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MPGC Board of Directors Bios

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Marie Ruzek

Marie Ruzek | Chair

Marie leads Planned Giving and Endowment-building for the Greater Twin Cities United Way, uniting caring people to build pathways out of poverty, thereby improving individuals and the community. She has over 15 years experience building capacity for local nonprofit organizations, including volunteer management, major and planned gift, fundraising, annual fund, and board development. Marie has a special interest in unleashing the power of women’s philanthropy, which she shares with anyone who will listen.

Prior to joining United Way, Marie led the gift planning program at William Mitchell College of Law for nearly eight years. She has been the Director of Development for the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, a Staff Attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation, and a Volunteer Coordinator at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Marie earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN, and holds the CFRE designation.

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Jennifer Foth

Jennifer Foth | Past Chair

Jennifer Foth is the Gift Planning Officer for 50th Reunion Programs at Carleton College. Prior to Carleton, she lead the Major and Planned Giving program at CaringBridge.org. Jennifer also served as an Associate Director of Major and Planned Giving at Lawrence University. She holds a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University and a Bachelors of Arts from Lawrence University. Jennifer volunteers for the City of St. Paul as a garden steward and hosts an international student through St. Catherine University’s Friendship Family Program. She resides in St. Paul with her husband Ray and loveable pooch Riley.

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Ben Webster

Ben Webster | Treasurer

Ben Webster is a Planned Giving Officer with the University of Minnesota Foundation. Ben’s specialties include working with gifts of real estate, land, life insurance, and other non-cash assets. In addition, Ben provides planned giving support to several medical and health areas, the College of Liberal Arts, University Wide Scholarships, the U of M Libraries, and the Weisman Art Museum, among others. Ben is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Mitchell Hamline College of Law.

Prior to joining the U of M Foundation, Ben worked as a philanthropic advisor at U.S. Bank’s Charitable Services Group and also worked as an attorney in private practice in the area of family law. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council and also the Glenn Senior Living Communities. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, spending weekends up north with family, and exploring the area lakes on his stand up paddleboard. Ben resides in Rosemount, MN, with his wife Kelly and two young sons, Finn and Noah.

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Tom Glass

Tom Glass | Secretary

Tom is the Senior Director of Planned Giving at the University of St. Thomas. Prior to joining St. Thomas in 2009, Tom was a partner in the financial services firm of Deegan & Glass, LLC. The firm provided specialized wealth management and estate planning for affluent individuals and corporations. He is a frequent speaker on charitable planning and family wealth management. Tom has extensive experience serving in a leadership capacity on many nonprofit boards. He is currently serving on the Edina Tax Referendum Committee, the Social Justice Board at St. Patrick’s Church in Edina, and the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, where he also serves on the Program and Education committees. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Tom resides with his wife CoCo and four children in Edina, Minnesota.

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Kautt

Greg Diehl | At-Large Board Member

As Development Officer for the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation, Greg is responsible for developing new and existing funds. He also oversees donor relations and services. Greg joined the FM Area Foundation in 2014.

He previously served as Administrator of the Emergency Food Pantry of Fargo-Moorhead. Before that he was the Executive Director of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead from 2005 to 2013. From 1988 to 2005, he served as the Sales and Marketing Manager of Red Flag Green Flag Resources.

Greg has served on the United Way Cass Clay Campaign Cabinet and is a past board member of the North Dakota Alliance for Children's Justice and Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota. He's also the founder of the Red River Men's Action Network.

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Dana J. Holt, JD RICP AEP | At-Large Board Member

Dana is the founder of HOLT Consulting where she guides charities, families, and financial advisors through complex charitable giving strategies. She is also the creator of Turning Wealth Into What Matters™ - a Strategic Growth Coaching Program for Fundraisers and Professional Advisors.

Dana spent four years as an Advanced Planning Consultant at a Fortune 500 financial services company. There she guided and educated financial advisors from coast to coast through complex client matters such as tax planning, charitable giving, estate planning, real estate, social security and beyond.

