Don Gray – Conference Director

Don is retired vice president of principal gifts at the UW Foundation, where he worked with top-level givers and was a member of the team overseeing the $1.8 billion Create the Future campaign for the University of Wisconsin. Prior to this position he was responsible for supervising the development programs for most of the professionally-oriented schools and colleges.

For nearly 25 years, Don has shared his philosophy of development throughout the country at various national and regional conferences of AFP (fundraising professionals), CASE (education), AHP (health care), and specific, targeted audiences, including major universities in 32 states. In 1997 he was awarded the national Major Gift Laureate Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Institute for Charitable Giving. In 1999 he was presented the Crystal Apple Award from the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for receiving the highest faculty ratings at ten consecutive national conferences, and he was the 2006 recipient of the Outstanding Fundraising Professional award from the Madison Area chapter of the AFP.

Don is a native of Ohio and has degrees in mathematics and chemistry. At various times in his life he has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa (Malawi and Lesotho), a research chemist, an associate professor of chemistry, and dean of the two-year University of Wisconsin College.


Johanna Allex

Johanna J. Allex is a partner in the Madison office of Stafford Rosenbaum where she helps families and individuals to plan for and manage life’s expected and unexpected transitions. Johanna’s law practice covers all aspects of estate planning and estate administration, marital property law, business succession planning, and tax-exempt organization planning and operations. Johanna is a Certified Public Accountant.
Johanna’s practice also includes working as an impartial mediator to help families and individuals resolve disputes involving probate, trust administration and adult guardianships. Johanna’s goal is to try to help people to identify priorities, resolve conflicts and make decisions together about how to move forward without the need to resort to litigation that can be costly to both relationships and finances.
Johanna regularly lectures on topics, such as estate planning, alternative dispute resolution, and operational issues of importance to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations. She also co-taught a practical seminar in Estate Planning and Estate Administration as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School.


Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson founded Accent Learning and Consulting, LLC in 2004 because it allowed her to share her passion for speaking and teaching practical workplace skills that help individuals and businesses succeed.

Since then, Sarah and her team have helped companies understand the impact of workplace communication through a large variety of professional development and leadership classes. Sarah wrote The Zoom Guide to the Generations to help people learn more about the impact of generational pieces in the workplace.

She has worked with more than 100 organizations across a variety of industries throughout North America.Beyond her corporate experiences, Sarah has also taught for the University of Wisconsin-Madison evening MBA program and as an adjunct instructor at Madison College, UW-Whitewater and North Dakota State University. Sarah holds a Master’s degree from North Dakota State University.


Steve Goldberg

Steve recently retired from his position as Executive Director of the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation after nearly 50 years with the CUNA Mutual organization. A lifelong Madisonian, Steve is a 1972 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where he was also an Evans Scholar.

His community service has included terms on the boards of United Way of Dane County, Family Service, the Dane County Community Action Commission, Dane County Social Planning Agency, Summit Credit Union and the Madison Repertory Theatre. He has also served on the boards of the CUNA Brokerage Service and the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange.

Steve currently chairs the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce/United Way Capital Funds Campaign Committee, which reviews capital campaigns proposed by local nonprofit organizations. He’s a past member of United Way’s “Growing Up & Getting Ready” Community Solutions Team and currently serves on United Way’s Vision Council and on its Born Learning Delegation.

He is also active in the Rotary Club of Madison and is founder and past-president of the Madison Consumer Credit Counseling Service. He is a 2003 graduate of the Leadership Greater Madison program and serves on the board of the Wisconsin Philanthropy Network.

The State Department of Public Instruction named the CUNA Mutual Foundation as a “Friend of Education” in 2007 for its strong support of early childhood education and other youth initiatives. In 2008, the Foundation received the “Friend of Kids” award from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County.

