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Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award Past Recipients
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2008 Clinton Schroeder
2009 Gary Hargroves
2010 Robert Evenson (awarded posthumously, created Brisk Walk program & bequeathed it to MPGC)
2011 Craig Wruck
2012 Susan Dunlop
2013 Phil Brain
2014 Bob Golberg
2015 Dayton Hultgren
2016 Robert Harding
2017Thomas J. Wesely
2018 Frank Robertson
2019 Cheryl Nelson

The Clint Schroeder Distinguished Service Award is bestowed annually in recognition of outstanding service and leadership in the field of charitable gift planning. The Minnesota Planned Giving Council established the Award in honor of Clinton A. Schroeder, a principal in Gray Plant Mooty's Trust, Estate & Charitable Planning group, who inspires and serves as a role model for generations of gift planners. The inaugural Award was bestowed on Clinton A. Schroeder at the MPGC's annual conference in 2008, and the 2009 award was presented to Gary Hargroves, a leader in the field of charitable gift planning.

2019 Recipient: Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson was privileged to be part of the formative meeting creating the Minnesota Planned Giving Council and was elected to its first board of directors in 1986. Her first board responsibility was to co-chair and create a new, restructured annual planned giving conference. She volunteered in many capacities chairing annual conferences, chairing the education committee while serving several terms on the board. On one occasion, Veterans Day, Cheryl played the piano at the MPGC breakfast meeting, utilizing her piano skills as a lifelong church musician and former music teacher.

Cheryl was a planned giving pioneer in the early years, starting planned giving programs from the ground up, turning around development programs, uncovering hidden donors and achieving significant, complex, lasting planned gift success. She achieved the specialty of developing and closing substantial planned gifts from uniquely challenging donors. Her fondest memories are of mentoring and encouraging others to begin careers in planned giving.

Cheryl began her career in 1982 with the American Lutheran Church (ALC) where she worked with multiple endowments for Lutheran churches and retirement homes, creating policies and procedures used system wide. She was an organizer and presenter at the ALC’s annual development conference, the predecessor to the MPGC conference. At DARTS (Dakota Area Resources and Transportation for Seniors) in 1984, she started planned giving, wrote planned giving articles for the monthly newsletter, and began the DARTS legacy society. In 1987, she started planned giving for Minnesota Public Radio, created their legacy society, and wrote planned giving articles for the Minnesota Monthly magazine. The MPR donor travel program was initiated and launched by Cheryl in 1991. At The Saint Paul Foundation in 1992, Cheryl co-designed and led training for over 50 area non-profits to establish and grow their successful major and planned gift programs.

Midpoint in her career, Cheryl endured and overcame personal tragedy and then dealt with catastrophic health issues for years, all the while continuing to do her professional work. Cheryl kept all of this private from her colleagues, drew her strength from the Lord and kept her focus on the donors, her colleagues and the mission at hand.

While at the University of St. Thomas beginning in 1997, she uncovered, developed and achieved remarkable gifts from hidden donors. In 2001 at US Bank, Cheryl managed a multi-million dollar portfolio of charitable trusts and endowments, trained numerous non-profits in creating major and planned gift programs, and wrote grant-making policies and procedures for multiple major family foundations. Then, in 2012, Cheryl brought her years of experience to her alma mater, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where she identified, developed and closed the most satisfying gifts of her 35 year career working with talented, entrepreneurial lawyers.

In addition to her service to the MPGC, Cheryl was active in the Rotary Club of Saint Paul, a member of the American Bar Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Minnesota Probate and Trust Law Section, where she continually encouraged her colleagues to become involved in MPGC.

Cheryl received her BA degree in Music from St. Olaf College and her JD degree from William Mitchell College of Law.

2018 Recipient: Frank Robertson

Frank Robertson

Starting as a planned giving officer at the University of Minnesota Foundation in 1997, Frank served as UMF’s Director of Planned Giving during one of its most successful decades, from 2005-2015. In that capacity, he trained, mentored, and managed many of those who later became leaders in MPGC. Frank holds the distinction of having managed at least three past MPGC Board Chairs (Susan Hommes, Jane Goodnight, and Lynn Praska), and has worked with other past Board Chairs, Craig Wruck, Gary Hargoves, Jan Sickbert, Richard Olson, and Tricia Bunten. He has volunteered in a variety of ways with MPGC during his career and, after retiring, Frank became a mentor through MPGC’s Gary G. Hargroves Mentorship Program.

Frank has worked with countless planned gift donors personally to help them realize their philanthropic wishes, helping facilitate planned gifts of individual and aggregate size that would impress any person in nonprofit development. Moreover, Frank never has been one to seek attention. Instead, his leadership by excellent management of a world-class planned giving program, by personal example, and by individual mentorship quietly has influenced at least a generation of planned giving professionals in Minnesota and continues to leave a legacy across the state and beyond.

