, Chris has presented at numerous conferences on the value and art of sharing an organization’s story. His experience in fundraising ranges from major giving, annual fund, scholarships, and alumni programs to events and grant writing. He was recently named one of the 20 Professionals Under 40 to watch in Central Illinois and is active in his local Rotary Club. Chris holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Speech Communication from Augustana College, an MPA from Northern Illinois University, and is now completing his PhD in Educational Administration from Illinois State University.


Jim Fitzgerald  *  Clifton Park, NY

The founder of SAFE (Sports Are For Everyone), Jim has guided the evolution of this organization and has overseen the development of the specific sports offered over twenty-five years, and has provided these wonderful outlets for physical, social, and emotional growth for thousands of young people.  He is extremely excited to be able to now share his insights and experiences with other communities around the country, and to expand the opportunities for this very special group of children. See the “Services” page on the Website for more information on the SAFE program and our collaboration.

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Leigh Ann Jacobson  *  Chicago, IL

Leigh Ann currently serves as Director of Parent Relations and Giving at Lake Forest Academy, and previously served as a major gifts officer and director of the Parents Program at the University of Notre Dame. With more than 20 years progressively responsible fund development experience, she is recognized for moving organizations forward with proven management, values, and decisive leadership. She has enjoyed numerous strategic roles and opportunities in all areas of institutional advancement.  Leigh Ann is an articulate communicator with extensive experience in presenting and discussing complex issues with senior decision makers. While most of her career has been centered in education, she has a broad knowledge of all nonprofit organizations, and serves on the local and regional AFP chapters. A graduate of Kings College and Arcadia University, Leigh Ann also holds a certificate in Executive Management from Notre Dame and the national CFRE.

Gail Eubanks  * Savannah, GA

Gail is the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and Communications at Savannah Technical College, where she helped lead the college Foundation’s tremendously successful first-ever comprehensive campaign. She is an award winning creative director for college marketing programs, having served at numerous universities and colleges over her more than thirty-year career. Additionally, Gail is credited with leading the noteworthy enrollment growth at one of the fastest-growing two year colleges in the country. Without question, she brings extraordinary knowledge and understanding to her consulting from a wide and diverse higher education and nonprofit organization background.

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Selina Chi   *  Claremont, CA

Selina draws upon her extensive background in the Fine Arts and her 28-year career in teaching as she works to advance the resource development capacities for nonprofit organizations. Over the past two decades, she has led a number of advancement offices in higher education throughout southern California, and has served in numerous volunteer leadership roles for a wide range of community-based nonprofits. Selina holds a CFRE and multiple degrees from UCLA, and is accomplished in all areas of philanthropic programs from annual funds to major and planned gifts to grants administration. Additionally, she has extensive knowledge of public funding options, including the comprehensive processes associated with bond issuances.

Michael J. Buckley, CFRE   *   Guilderland, NY

A career fundraiser, Mike most recently served as the Chief Philanthropy & External Affairs Officer at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society outside of Albany, NY. Previous to that position, Mike served as a Major Gift Officer and subsequently Director of Development at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  Mike’s first professional fundraising position was with Siena College, and he began his fundraising career as a student phonathon caller at his alma mater, Castleton State College. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Mike is a regular presenter at the state and local conferences, including the Northeast Annual Giving Conference, the NYS Animal Protection Federation Conference, and the Hudson Mohawk Chapter of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, of which he currently serves as Chapter President.  Mike also serves on the Board of Education for the Schools of the Albany Catholic Diocese.

Norma Provencio Pichardo   *   Pasadena, CA

Norma has helped nonprofit organizations prosper for almost 20 years through her ability to cultivate and build key partnerships, develop strategy, lead fundraising, assist with board development, empower teams, assess and enhance programs, and drive a high performance collaborative culture. She has served as a chief executive for national organizations like the Television Academy (Emmys) Foundation, Workplace Hollywood, Emma Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, and CFO for a local nationally recognized and award winning model mentoring and scholarship organization, the Fulfillment Fund. She has been recognized as one of the Most Powerful and Influential Latinos in Entertainment several years in a row by the Imagen Foundation, founded by Norman Lear. She serves as a national board member for the Girl Scouts USA serving as the Chair of the Fund Development Committee; as advisory board member for the Alliance for Women in Media; as member of the CSU Chancellor’s Entertainment Council; and, as an Arts Commissioner for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Maureen Yee * Saratoga, NY

Maureen has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of philanthropy, with most of these years spent supporting health care organizations. She has held roles in prospect research, grant writing and grants management, and was employed by the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region for eight years. Maureen is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and has held leadership roles with the Hudson/Mohawk Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association, and Women in Development of Northeastern New York. She has served on committees of the Healthy Capital District Initiative, Albany Alliance for Youth’s Commit to Kids, United Way’s Success by Six, and the Capital Chamber’s Women’s Business Council, as well as on the governance and program committees of the Funders Alliance of Upstate New York and the Life Options Center Workgroup. Maureen regularly presents workshops on grant writing and major gifts programs.

Richard Talmo * Chico, CA

Rich is an experienced fundraising professional who provides clients with effective, field-proven, executable strategies in the areas of fundraising, organizational management, coaching and recruiting. During his 35-year career, Rich has held senior management and executive positions with the American Cancer Society, San Diego State University, Menlo College, Chabot College and Palomar College in San Diego, California. He also had the pleasure of working with grassroots fundraising programs gaining important experiences while working in the Barrios of San Diego early in his career.
During his career, Rich held many leadership roles with professional and service organizations throughout California. Most notably, he served as a board member of the Network of California Community College Foundations for 10-years (President in 2010), and has been a long-time Rotarian in San Marcos, California, (President in 2013 and 2017). He holds an Associate of Arts degree from El Camino College and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from San Diego State University.