In 2004, the Urban League of Greater Madison gave Steve its President’s Award as its outstanding corporate partner. He was recognized by Madison Magazine as one of Madison’s “People of the Year” in 2011 and honored again by the magazine in 2016 as a recipient of its “Best of Madison Business” award for being an agent of change.


Marcy Heim

Marcy Heim, CFRE PLCC international speaker and author, served as Senior Director of Development with the UW Foundation for 23 years before founding her consulting firm, The Artful Asker, in 2006. Her first book, “Empowering Your Board to Serve an Effective Development Ambassadors” is dedicated to Don Gray and grew out of their work together at the Foundation and this conference. It is fast becoming a core text for staff and Board members in the US, Canada and beyond. At the UW Foundation, she led her unit through three successful comprehensive campaigns including the $1.8 billion Create the Future Campaign and served as liaison for the Pacific Northwest Region for 10 years.

Marcy was presented the CASE Crystal Apple Award (2005), the AFP Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award (1997), is a Certified Fundraising Executive Instructor(2012), an AFP Faculty Teaching Academy Master Teacher (2010) and an Adjunct Faculty Member. She regularly keynotes at local, regional and international AFP, AHP and CASE Conferences, holds a UW-Madison Natural Sciences degree and is a graduate of Leadership Greater Madison. She coaches Staff, Deans, Executive Directors, Faith-Based leaders and Volunteers through creating and managing long-term transformational major-gift donor relationships. She takes on a few select long-term clients for capacity building and campaign work.



Michael Johnson

Michael is the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Prior to moving to Madison, Michael spent 15 years in executive level positions in several cities leading large, complex government and nonprofit agencies. In 2012, he was named by Boys & Girls Clubs of American as their Midwest Executive of the Year. He also holds Certifications in Fund Raising Management from the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University and Certifications in Human Resource Management from Cornell University.


Tom Linfield

Tom is Vice President of Grantmaking and Community Initiatives at the Madison Community Foundation in Madison, WI. In this capacity he helps administer over $1.5 million in annual grantmaking. Linfield was previously the Training and Grants Director for the National Center for Outreach (NCO), working with public television stations around the country. Prior to becoming a program officer, Linfield spent many years as a grantwriter, first at the Massachusetts College of Art, and then as Grants Manager at Wisconsin Public Television and Director of Foundation and Government Relations at Edgewood College. He has spent his career planning projects and raising funds in the public television, education and arts arenas, raising over $15 million from local, national and federal sources.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Linfield is a practicing fine artist, exhibiting regularly in the Madison area. Born in Europe, he is fluent in French and German. A film and arts enthusiast, he strongly feels that everyone should read Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page by Matt Kish.

Michael Maguire

From his early career work for over two decades in nonprofit management and fundraising, Michael brings his experience to the college classroom, teaching with the UW-Madison School of Human Ecology’s (SoHE) Community and Nonprofit Leadership undergraduate program since 2004. A SoHE Faculty Associate and UW Teaching Fellow, Michael is also a member of the school’s Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies – “The CommNS” – co-sponsor of our conference.

Michael enjoys the opportunity to teach and mentor tomorrow’s nonprofit leaders. With active learning activities and engaging courses, the Community and Nonprofit Leadership (CNPL) program affords students many opportunities to explore the theories and concepts behind community leadership, philanthropy, and the positive impact that the nonprofit sector can have on societal well-being. That knowledge gets translated – and challenged! – when students engage in numerous hands-on service learning endeavors and nonprofit internships, venturing into community-based service via local, regional and/or international nonprofit agencies.

CNPL alumni are nonprofit leaders with community-based agencies, national and international nonprofits, the Peace Corps and other service organizations, NGO’s, government-based agencies, and/or they continue their study in graduate schools for public service, human ecology, law and other related fields.

Courtney Polster

Courtney has nearly 10 years of development and fundraising experience in the Madison non-profit community. She is a Development Manager at Agrace where she is leading the $15 million Care for All Endowment campaign along with planned giving and direct response marketing programs. Prior to her employment with Agrace, Courtney worked for Mobility Training and Independent Living as a Fundraising Coordinator and Job Coach for adults with developmental disabilities.

