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2017 MPGC Annual Conference

St. Paul RiverCentre
175 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 265-4800

Parking, directions and map for the Saint Paul RiverCentre


MPGC's 41st Annual Conference & Brisk Walk
November 14-16, 2017
St. Paul RiverCentre


Jump to: Keynote Speakers | Breakout Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Bryan K. Clontz, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, CAP, AEP, President, Charitable Solutions, LLC

Bryan is the founder and President of Charitable Solutions, LLC, specializing in noncash asset receipt and liquidation, gift annuity reinsurance brokerage, gift annuity risk management audits, emergency assistance funds and life insurance appraisals/audits. More information on Bryan Clontz from the Charitable Solutions website.

Nathan Dungan, Founder and President, Share Save Spend

Nathan Dungan is the founder and president of Share Save Spend®. For over 20 years, Nathan has been an industry thought-leader on helping individuals and families align their money decisions with their values. Nathan speaks and consults with families and organizations on the topic of money and the effects of our consumer culture on money habits. More information on Nathan Dungan from the Share Save Spend Website.

Jim Hodge, Associate Vice Chancellor, University of Colorado

For more than 35 years Jim has worked with philanthropists at Bowling Green State university, Mayo Clinic and the University of Colorado. Focusing on gifts of significance, Jim has worked primarily with benefactors who have given more than one million dollars to the institutions he has served. He has been labelled a reflective practitioner, an individual who not only inspires philanthropy but also seeks to advance the best practices for the profession.

Robert Sharpe, Chairman, Sharpe Group

As Chairman of Sharpe Group, Robert Sharpe is a nationally recognized pioneer, leader and authority in the field of philanthropy. With more than 35 years of experience serving America’s nonprofit community, he consults nationally with educational, health, social service, arts and religious organizations and institutions in the planning and implementation of their major, planned gift and endowment development efforts. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Cornell Law School, he served as a development officer for a liberal arts college prior to practicing law with a major law firm specializing in taxation and estate planning.

Robert is chairman of the philanthropy editorial board of Trusts & Estates magazine and co-author of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) Model Standards of Gift Valuation. He has served on the board of Giving USA and on strategic task forces for the CGP. Among other publications, his remarks have been featured in The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesNewsweekForbesSmart MoneyThe Chronicle of PhilanthropyTrusts & Estates and Kiplinger’s. He is a frequent speaker at local and national gatherings of fundraising executives, financial officers and others.

David Schultz, Professor, Hamline University; Political Analyst

Professor Schultz is the author of 30 books and 100+ articles on various aspects of American politics, election law, and the media and politics, and he is regularly interviewed and quoted in the local, national, and international media on these subjects including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Economist, and National Public Radio.

At the January 2017 MPGC Breakfast meeting Professor Schultz spoke about the 2016 election and the future of charitable giving. If you missed it, he will be updating us at the MPGC Conference on what has transpired in 2017and how it affects the world of philanthropy. 

Danielle Oristian York, Director, 21/64

Danielle Oristian York is the Director at 21/64. She works with multi-generational families, the next generation and their advisors on multigenerational engagement, financial literacy, and empowering the next generation.

Danielle also speaks nationally on these topics, facilitates the #NextGenDonors Retreat for 21-40 year olds, and leads trainings on 21/64's approach. Danielle is passionate about presenting these complex ideas in an accessible format for audiences, utilizing 21/64 tools designed to evoke an awareness of self and build the capacity for change in individuals and systems.

Before 21/64, Danielle held positions at Pitcairn, a family office, and UBS. Serving multi-generational families, her multi-faceted roles included developing and delivering customized financial education, facilitation of family meetings and personalized coaching and mentorship.

Danielle earned a Bachelor's degree in Communication from James Madison University and completed the postgraduate program at The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family at Georgetown. She is also a member of the Collaboration for Family Flourishing. She lives in Boston with her husband and two young children in fear of the next polar vortex.