Dana honed her charitable planning experience during her nine years as a Charitable Gift Planner at InFaith Community Foundation (formerly Lutheran Community Foundation). There she helped to facilitate hundreds of planned gifts using everything from cash to crops to cows, real estate, royalties, and more.

Dana began her professional career as an estate planning attorney in the Twin Cities. She graduated from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and Southern Illinois University. She lives in Lauderdale, MN with her two retired racing greyhounds.

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Kautt

Jay Kautt | At-Large Board Member

Jay Kautt serves as Advanced Sales Counsel at Securian Financial Group in St. Paul, MN.  In this role he assists Securian Advisors and Wholesalers with tax and estate planning cases for Securian clients.  Jay also travels and gives presentations to Securian Advisor groups and other business partners on topics ranging from retirement planning to business succession planning to Social Security claiming strategies.  Jay has a diverse background that includes practicing estate planning and real estate law and time as a Financial Advisor.

Prior to joining Securian in 2017, Jay most recently spent seven years as a Planned Giving Officer with the University of Minnesota Foundation. Jay's specialties included working with gifts of real estate and life insurance that benefit the University of Minnesota. In addition, Jay provided Planned Giving Support to several medical corridors and colleges at the University.

Jay graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1998 and William Mitchell College of Law in 2005. He is a native of St. Peter, Minnesota, and currently resides in Lakeville, MN with his wife and two daughters.

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Sheryl Morrison | At-Large Board Member

For almost 30 years, Sheryl Morrison has focused her practice in the areas of estate and wealth planning, transfer tax strategies, business succession planning, estate and trust administration, and creation and administration of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations. She helps clients accomplish their objectives for management, protection, and preservation of their wealth through strategies that minimize taxes and promote effective ongoing family management of assets, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, generation-skipping trusts, charitable trusts and corporations, grantor trusts, and GRATs and QPRTs. Her experience enables her to advise clients about the many issues affecting the administration and operation of their trusts, estates, and businesses, including business succession planning strategies.

Sheryl’s practice also focuses on philanthropy planning through creating, qualification, and operation and administration of nonprofit and tax-exempt entities, as well as counseling higher education institutions, health care organizations, and other charities about their charitable gift acquisition programs and administration practices.

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Alison Roberts

Jennifer Nelson, SMIF | At-Large Board Member

As part of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) leadership team, Jennifer Nelson directs the fundraising and communications efforts to increase awareness and financial support for SMIF. Nelson started her career in 1999 at the Foundation and became part of the leadership team in 2012.

Nelson has extensive knowledge and experience in fund development, donor stewardship and communications.  She builds strong partnerships — both internal and external to further the mission of the Foundation and works closely with staff, board and partners to steadily increase program and endowment funds for SMIF as well as support the Affiliate Fund program focused on the growth of financial resources for communities utilizing the Foundation’s 501(c)(3). In recent years, she launched additional programming for SMIF – a farmland retention program and a planned giving platform on SMIF's website. Nelson also played an integral role in the next strategic plan as well as the Foundation’s rebranding effort.

Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. She is a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program and Brisk Walk Through The Basics, as well as completed course work in grant writing through Indiana University Center of Philanthropy Fund Raising School. She is a member of Leave A Legacy – Mankato as well as a steering committee member for the statewide Leave A Legacy group since 2016.

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Alison Roberts

Alison Roberts, CFRE | At-Large Board Member

Alison is a Gift Officer at Children’s Cancer Research Fund and works with major and planned giving donors who are supporting research to better treat and find new cures for childhood cancer. Prior to Children’s Cancer Research Fund, she was a Project Manager for the fundraising consulting firm Bentz Whaley Flessner where she advised clients throughout the U.S. and Europe on fundraising best practices and philanthropy trends. Alison has a strong knowledge of effective fundraising strategies, campaign management, planned giving program administration, and prospect development. Prior to, she was also the Planned Giving and Major Gifts Coordinator at the Minnesota Orchestra. Combined, she has over 10 years of experience connecting donors with causes they are passionate about and helping them achieve their philanthropic goals.