Courtney received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy from St. Norbert College in 2004 and went on to receive her doctorate degree in Philosophy from Saint Louis University in 2008. Her areas of specialization are ethics, human nature and moral psychology. Courtney also carries her Certified Fundraising Executive credential (CFRE).

Courtney is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Madison Chapter, member of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and Wisconsin Association of Charitable Gift Planners. Courtney lives in Waunakee with her husband, Ryan, daughter, Natalie (5) and son, Nolan (3). She enjoys spending time with family, boating and gardening.

Buck Rhyme

Buck Rhyme is the president of RR Consulting Group (RRCG). His experience as a CEO and work with national clientele has led to a diverse skill set. Buck’s expertise includes designing systematic approaches to develop future leaders, executive coaching for new managers and emerging leaders, strategic planning focused on measurable results, strength based organizational assessment, and mapping of company cultures. A partial list of the RRCG client base includes the International Crane Foundation, State Bar of Wisconsin, Credit Union Executive Society, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, NimbleGen, Nebraska State Bar, the State of Wisconsin, and Verona Area School District.

A skilled facilitator, Buck is frequently engaged to lead initiatives involving organizational change. He specializes in using data and engaging stakeholders to spur innovation when working on complex projects. Buck has led efforts to create new innovative business structures for public and private sector clients in both Wisconsin and Oregon.

Prior to becoming a consultant and business entrepreneur, Buck was the CEO at CAP Inc., an innovative, results focused non-profit. During his 17-year tenure, he pioneered strategic planning, employee engagement, and technology enhancements as key drivers to grow agency revenues by over 1200%. His unique approach led to recognition by Corporate Report Wisconsin as a Star Stream Leader.

Buck holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an adjunct faculty member at UW Graduate School of Business Executive Education, Buck provided leadership coaching for nine years. He has also served as an Examiner for the Wisconsin Forward Award and volunteered on numerous non-profit boards.


Chris Richards

Chris is Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at UW-Stevens Point. Prior to assuming that post, he was Vice President at the UW Foundation where he had a varied 23 year tenure, working in principal gifts, supervising the Foundation’s research, annual giving and corporate/foundation relations units, and was manager of the university’s successful $1.86 billion Create the Future Campaign. Chris was director of development for the UW Law School for ten years, managing a capital campaign to expand and renovate the School’s building. Before joining the UW Foundation, Chris secured corporate underwriting support for Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison. During his tenure, WPR won a national award for its underwriting program. Chris is an alumnus of UW-Stevens Point and worked as a radio news reporter and anchor prior to entering the development profession.

He been involved in a number of local fundraising activities, including service on the Board of Trustees of the Bethel Lutheran Church Endowment Foundation, and he has consulted for the Illinois Bar Association, Wyoming (Ohio) High School Foundation, St. Benedict’s Center, and Portland State University. Chris is a graduate of the Leadership Greater Madison program.



Marcia Whittington

Marcia has more than 20 years of development, fundraising and leadership experience within the Greater Madison non-profit community. She is currently the Chief Development Officer at Agrace Hospice. While at Agrace, Ms. Whittington has been responsible for raising more than $40 million, including two capital campaigns and nearly $4 million in annual giving. Prior to this role Marcia served as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement for Edgewood College. In her role she was responsible for overseeing College fundraising, alumni relations and community outreach. She has also served as CEO of Gilda’s Club, and has worked with both the Meriter Hospital Foundation and the UW Foundation.

Marcia resides in Waunakee. She is active in her church and her children’s school. She currently serves as President for TEMPO Madison Board of Directors, is an active member of Madison Downtown Rotary, Associated Fundraising Professionals, Meeting Professionals International, The Wisconsin Cancer Council and is a past board member of Goodman Community Center and the Madison Area Continuing Care Consortium, Inc.