Breakout Speakers

Cindy Aegerter, CFRE, Senior Gift Planner, InFaith Community Foundation

Cindy Aegerter serves as a Senior Gift Planner and has been a member of the Charitable Giving Services team at InFaith Community Foundation since 2004. In her role as Senior Gift Planner, Cindy consults with donors and their financial advisors to develop giving solutions that meet their charitable and financial goals. She also regularly presents charitable planning educational seminars to groups of financial advisors around the country, and consults with them regularly on individual cases. In addition, she works with churches and faith-based nonprofits that hold their endowments at InFaith, to educate their supporters and promote planned giving. Cindy is a graduate of the University of Oregon, School of Journalism, and worked in public relations prior to moving into the nonprofit sector. Cindy serves on the Board of Directors for Simpson Housing Services, whose mission is to house, support and advocate for people experiencing homelessness; and on the Philanthropy Committee for Ecumen, which operates a variety of senior housing options and services. Cindy is a member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, and has received certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive from CFRE International. She lives in Minneapolis and is active in her neighborhood association. |

Robert H. Chandler, JD, Founding Partner, Chandler and Brown, Ltd

Over his 40 years of practice, Bob has developed a simple estate planning philosophy: Begin with the End in Mind. “I focus on helping clients identify estate planning goals. Once we know their goals, it’s a matter of using estate planning tools to reach those goals.”

The strong relationships Bob develops with clients are deeply satisfying. “For a number of families, I have had the privilege and pleasure serving several generations. A strong bond develops with clients when plans you put together years ago are now working for children and grandchildren”

Bob speaks frequently on estate planning. In addition to being the founding partner of Chandler and Brown, Ltd., Bob works on governing boards for numerous charities.

Chris Cheney, Gift Planner, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners

Chris spent more than 10 years as an independent financial advisor helping his clients align their goals and finances with the right vehicles to accomplish their personal financial objectives. At Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, he has a similar role, but with one key difference — he helps donors find the right vehicles to realize their desire to give to others. Chris joined Minnesota Philanthropy partners in 2016 as a gift planner. He uses his expertise to help professional advisors and their clients find effective giving tools and make efficient decisions about how they want to make a difference in Minnesota communities. A native of Saint Paul, Chris has degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota. Away from work, he serves on the board of the Terrill Foundation, which provides scholarship assistance to high school seniors and military personnel affected by a brain injury. He enjoys playing “What else has that actor been in?” (a game routinely won by his wife while they watch movies together), cheering for their two boys on soccer fields and in the classroom, as well as playing in the Minnesota outdoors on lakes, soccer fields, and broomball rinks.

Mark Egge, Senior Manager of Prospect Development, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Mark Egge is the Senior Manager of Prospect Development at the Greater Twin Cities United Way, where he oversees the organization's prospect research shop, is building out a robust prospect management program, and is driving the organization toward a more data-centric approach to fundraising. Prior to this Mark was Director of Prospect Research at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where he ran a small, sophisticated prospect research program and led the College's prospecting, analytics, and prospect management efforts. He is a longtime volunteer, formerly serving as President of Apra-MN and sitting on various Apra-International committees and task forces. In 2015 he joined the Board of Directors of Apra International and in September 2017 he will take on the role of President-Elect of Apra.

Chris Fahey, Development Officer, Major Gifts, University of St. Thomas

Chris’s experience in philanthropy spans various development roles at Allina Health, Iowa State University Foundation, University of California and several public TV and radio stations. At St. Thomas, he has held positions in the areas of both planned giving and major gifts. He is a member of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council and currently serves as co-chair of MPGC’s Program Committee. Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Boston University and lives in Minneapolis with his family.

Jane F. Godfrey, J.D. Associate Vice President, Planned Giving & Estate Administration, University of Minnesota Foundation

Jane leads the planned giving team at the University of Minnesota Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2011 after a twenty-year career in private practice at the Minneapolis law firm now known as Stinson Leonard Street. At the law firm, Jane practiced in the areas of estate planning, charitable giving, and estate administration. In leading the planned giving group, she enjoys working with donors and their advisors to achieve the donors' philanthropic goals. Jane received her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and her undergraduate degree from Carleton College. Jane has taught classes on estate and gift planning at the University of Minnesota Law School and Hamline University School of Law. She regularly presents to donors about estate and gift strategies.

Sandra Henningsen, CGPA, Assistant Vice President, Crescendo Interactive

Sandra Henningsen oversees GiftLegacy Planned Giving eMarketing services. She mentors charities in establishing planned giving websites and marketing planned gifts using the branded website, eNewsletters, social media and royalty-free literature. She speaks and teaches seminars in the area of eMarketing and gift planning.   She has presented at AFP International, CASE International, AHP International, MPGC, ALDE, CLA and various Regional Conferences.   Sandra has been part of the Crescendo staff for over 24 years.  Her Bachelor of Science degree in Education is from South Dakota State University. Contact:  800-858-9154  |

Robert Hofmann, MA, CFRE, Senior Development Officer, School of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth

Robert Hofmann is a native of the Twin Cities. For the past ten years, Mr. Hofmann has worked at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) as Senior Development Officer with the UMD School of Fine Arts.  At UMD he has helped to raise more than $16M for student scholarships and programs. He is one of only 5,000 worldwide Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFRE), an internationally recognized credential within the fundraising profession. Before coming to UMD, Mr. Hofmann was involved in tall ships maritime education from 1997 through 2006 as executive director of the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation that operated the tall ship Continental Sloop Providence. Hofmann was pivotal in spearheading the Foundations development and delivery of exceptional shipboard education programs that were recognized as a model partnership with Providence, RI Public Schools by Cambridge, MA based Abt Associates in 2002. While executive director he successfully negotiated with the Walt Disney Co. to have his vessel and crew appear in two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Hofmann worked in Boston, Minneapolis and elsewhere as a professional actor appearing on stage and screen. He remains a proud member of Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. He appeared as a guest Equity artist in Duluth Playhouse production of Good People in January of 2014.  In the mid-90s, Mr. Hofmann worked with the City of Providence Rhode Island to promote film production and screenwriting throughout the state. He received two Mayoral Citations for his work. In 2006 he was appointed by Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri to serve on the Rhode Island Economic Monitoring Collaborative. He also served as a member of the RI Workforce Development/Education Council of the Greater Providence RI Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Rotary Club of Duluth Club #25 and the Knights of Columbus.  Mr. Hofmann is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a Masters of Arts degree, and Saint John's University of Collegeville, MN. He lives with his wife Kathleen and dog Teddy in Hermantown, MN.

Dana Holt, JD, RICP, AEP Charitable Planning Specialist, HOLT Consulting

Dana is the founder of HOLT Consulting where she guides charities, families, and financial advisors through complex charitable giving strategies.  She also trains development staff to better identify and facilitate major and planned gifts.  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. |

Susan Hommes, Director, Planned Giving, University of Minnesota Foundation

Susan joined the planned giving team at the University of Minnesota Foundation in 2007, and has been Director of Planned Giving since March 2015. She has over 25 years of development experience, having served in development positions with United Way, Catholic Charities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and Community Action Council (360 Communities). Susan earned her B.A. from the College of St. Benedict and her M.A. in public administration and management from Hamline University.

Susan is a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, serving as its chair in 2006. She currently serves on the board and is past president of the West Saint Paul/Mendota Heights Rotary Club, and is an active volunteer with St. Pascal Baylon church and school. She lives in St. Paul with her husband Joe and son Peter.

Jolene Hyppa Martin, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Minnesota Duluth

Jolene Hyppa Martin, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a speech and language pathologist and faculty member at the University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Dr Hyppa Martin earned her PhD in Speech-Language-Hearing Science from the University of Minnesota. Her areas of research interest include enhancing social participation for individuals with severe communication disorders, including individuals with dementia and those who communicate using augmentative and alternative communication.

Connie Kurth, Gift Planning Officer, Mayo Clinic

Connie Kurth has worked in the Department of Development at the Mayo Clinic for eleven years.  She initially served as an ambassador by coordinating and facilitating benefactor patient care experiences.  She then moved into a Development Associate role where she identified, qualified and solicited gifts through face-to-face, telephone and email interactions. Since 2015 she has served as a Gift Planning Officer with the charge of enabling benefactors to find the  planned gift that best fits their needs and Mayo's goal of excellence in healthcare, medical research and education.  Connie has been married to her husband Ken for 29 years and they have three grown children.