Alison is an incoming board member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council in 2016 and has presented at their annual conference. She is a graduate of St. Olaf College and an active fundraising volunteer and board member for the Minnesota Zoo Foundation’s young professionals group, AZUL. Alison lives in Eden Prairie and loves the outdoors, wildlife, skiing, and playing tennis.

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Anne Rodenberg

Anne Rodenberg | At-Large Board Member

Anne Rodenberg is the Major and Planned Gift Officer at Second Harvest Heartland, one of the country’s largest food banks. In this role, she leads efforts to develop and implement a planned giving program to proactively attract planned gifts and steward legacy donors. She has 20 years of experience leading communications strategies in support of development goals at nonprofits including the Catholic Community Foundation, WomenVenture and Dunwoody College of Technology. Anne has a B.A. in journalism from UW-Eau Claire, and will complete her Master of Arts in Leadership at Augsburg College in May 2016. She serves on marketing and development committees at Metro Area Meals on Wheels, Loyola Spirituality Center, and St. Odilia School. She is married to Jeff, a visual artist; they live in Shoreview with their very fun 8-year-old twins, Sara and Aaron.

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Bethel M. Ruest, M.B.A. | At-Large Board Member

Bethel M. Ruest, M.B.A., serves as gift planning administrator for the Office of Gift Planning, Department of Development, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She leads the gift administration efforts for Mayo Clinic’s benefactors and friends living across the United States.
Working with our team of gift planning officers, she strategically creates and implements planned gifts and helps benefactors achieve their philanthropic goals using real estate and other noncash assets.

Ms. Ruest has been employed by Mayo Clinic for 21 years. Previously she worked for Washington County, Wisconsin as an accounting manager, and for Strong Funds (Wells Fargo Advisors), as an accountant.

She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Stout, and her Master of Business Administration degree from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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Juliana Sellers | At-Large Board Member

Juliana Sellers is the Foundation Manager for the Jewish Community Foundation of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and coordinator for the It's Your Legacy program.  It's Your Legacy is funded in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation's LIFE & LEGACY™ Program.  Through this initiative, Juliana encourages and advises on legacy and planned giving efforts and provides training for 28+ Jewish agencies in the Twin Cities.  Juliana has also been director of development at Hillel at the University of Minnesota.  Prior to this role, Juliana had guided the creation of and consulted for the MN Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund, which provides grants to organizations that empower Minnesota Veterans to integrate successfully into civilian life.  Juliana started her professional career as a Trust Officer and Charitable Consultant with the Wells Fargo Charitable Management group.  In this role, she had the opportunity to work with several private foundations and planned giving offices across the country.  

Juliana has been a board member of the Minneapolis Chapter of Hadassah, President of the Young Women's group (Neshama) of the Minneapolis Chapter of Hadassah and recipient of the Hadassah Leadership Award.  She has also been a board member of Corporate Fiduciaries and a member of the Wells Fargo Community Funding Council.  Juliana enjoys involvement with the the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, has served on its board and is past co-chair of the MPGC annual conference.  

Juliana's husband, Jacob, is a partner with Burnick Lifson, P.A. Law Firm.  They have two boys at the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School.  When Juliana has time, she enjoys knitting, volunteering in the school library and teaching the Art Adventures Program.  

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Kautt

Anne Walters | At-Large Board Member

Anne Walters is the Chief Development Officer with Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, the non-profit that serves 30,000 girls in southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin and supports 10,000 volunteers.

Anne comes to Girl Scouts after working at the College of Saint Benedict as a senior development officer, where she secured major and planned gifts for the college’s $100 million Illuminating Lives capital campaign. Prior to this, Anne served as the development director for the statewide Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota organization and in the roles of development director and interim executive director at Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity. Anne has 15 years of fundraising experience and her background includes building programs for major and planned gifts, corporate and foundation giving, alumnae relations, special events, and board engagement with fundraising.

Anne is an alumna of the College of Saint Benedict and she also earned her certificate in fundraising management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

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Thank you to MPGC Benefiting Sponsor, Crescendo Interactive, and Supporting Sponsor, US Bank Charitable Services Group

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