Before entering the development world, Frank – a graduate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (bachelor’s degree) and University of Iowa (master’s degree) – served 25 years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

2017 Recipient: Thomas J. Wesely

Thomas J. Wesely

One of the letters of recommendation supporting Thomas J. Wesely’s nomination stated, ”Tom has long played a recognized role as a leading advisor, both in his CPA practice and in his active involvement as a volunteer with the MPGC and national planned giving association. His dedication to providing expert advice to … clients and nonprofit practitioners … in the promotion of philanthropy over many decades … qualify him as an excellent nominee for this year’s award.” In the words of another recommender: “[Tom] is not only a reliable source of information but is also generous in sharing his knowledge. …He continues to give back to the planned giving community.” Tom was also wholeheartedly endorsed by Clint Schroeder for the award.

Tom Wesely graduated from St. Thomas, then worked for a large regional accounting firm for 15 years before he and his wife, Gloria, formed Wesely CPAs in 1994. Approximately half of Tom’s practice is devoted to charitable gift planning, tax preparation, and other administrative duties for over 200 charitable trusts, including charity-trusteed, self-trusteed and bank-trusteed charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts. He also prepares qualified appraisals for gifts of the income interest in a CRT and the annuity interest in a charitable gift annuity. The balance of his practice consists primarily of tax planning and preparation for individuals.

During the past 23 years, Tom has presented over 60 seminars on tax and charitable planning for planned giving conferences, continuing education for the legal, financial planning and insurance professions, and charitable organizations. He has served on planned giving advisory boards for several charities, currently for Catholic Charities. He also serves on the investment committee for the Evangelical Free Church of America. He was a director of MPGC and chaired its education committee from 1998 to 2003. He served on the planning committee for the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning in 2009 and 2011.

10th Annual Clinton A. Schroeder Award winner, Tom Wesely, provided a brief history of his relationship with each of the previous nine award recipients when he accepted the Schroeder Award on November 16, 2017. Click here to view his acceptance speech.

2016 Recipient: Robert Harding

Bob Harding

Initially mentored by Clint Schroeder, Bob Harding has been practicing law for over 30 years at Gray Plant Mooty and has focused in the tax and charitable development area that entire time. He works with nonprofit clients to advise them about gift planning and chairs the firm's Charitable Development Team.

Bob has developed a regional and national reputation of excellence in the area of charitable development and planned giving. He regularly speaks at the ACGA's biannual conference, MPGC's annual conference and has been invited to speak at ALDE conferences. He is the creator of seminars and webinars that are broadcast regionally to audiences of nonprofit staff and advisors and he publishes a periodic newsletter providing information of interest to nonprofits in our region and nationally. He advises nonprofit organizations across the country that seek out his expertise.

Bob has also been a mentor and resource to many of his colleagues and charitable organization clients. He regularly trains young professionals in charitable development topics and frequently advises nonprofit and estate planning lawyers about complex charitable giving questions. He conducts training and informational sessions for nonprofits and their development staff and speaks to groups of nonprofit donors about charitable strategies.

Bob has been a particularly important resource to and supporter of the gift planning community in Minnesota. His regular support of MPGC's annual conference through speaking appearances provides members with an opportunity to learn from a true master in planned giving. His work with charitable organizations in the region has led to many millions of dollars of charitable/planned gifts to support the current and future work of those organizations. He is known for his ability to structure complex gifts that meet donors' needs and further the missions of those organizations and for helping charities resolve difficult gifts and satisfy demanding donors.

Bob has immeasurably enriched the MPGC community with his generous contributions of experience, expertise and his commitment to furthering gift planning.

2015 Recipient: Dayton Hultgren

Dayton Hulgren
Dayton Hultgren has dedicated more than 40 years to serving nonprofit organizations throughout Minnesota and beyond. His career spans a wide variety of staff roles and concluded with his retirement from HBH Consultants where he served as a Founding Partner and Principal since 1997. Dayton has mentored countless fundraising professionals at varying points in their professional and personal journeys. Those who know Dayton can attest to his outstanding service to the philanthropic community in Minnesota. He has served on a number of boards including, most recently, the Minnesota Planned Giving Council. Dayton has made philanthropy and generosity a guiding value in his own life through his charitable giving, but most of all, in his willingness to mentor emerging fundraising professionals, asking nothing in return but that the profession and ethics of fundraising be perpetuated through the future work of these professionals. Dayton is a gentle leader, exceptional listener, and lover of humankind. He has an exemplary character, is trustworthy, and lives with intention. Without a doubt, he has made the gift planning community stronger and has impacted and inspired many.

