2019 Forum on Strategic Fundraising: Building Generosity

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I'm a Fundraiser... Don't Hate Me!

Speakers: Sarah Szabo, CFRE, Pacific Science Center; Karlisa Callwood, Ph.D., Pacific Science Center; Alexandra Weeks, Solid Ground; Jessica Lam, Solid Ground; B. Michelle Johnson, CFRE, Legal Voice; and Courtney Chappell, Legal Voice

Track: Career Advancement

Time: Thursday, June 6 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Presentation Description:

Fundraisers know how to build strong relationships with donors. However, it can be a struggle to develop similarly fruitful relationships with their program counterparts.

In an effort to break down these barriers, this session will bring together a relationship manager and program officer from three nonprofits across three sectors—Arts and Culture, Social Service, and Advocacy—to discuss how their relationship has developed, existing barriers in each sector, and why building relationships are advantageous and worth the investment. Each team will specifically address how this relationship building is affected by organizational hierarchy and power dynamics, physical separation, and pay inequity and racial disparity between programs and fundraising teams.

Key Take-Aways: Understand how strong program relationships can lead to higher job satisfaction. Recognize power dynamics and work with programming to mitigate them. Toolkit for successfully building relationships over time.

Shop Size: Suitable for any size shop

Expertise Level: Suitable for all levels

About the Speakers


Sarah Szabo, CFRE is the Donor Relations Officer at Pacific Science Center. She moved to Seattle to begin her fundraising career six years ago and is passionate about the ability of informal education environments to serve diverse communities struggling to succeed in formal educational systems. Sarah holds a MA in Museum Studies from New York University and is a board member of Bushwick Bookclub Seattle. She is also an avid scuba diver and power traveler.


Karlisa Callwood is the Vice President of Science Engagement and Outreach at Pacific Science Center. She has over a decade of experience developing and managing science education programming and holds a Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science and Policy from the University of Miami. Her interests include establishing practices to enhance science education—while providing access to all—and discovering interesting strategies to better bridge the gaps that exist between scientists, policymakers, and the public through informal science learning and interdisciplinary approaches.


Alexandra Weeks is the Grants Manager for Solid Ground’s Resource Development Department, responsible for generating grant funding from private and public revenue streams and managing the grants team. Alex has cultivated her fundraising experience in both local, direct human service as well as within international development sectors. She is passionate about centering the voices of the diverse community who access the comprehensive services Solid Ground offers and is interested in developing strategies to better align real-time community needs with high-level giving strategies of private and public funders. Alex holds a BA in Sociocultural Anthropology from Colorado College. She is an obsessive plant collector, amateur gardener, and chef.


Jessica Lam is the Administrative Supervisor for Solid Ground Broadview, an emergency shelter and transitional housing program for domestic violence survivors with children. She has served homeless and low-income communities for over seven years, currently managing program contract compliance and reporting to bridge the gap between the funder driven outcomes that sustain programs and the reality of providing effective survivor empowered services. Jessica holds a BA in English and Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the University of Hawaii and is steadily gaining experience points in tabletop gaming.


B. Michelle Johnson, CFRE is the Director of Development for Legal Voice, a progressive feminist organization using the power of the law to make change in the Northwest. Prior to this, she worked in fundraising and communications at two different Planned Parenthood affiliates. She is an instructor for the University of Washington Certificate in Nonprofit Management program. Her volunteer experiences include serving in the Peace Corps in Cote d’Ivoire, chairing the Community Advisory Board for HIV/AIDS Trail Unit, and a volunteer for OUTRIGHT International.  She sits on the Advancement Northwest Board and co-chairs the Forum for Strategic Fundraising.


Courtney Chappell is currently the Advocacy Director at Legal Voice where she helps to manage the organization’s strategic initiatives to advance the legal rights of women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals across the Pacific Northwest. She has served in a variety of leadership roles including Senior Director of State Capacity Building at State Voices and Executive Director of the Center for Asian Pacific American Women. During the Obama Administration, Courtney served as Deputy Director at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Courtney graduated magna cum laude from the American University Washington College of Law and has served on the boards of the Third Wave Foundation, the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project, and the DC Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters.


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Interpreter services are available upon request during registration.