Dr. Dan Martin * Washington D.C

Dan is a widely experienced international grant-maker, conservationist, non-profit executive, educator and fundraising consultant to private foundations. Now a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, affiliated with the Centerʼs Environmental Change and Security Program, he has served in senior roles with noted national foundations such as Cargill, MacArthur, Markle, Moore, and Noyes. He previously served as President of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, and as Vice President and member of the governing Council of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, based in Switzerland. Beyond his professional roles, Dr. Martin is a member of the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society, the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Center in Canada, the Board of Directors of the Fund for the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, the Illinois Board of Regents, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and many other public and non-profit boards and advisory committees in the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico and numerous developing countries. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries in most regions of the world. A native of Iowa, he was educated at Knox College, graduating with a B.A. in political science and international affairs, earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in international politics and political theory at Princeton University, and served as an Intelligence officer in the United States Army.

Thomas J. Kilian, Jr. * Indianapolis, IN

With his diverse background in both profit and nonprofit organizations, and extensive experience in philanthropy and fundraising, Tom has noteworthy expertise in campaign planning and execution, major and planned gift programs, annual giving, special events, strategic planning, foundation infrastructure and policies, and volunteer board management as he leads innovative resource development initiatives. He currently serves as the President of the Hamilton County Community Foundation (IN). His career has largely been focused on higher education, where he has spent near 10 years playing leadership roles in the development and execution of several philanthropic campaigns across various campus landscapes. Most notably, as Executive Director of the Ivy Tech Community College Foundation in Central Indiana he successfully led the largest regional campaign in college history ($22 million), and secured the largest gift commitment in Ivy Tech history ($5 million). Tom earned a B.S. from Indiana State University, an M.S. from Indiana University, and an executive certificate from the University of Notre Dame. Outside the office, he volunteers with several organizations, including sitting on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of greater Indianapolis.

Jennifer Wheatley  *  Grants Pass, OR

Jen has a varied background in business and non-profit management, and holds degrees from Whitman College and the University of Denver, where she received her Masters from the Daniels College of Business. One of her greatest strengths lies in her ability to identify the opportunity within every challenge as well as a general mastery of collaboration and its application to promote success. Her inclination toward action balanced with an affinity for unconventional thinking makes her an asset in whatever she does. She has worked in the non-profit world in many capacities as a professional and volunteer, including as an adviser, board member, executive director, and campaign manager. Most notably, Jen spent nearly nine years as the Executive Director of the Rogue Community College Foundation, and then as the Senior Director of Community Affairs for Dutch Bros Coffee where she oversaw philanthropy, foundation, community relations and served as the company spokesperson. She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon and is also a graduate of the Ford Institute Leadership Program.

Andre’ Harrell * Philadelphia, PA

Andre’ Harrell is the consummate cross-functional leader whose career has been a combination of servant leadership and corporate governance. His experience in the nonprofit space has spanned close to 20 years, starting out as a volunteer and rising to a board chair … he remains steadfast in paying it forward.  He has been involved with a number of nonprofit organizations, including: ARTZ Philadelphia, Big Brothers Big Sisters National, SCORE International, Concerned Black Men International, Child Find of America, and National Minority Supplier Development Council to name a few.   Now working in the management consulting space, Andre’ spends most of his time working/mentoring startups in both the nonprofit and for-profit spaces helping them to develop their management infrastructure in preparation for capital/fundraising. He also has a wealth of experience in facilitation and has helped profit & nonprofit corporations build sustaining internal policy practices.

Maureen Winney * Saratoga Springs, NY

Maureen has spent her entire career in the higher education arena serving in numerous external affairs positons of significance.  Beginning back in the middle 1980s as a leadership gifts officer at Skidmore College, she helped the college greatly expand its annual fund base in anticipation of the institution’s most successful comprehensive campaign in its history. She then moved across the street in Saratoga Springs to lead the office of Alumni and Student Relations at SUNY Empire State College, continuing her work as a senior gift officer. Beyond her employment roles, Maureen has also served as a strategic planning and fundraising consultant. She was a program consultant to the Boys Town National Family Home Program, and, over the past years has served in consulting capacities for national firms through her work on numerous campaign feasibility studies at two-year colleges across the country. In addition to her professional life, Maureen has been very involved in her community as a volunteer, and has served on many boards for nonprofits. She holds a BA from SUNY Potsdam, and a MPA from the University of South Florida.

Dr. Bruce Leslie * Denver, CO

Dr. Bruce Leslie has successfully implemented cohesive organizational systems and strategic, creative and accountable cultures, engaging all stakeholders and emphasizing leadership development for all members of the organization, especially the boards of trustees, resulting in dramatic, nationally recognized performance outcomes at each institution he has led. A Navy Veteran and Chancellor Emeritus of both Houston Community College and The Alamo Colleges District, Bruce recently retired, concluding a 42-year career as a senior executive in community college systems. At each of the colleges he has led, Dr. Leslie founded or reinvigorated the college foundation leading to rapid increases in donations, student scholarships, faculty support and facility development.  Bruce earned his bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio, master’s degree from Sam Houston State University in Texas, and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin.