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.

Betty Harris Custer

Betty Harris Custer boasts nearly 50 years of financial planning experience as a member of senior management for several national firms before founding her own firm in 1981.

Custer joined Lincoln Financial Advisors (LFA) in 1984 as one of its first female regional managers. She is a lifetime member of The Resource Group, composed of LFA’s top financial planners. Custer also holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor certifications.

Betty Harris Custer takes seriously the commitment to contribute to the community where she lives. She currently serves as:

  • Chair, Overture Center for the Arts Foundation Board
  • Chair, Lussier Community Education Center (LCEC) Development Council
  • Chazen Museum of Art’s Advisory Council
  • Capital Campaigns Ambassador, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW)
  • Capital Campaign Ambassador, the Literacy Network of Dane County
  • Capital Campaign Ambassador, Operation Fresh Start

Additionally, Betty Harris Custer has earned the following awards/honors for her tireless community work:

  • The National Philanthropy Day Volunteer of the Year Award1
  • The National Community Leadership Award2, Invest In Others Foundation
  • 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, In Business Magazine Women of Industry Awards3
  • 2015 Featured in Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS) book “Financial Services: Women at the Top”
  • 2012-2018 Circle of Excellence Award, Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS)
  • 2010 Woman of Distinction4, YWCA Madison, Wisconsin
  • 2010 Supporters of the Arts5 (Custer and J. Corkey Custer), Wisconsin Governor James Doyle
  • 2007 Professional Businesswoman of the Year6, Wisconsin Business Women’s Expo

1Nominees for the National Philanthropy Day Volunteer Fundraiser award must have demonstrated “exceptional skills in coordinating and motivating groups of volunteers for one or more major fundraising projects on behalf of a charitable institution while advancing philanthropy.”
2Financial advisors nominated for the Invest in Others Foundation’s Community Leadership Award are volunteers at a non-profit organization who have made outstanding contributions for at least five years and served “with distinction.”
3Nominees for In Business magazine’s 2016 “Women of Industry” awards must have imparted “a significant impact on their respective industries.”
4Nominees for the YWCA-Madison’s Woman of Distinction award will have made “outstanding achievements in their field of endeavor” and those achievements must “be supportive of YWCA ideals.”
5Nominees for the Wisconsin Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts must have carried out “extraordinary contributions” as “arts leaders and patrons to the vitality of the arts in their communities.”
6Nominees for the 2007 Professional Businesswoman of the Year award presented at that year’s Wisconsin Business Women’s Expo will describe the nature of their professional career and/or business ownership and indicators of their success; identify how they use professional and personal networks; describe how they are a leader in giving back to the community; provide examples of how they serve as a role model for women in the community; and identify the key components of their “balanced life.” See 5.

Jen Davie, CFRE

Jen has over 10 years of development and fundraising experience in the non-profit community. She is currently serving as the Development Director at Literacy Network where she is finalizing a $3 million comprehensive capital campaign and directs the development and marketing efforts for the organization. Jen has spent her career fundraising with non-profits in the Chicago suburbs and Madison community. She enjoys the challenges and celebrations of managing fundraising in a small shop.

Jen received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Management and Public Relations from University of Wisconsin-Platteville, holds the distinction of Certified Fund Raising Executive (2014), and most recently became an AFP Master Trainer (2018). Jen currently serves as President for Greater Madison Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vice-President for University of Wisconsin-Platteville College of BILSA Alumni Chapter, and member of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Boris Frank

Boris Frank is Director of Development for Family Service Madison. Boris has been a consultant for over 30 years, since l982 as President of his own firm, serving over 500 clients in the areas of fundraising and development, not-for-profit management and strategic planning.
He has served as counsel for over 150 capital campaigns, including more than 85 public libraries. Other clients have included such diverse organizations as the Waukesha Riverfront Development Project; Dane County Humane Society; the Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay botanical gardens; the Friends of Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo (Executive Director); UW Morgridge Center for Community Outreach; Alliant Center; and Madison Youth Choirs. From 1964 to 1982 he was on the faculty of The University of Wisconsin, serving as the Manager of Administration and Special Projects for WHA-TV. Prior to that he was a TV producer/director and station manager in New York and the Caribbean.

Boris conducts workshops and seminars, primarily sponsored by The University of Wisconsin, in the areas of Strategic Planning, Grantsmanship, Proposal Writing, Fundraising, Marketing, and Board and Volunteer Development. Over 35,000 have attended his courses throughout the country. He currently serves on the Boards of the Madison Police Department K-9 Project (Founding Board member); Bear’s Place Animal Hospice (Secretary); Leadership Wisconsin (Immediate Past President); Madison Civics Club (Co-Chair) and the Wisconsin Planned Giving Council (President.)


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’s high-energy inspirational keynotes and sessions mirror the values and passion she shares with those lifting up our world through their work with nonprofits. She’s a major-gift expert, life coach, author, singer and mom. She holds the CFRE, Professional Life Coach Certification, and Certified Speaking Professional (from NSA) credentials. Her approach is ALWAYS 2 dimensional – expand and change your mindset AND actions for optimal leadership, giving success and personal joy. And…you will SING! (really) She managed the University of Wisconsin Foundation advancement team for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences for 23 years through 3 campaigns, one $1.8 B.  She’s been awarded the CASE Crystal Apple and AFP Outstanding Fundraiser. Her book, Empowering Development Ambassadors, was translated into Spanish in 2018 by the AFP Foundation-Mexico and is dedicated to Don Gray and this conference. Thousands have experienced “Making an Artful Ask” training with great results.  Her keynotes, board engagement sessions, staff coaching and online programs  s  inspire and equip and volunteers and staff alike for sharing the power and joy of giving! Her firm, The Artful Asker, has helped scores of clients of all sizes and types create high-performing advancement teams and generate long-term sustainable giving by creating authentic donor relationships. Her twice monthly newsletter, The Artful Action, provides tips and inspiration. You can subscribe at www.marcyheim.com


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.

Susan and Hans Pigorsch

Pigorsch Media Design, Inc

Helping our clients create emotional connections with target audiences is what Pigorsch Media Design is all about. Our mission-driven approach has lead to many commercial successes for clients such as SONY, Mattel, and Kohler as well as partnerships in the non-profit and development sectors, where we especially enjoy uncovering the aspirational stories that make a lasting impact on viewers.

Encouraging others to care about our clients’ initiatives, ideas, and innovations – and then to take action – takes an integrated marketing approach across multiple media platforms. Together with our team of media designers and videographers, we develop campaigns that include brand identify, compelling video, web sites, social media, live events, and targeted marketing collateral. We have a specialty in higher education, but we also champion a wide range of non-profit organizations and foundations that are striving to make a difference in their communities, from WisCaregiver Careers, a statewide campaign to increase the number of caregivers throughout Wisconsin, to the Madison Community Foundation, Agrace HospiceCare, and Yahara Wins, a non-profit devoted to improving water quality.

We collaborate with non-profit directors and development officers, focusing on helping our clients define their strengths and advance their missions. At Pigorsch Media Design, we see the realities of time/money/staffing as enabling constraints that help us unleash new, creative approaches. Our portfolio of work includes donor recognition events and installations, broadcast and social media campaigns, and web development. Our campaigns often include memorable events designed to engage target audiences, generate donor momentum, and exponentially expand our clients’ spheres of support and impact.

We look forward to meeting you at our our session on “Marketing Your Non-Profit,” and at the one-on-one sessions.

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.