Mark Ladendorf, Senior Relationship Manager, TIAA Kaspick

Prior to joining TIAA Kaspick in 2008, Mark Ladendorf was President and CEO of The Lutheran Hour Ministries Foundation and Director of Advancement for Lutheran Hour Ministries in St. Louis, MO. He has over 20 years of experience in gift planning and fundraising management. He has served on the national board of the Association of Lutheran Development Executives and as co-chair of the 2007 International Educational Conference. Mr. Ladendorf received a BA in Economics and International Studies from American University, Washington, DC and an MA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

Marc Littlecott, Director of Gift Planning, The South Dakota State University Foundation

Marc Littlecott is the Director of Gift Planning at the South Dakota State University Foundation, in Brookings SD. He is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and a Certified Gift Planning Professional and has worked in the field of non-profit development for over two decades, working for the Boy Scouts of America, The Salvation Army, and since 2014, the SDSU Foundation. He has specialized in the discipline of planned giving since 1999. Prior to his nonprofit career, he was a commissioned Army officer after earning his B.A. at VMI in 1989.

Marc is presently on the 10-member board of the Charitable IRA Initiative, which is presently endeavoring to secure passage of the Legacy IRA Act, an expanded version of the Charitable IRA Rollover that would allow tax-free transfers to charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities.
This presentation is derived from an article Marc authored for Planned Giving Today magazine in December of 2016 with the same title (see appendix). Marc’s article was effectively a rebuttal to another article on a popular planned giving blog that asserted planned giving officers had no business “wasting their time with cold calls”. In reality, the kind of calls Marc advocates making are not exactly “cold”, because normally the people being called by the gift planner at one time did make an inquiry, but they might as well be as several years have passed since then.

Marc lives in Brookings, SD with his wife and two school-aged children. His hobbies include fishing and playing the sax every Christmas for The Salvation Army kettle.

Sheryl Morrison, JD, Principal, Gray Plant Mooty

For more than 25 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, creation and administration of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations, and guardianships and conservatorships. She helps clients accomplish their objectives for management, protection, and preservation of their wealth through strategies which minimize taxes and promote effective ongoing family management of assets. 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.

Jennifer Nelson, VP of Development, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

Jennifer 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 — seminar on planned giving, as well as completed course work in grant writing through Indiana University Center of Philanthropy Fund Raising School. Nelson was recently nominated and selected to serve on the Minnesota Planned Giving Council. Jennifer has extensive knowledge and experience in fundraising, stewardship and communications, as well as the ability to build strong partnerships — both internal and external. Working closely with staff, board and partners she has steadily increased program and endowment funds for the Foundation as well as supported the Affiliate Fund Program focused on the growth of financial resources for our communities.

Katie Nelson, Executive Director, Riverwood Foundation

Katie is responsible for the strategic direction and fund development through special projects, annual campaigns and planned giving. She also oversees Riverwood hospital’s auxiliary volunteers and their fundraising activities.  Katie has successfully coordinated multiple events, played a key role in the Better Together Capital Campaign, and been actively involved in successful donor development. In December 2013, she completed her master’s degree in Philanthropy and Development through St. Mary’s University

Scott Nelson, CFRE, CGPA Director Gift Planning Benedictine Health System

For 30 years Scott Nelson has worked with donors to help them make personally significant gifts of cash, appreciated assets, and create financial plans that achieve their charitable goals.  Scott has managed people, budgets, programs and events for many organizations including Gillette Specialty HealthCare, United Hospital, the Saint Paul Foundation, and Children's Hospital of St. Paul among others.  Currently Scott is Director Planned Giving for Benedictine Health Systems.  He is a Certified Fund Raising Professional, Certified Gift Planning Associate, former chair of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council and current co-chair of Leave a Legacy Minnesota.

Ruby Pediangco, JD, Advanced Strategies Counsel, Securian Financial Services, Inc.

Ruby A. Pediangco, JD is an advanced strategies counsel with Securian Financial Services, Inc. in St. Paul, MN. Working with Securian financial advisors nationwide, she answers gift, tax, estate, charitable and business succession planning questions related to the creation of client financial plans. Prior to Securian, Ruby spent 15 years in the nonprofit sector. First, as a gift planner with InFaith Community Foundation, then with the Minnesota Orchestra as the director of planned giving. Ruby earned her law degree from the University of Washington and her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Irvine.