2014 Recipient: Bob Golberg

Bob has an impressive and extensive history of successful gift planning for multiple Minnesota organizations. He started at Southwest Initiative Foundation part-time and quickly became an asset for all of southwest Minnesota. Bob has proven leadership in planned giving strategy and tools. Southwest Initiative Foundation wasn’t the first time he started a program from the ground-up. He began his development career at the Metropolitan Minneapolis YMCA (1963-1982) first as Youth and Day Camp Director, then as Assistant VP for Financial Development. He started planned giving programs at Mankato State University (Director of Planned Giving, 1982-1992) and Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (Director of Planned Giving, 1992-2007). Bob has amassed great experience at all organizations where he served. His technical knowledge of charitable giving allows him to work well with professionals, thinking through creative financial options for donors to consider. He has secured $2,020,000 in planned gifts through Southwest Initiative Foundation.

Bob has a keen ability to listen and plant seeds when visiting with donors, ensuring their giving truly is meaningful to them. As he did with his previous organizations, Bob has equipped Southwest Initiative Foundation to better serve the many generous people throughout our regional home and beyond who want to give back to southwest Minnesota.

2013 Recipient: Phil Brain

Phil was one of the founders of the group that eventually became the Minnesota Planned Giving Council. In about 1976 or 1977, Phil gathered the names and addresses of persons he knew in Minnesota who were working in or had an interest in the area of what was then called "deferred giving.” (The names planned giving and gift planning had not yet emerged) Because of the breadth of Phil’s personal relationships and connections, he was able to recruit excellent presenters on subjects of interest to people working in deferred giving. Programs achieved remarkable attendance for the time when there was only a small handful of people who worked full time in deferred giving. Phil played a key role in the founding of the National Council of Planned Giving (NCPG) which was later name Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP).
It addition, Phil was a mentor and was a consultant.

Phil had had a strong career working for the YMCA as a camp director and other leadership roles and at the time of starting the deferred giving events was working as the Director of Deferred Giving at the Minneapolis YMCA, which had one of the strongest deferred giving program in the Twin Cities at that time. When Phil retired, he continued to help nonprofit organizations build endowments through Planned Giving techniques … well into his retirement years.

Phil was a well-known tennis star while a student at the University of Minnesota. He was one of a relatively few people who survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines in WWII. He wrote a book on the experience and on rare occasions would speak on the experience.

2012 Recipient: Susan Dunlop

Susan has an M.B.A. with a Strategic Planning focus from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She has extensive experience working with donors to cultivate and develop strategic gift plans and solicit planned and major gifts. She collaborates with organizational leaders and donors to raise significant philanthropic support. She manages the gift planning effort for Luther Seminary. Previously, as Director of Development of the American Brain Foundation, a national medical foundation, she worked to raise funds to cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis and other brain diseases. At the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, she managed the gift planning effort. And prior to that, she was part of a seven person major planned giving team at the Minnesota Medical Foundation, University of Minnesota, for 20 years. She has worked with over 26 donors who have made personal commitments in excess of $1 million each and managed an average of 300 prospect visits/yr. and $8 million raised annually.

Susan effectively uses major gift planning in comprehensive development efforts including capital campaigns. She has extensive knowledge about gift planning techniques, the role of taxes and other financial considerations in planning gifts, the gift potential of various assets, the integration of charitable gifts into overall estate planning, and working with donors' professional advisors. She has organized and presented at three to five planned giving seminars annually, and managed volunteer gift planning committees. She established a planned giving recognition program and an annual recognition stewardship banquet. She also has managed planned giving marketing and communications. She frequently teaches and gives development seminars and offers consultation on how to initiate and manage a major/planned giving program.

Susan is a member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), was an instructor at the University of St. Thomas Center for Business Excellence in its Fundraising track, past instructor of at The Brisk Walk through the Basics Planned Giving Training Program for the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), an MPGC Annual Conference Presenter in multiple years, as well as a past MPGC regular meeting presenter. She was 1997–1998 President, a Board member from 1994 to 1999, and the Membership Committee Chair from 1994 to 1997, and Council member from 1987 to the present. She is a recipient of the Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award. She currently is the Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church Foundation Board Chair. She has been a Hamline University planned giving presenter and an MPGC Leave A Legacy Trainer.

2011 Recipient: Craig Wruck

In 2011, Craig Wruck received this honor for his leadership in promoting gift planning locally and nationally, for being an advocate for philanthropy and education, and for his amazing contributions to this Council, not to mention the Brisk Walk. 

An acknowledged leader in the field of gift planning both locally and nationally for more than two decades, Craig is a dedicated volunteer, a gifted teacher, a generous mentor, and a tireless advocate for philanthropy.