Mary Ellis Peterson, FCEP, Vice President, Thompson & Associates

Mary Ellis has been active in estate planning and planned giving for many years as a senior paralegal at Dorsey & Whitney, as assistant planned giving director at the University of Minnesota Foundation, as planned giving officer and philanthropic services advisor at The Minneapolis Foundation, and currently with next Level Giving, Inc. and Thompson & Associates.

She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute (Wilder Foundation) and has earned a Mini-MBA in Nonprofit Management from St. Thomas University and is a FCEP (Fellow in Charitable Estate Planning).

Mary Ellis has a passion for social justice, history, and empowering women and children. She is an avid genealogist and has served on the boards of the Minnesota DAR and Colonial Dames in Minnesota. She has also been a director of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, Ann Bancroft Foundation, Lakselaget ("Women who swim against the stream"), the Larry Brown Education Foundation, the Greater Minneapolis Girl Scout Council, and several creative writing organizations. She also loves kayaking.

Lynn Praska, Planned Giving Staff, University of Minnesota Foundation

Lynn joined the planned giving team at the University of Minnesota Foundation in 2009. She came to the Foundation from Hamline University in Saint Paul where she had more than 17 years of planned giving and major gift development experience. Lynn is a member of the member of the Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) and the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC). She was a member of the MPCG board of directors from 2006 to 2011, serving as its chair in 2008. Lynn currently serves on the Conference Committee and the Communications Committee for MPGC.

Anne Rodenberg, Major and Planned Gift Officer, Second Harvest Heartland

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. Since joining Second Harvest Heartland in 2014, she has built the planned gift pipeline to $3 million in known commitments. Anne’s professional experience includes 20 years of leading communications strategies in support of development goals at nonprofits including the Catholic Community Foundation, WomenVenture and Dunwoody College of Technology. Anne has a Master’s in leadership from Augsburg University and a B.A. in journalism from UW-Eau Claire. She serves on the Boards of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council and Metro Meals on Wheels

Abraham Schwager, JD, Attorney, Chandler and Brown, Ltd.

Abraham T. Schwager is an attorney with Chandler and Brown, Ltd. where he focuses on estate planning and business planning.  He assists his clients with comprehensive estate planning, including wealth preservation, wealth transfer, charitable giving, and asset protection techniques.  He also works extensively with business owners on formation of business entities, business transition strategies, and sales of businesses.  Due to his strong agricultural background, he counts many farm families among his clients.  Mr. Schwager frequently presents on the topics of estate planning, business planning, and charitable giving.  He is licensed to practice in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Mr. Schwager earned his B.S., with distinction, from Iowa State University, and his J.D., cum laude, from William Mitchell College of Law.

Charles Semrow, Director of Major and Planned Gifts, Regions Hospital

Chuck serves as Director of Major and Planned Gifts at Regions Hospital Foundation, where he works closely with staff and volunteer leaders to communicate the Hospital’s goal to help make award-winning care accessible to all by funding the equipment, care, research and health education that keep our community strong. He has sixteen years of experience in higher education and medical philanthropy.

The most gratifying aspect of his job is helping donors make a difference with their money, time, and talents in a way that is most meaningful to them and their families. He contributes to the profession of fundraising by volunteering with the Minnesota Planned Giving Council and mentoring newcomers to the profession. He is a member of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and serves as vice president of the Minneapolis Ambassadors Lions Club. In 2010 he was named to the President's Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Minnesota.

Chuck graduated magna cum laude from the University of Connecticut and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Epsilon Chapter (1993). In October, he and his wife welcomed their first child to the family. They are active members at Redeemer Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake, Minn.

Cheryl Sturm, Director of Market Research,The Stelter Company

With over 30 years of global communications and marketing experience, Cheryl is responsible for the overall market positioning of the Stelter brand. With strong expertise in strategic planning, market research and results measurement, she is well suited to helping nonprofits develop and execute segmented programs designed to maximize results. Cheryl graduated from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with an emphasis on economics. Before joining The Stelter Company in 2013, Cheryl worked for 10 years in the biotech industry and with Young & Rubicam Advertising's Midwest office as Senior Vice President, Account Group Director.

Joseph K. Thiegs, J.D., Planned Giving Director, Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media

Joe is the Planned Giving Director at Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media in St. Paul. He additionally is the Planned Giving Advisor to Greater Public and a representative for Thompson & Associates. He served for several years on the Governing Council and the Legislation Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Probate & Trust Law Section, the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Crescendo Project, and for two years on the Development Committee for the Citizens League. Joe is a regular presenter for MPGC, including its ‘Brisk Walk Through the Basics’ planned giving training program. Joe has presented multiple times at the Minnesota Planned Giving Conference and at national Public Media Development and Marketing Conferences in Denver and San Francisco. He was the inaugural faculty for the first cohort sessions of Greater Public's Legacy Builders program in 2015, and started Greater Public’s Legacy Leaders cohort in 2017. Prior to MPR|APM, Joe worked as Associate Director of Advancement at the University of Minnesota Law School, as a Planned Giving Officer at the University of Minnesota Foundation, and as an estate planning attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Minneapolis. He also is co-founder of Stage of Life® ( Joe is an alumnus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School. He loves living in Minneapolis with his wife, Lisa, and three children.

Justin Ware, President and Co-Founder, Groundwork Digital

A thought-leader in the non-profit sector, Justin Ware is a fundraising and content marketing expert. Justin’s work spans non-profits, higher education, and media. In 2009, Justin was the executive producer on one of the first ever YouTube videos to win an Emmy. The “Science of Watchmen” video has been viewed nearly 2 million times and was also nominated for a Webby. Justin began his career in television before joining the University of Minnesota and then Bentz Whaley Flessner. After this, Justin worked at Ruffalo Noel Levitz leading digital fundraising strategy as well as product management for Annual Giving. Justin has spoken at numerous conferences, and led consulting engagements for universities and non-profits across the country. In his spare time, Justin can be found rooting for the Minnesota Vikings and Gophers, skiing, hiking with his dog, and enjoying family time with his wife and two children.

Fredrick Weber, JD, Senior Vice President, Estate Settlement Services Practice Leader, Northern Trust Company

Fred Weber leads the Estate Settlement Services Practice for Northern Trust Company's Central Region.  In this role, Fred manages the team that handles all aspects of complex, death- related administration of estates and trusts when the Northern Trust Company acts as a fiduciary for a client who has died. Prior to joining the Northern Trust Company, Fred worked at another corporate fiduciary, and before that, he was in private law practice as a trust and estate attorney.  He also worked as a planned giving officer for a large charity, and before law school, Fred worked in Washington, DC for the late U.S. Senator Paul D. Wellstone (D-MN).  Fred has presented to the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the Chicago Estate Planning Council and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  Fred is also an adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School where he teaches a course on death-related administration of estates and trusts.  In addition to his professional activities, Fred is a board member and past president of Shalva: A Response to Domestic Abuse in Jewish Homes. Fred received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.

Ben Webster, Planned Giving Officer, University of Minnesota Foundation

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.

Jennifer White, JD, Senior Planned Giving Officer, University of Minnesota Foundation

Jennifer has been a member of the University of Minnesota Foundation's Planned Giving team since 2011. She came to the Foundation from Washington, D.C. where she was a Senior Planned Giving officer at The Wilderness Society. Prior to her career in development, she worked as an attorney in private practice. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota, and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin. Jennifer is a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), currently serving on the Communications Committee of MPGC.

Michael Ziomko, FCEP, Vice President, Thompson & Associates

Mike joined Thompson & Associates in early 2016. Since 1987, Mike has worked in the field of philanthropy with a focus on planned giving – first as a consultant, a broker at E.F. Hutton actually, and then as an employee of nonprofits including St. John’s University, the University of Minnesota, Children’s Minnesota, and Fairview and Ebenezer. At the last two nonprifts, he has worked as a client of Thompson & Associates. Philanthropy has been a good fit for him, because it meant working with people about the things closest to them, the things they felt important. It has also given him the chance to exercise those parts of his life that don’t get out much – details, structures, agreements, numbers – as well as those that are most important to him – promises given and accepted, dreams, visions, and meaning. He hopes to expand his work in this area to the numerous university ceramics’ programs around the state and the statewide community gardening effort currently based in the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Mike grew up in Texas frequently visiting family on the East coast – making Yale an easy choice for his collegiate studies. He finally settled in Minnesota. He never married (at least not yet); his family is chosen, and they are a quirky and lovable lot.

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