2010 Recipient: Bob Evenson

Bob Evenson
Bob Evenson, creator of the seminal "A Brisk Walk Through the Basics" seminar was recognized posthumously with this year's Clint Schroeder Distinguished Service Award at the MPGC Conference. Bob was remembered by Tom Jolivette of Luther Seminary as an influential mentor, leader, teacher and coach who cared greatly about philanthropy and the field of planned giving. When Tom asked the crowd of almost 400 how many had been through "A Brisk Walk Through the Basics," more than 80% in attendance raised their hands – a testament to the legacy of Bob's contributions. MPGC Conference Program Chair Kim Bowman noted that Bob truly "walked his talk" by making a planned gift to the MPGC. Bob bequeathed his "A Brisk Walk Through the Basics" course to further education within the field and to be an asset to MPGC – a true legacy gift.


Representing the Evenson family, Bob's sons Kirk, John and Eric attended the MPGC Conference and the award luncheon, with Kirk speaking on behalf of their family. Kirk shared the following with the audience: "One of the things I did in preparing to represent our family at this presentation was to talk with my brothers and sister about what aspect of my dad's work they thought I should highlight. What I found interesting was that my siblings all asked me to highlight the same point that I had settled on. And that main point is this, that even though my dad took great pride in being a planned giving professional who had exceptional insight, training and experience in his profession, he actually didn't see his primary role as that of a fundraiser for his institution. He actually saw himself as someone who worked closely with potential donors to ensure that their dreams could come true." Kirk went on to relay a donor story his father had told him, and he concluded by thanking the MPGC for honoring his dad. Conference attendees recognized Bob's contributions with a standing ovation.

2009 Recipient: Gary Hargroves

Bob Evenson

Gary Hargroves received this honor in recognition of his years of service to donors and charitable organizations. He has demonstrated a strong commitment to planned giving and fundraising, contributions to this Council, and commitment to mentoring others. Gary has managed the administration, marketing, cultivation and solicitation of high potential prospects nationwide. He assisted hundreds of donors and numerous advisors and colleagues as they supported donors in accomplishing their personal, financial, estate and charitable goals.

Gary served as Chair of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council Board of Directors in 1998 and Conference Chair in 1997 as well as other volunteer positions for the organization. During the year he was Chair the Leave a Legacy Minnesota program was launched. He is a member of the Partners in Philanthropic Planning, has served on the boards and committees of a number of Minnesota charities and as a consultant.

Gary has trained many gift officers in understanding the development process enabling them to raise more than would have otherwise been possible. He is a consummate gift planning officer and has been able to help hundreds of donors actualize their charitable potential. He is open to assisting colleagues with difficult gift planning situations and building the profession through his faithful work with MPGC. He is a strong proponent of the charitable spirit in our culture. He is generous, thoughtful, tenacious, and inspiring and an excellent example of a professional who knows how to engender philanthropy in donors. The Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award is a fitting way to honor his many years of giving back.

2008 Recipient: Clint Schroeder

Clint Schroeder
A principal at Gray Plant Mooty law firm, Clint Schroeder has been an active community volunteer and built a respected and thriving law practice in the areas of Trust, Estate and Charitable Planning, Nonprofit Law, and Tax Law. During his distinguished career, Clint has counseled individuals through the charitable estate planning process, and is legendary for encouraging clients to consider charitable giving as a primary part of the estate planning process. In helping others fulfill their charitable goals, he has greatly enriched our community. Many of our organizations have benefitted from Clint’s sage legal advice. He’s kept us current on legislation and gift planning techniques and helped to shape our Planned Giving programs. Clint has a wonderful way of clarifying complicated rules and regulations, all while instilling respect for the law.

His passion for community service throughout his career has also been remarkable. As a young lawyer, he volunteered countless hours serving on the board of Fairview Hospital. He is the former Chairman of the Minneapolis Foundation and helped create the “Building Better Futures” initiative to improve the quality of life for children and families in Minneapolis neighborhoods where child poverty rates are high. Clint is past president of the Minneapolis Rotary Club 9 and its Foundation, where he’s been a leader in creating the Franklin Gray scholarship that is awarded to inner-city high school students who display potential for achievement. He served on the Steering Committee of Leave a Legacy of Minnesota, an organization devoted to increasing charitable bequest giving. Nationally, Clint has served on the board of the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) for 30 years, providing expert counsel as well as heroic and steady leadership.

Clint might tell you that it was his humble beginnings that have led to his desire to build bridges, provide chances for others, and leave the world better for coming generations. Originally from Morris, MN, Clint is a proud graduate of Fergus Falls HS, where he was class president and graduated salutatorian. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and the U of MN Law School, married Carolyn Iverson and raised four beautiful daughters and a son.

Clint has never misses an opportunity to build others up and recognize their special achievements. He is a leader, trusted advisor, determined advocate, community volunteer, and joyful philanthropist.


more Calendar

September Virtual Education: (specific date TBD)

Legacy Giving at Lunch Autumn Series: Asking for a Bequest in these Challenging Times




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