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Fundraising Leadership Academy

The Fundraising Leadership Academy is a six-month program designed to support individuals in vital fundraising roles at local nonprofit organizations. It is also a space to share best practices, struggles and successes with peers. At the end of the program, participants have a personalized, actionable development toolkit using data and materials from their organization. They also receive additional self-care resources.

At The Fundraising Leadership Academy, we offer accessible and affordable fundraising training. We know that when fundraisers are successful, nonprofits thrive and our community is stronger.

This program is designed for a class of 20 fundraising professionals as part of The Columbus Foundation’s Nonprofit Forum. The consortium of funding companies includes:

  • Alliance Data

  • The American Electric Power Foundation

  • The Cardinal Health Foundation

  • The Columbus Foundation

  • Grange Insurance

  • Huntington

  • LBrands Foundation

  • Nationwide

  • PNC

  • Worthington Industries

Self-care components are generously provided by Debbie Penzone’s team at LIT Life + Yoga. This collaborative group cares about your mission, work and impact on the community. Our vision is for this program to be a gift to the fundraisers in our community and the many nonprofits they serve.

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How Can I Participate?

Participating nonprofits are selected by the Fundraising Leadership Academy’s Advisory Council, consisting of representatives from funding organizations. If you would like to be considered for nomination, please contact Adrienne Selsor and your interest will be shared with the Advisory Council.


“It’s very important to me, personally, that those who funded this opportunity understand the significance of the gift they’ve given – not just to [our organization], but to our community as a whole. It's so much more than can be explained on a one-pager marketing sheet. It's about those relationships, the network, the knowledge of how to raise funds, the plan that pulls all the overwhelming moving parts together, the inside and real stories of the panelists and the sense of community and confidence that is built from ALL of these things coming together. You can't get these from a binder or an online course. This has a much deeper and more sustainable positive impact. I will always be an advocate for FLA because I see endless value in the places where nonprofits need it the most. This course is a game changer for [our organization] in so many ways… so very grateful for the opportunity!”

“This was the best Professional Development I've ever attended.”

“Adrienne's leadership stands out as my favorite part of the program. The knowledge she shared was just the right amount, at a level that everyone (seasoned or unseasoned fundraising professionals) could learn from. She was so accessible and helpful anytime questions arose at sessions or even via email in between sessions. Adrienne's encouraging approach improved my confidence and empowered me to begin making small changes, rather than feel overwhelmed about all that I still needed to learn.”

“Thanks for a wonderful experience! I'll be sad for it to end.”

“Thank you so much for this amazing class... it is such a powerful, necessary and transformative investment in our community. I am so very grateful; thank you! When a community invests in your organization and your mission in such a thoughtful and significant way, you feel such a renewed sense of hope and energy to double-down and work harder to achieve your mission.”

“The FLA has been one of the most significant experiences of my 30-year career.”

“Thank you for bringing in such top-notch talent; you never just "check the box" on anything you provide to our group, it's always the best of the best, which makes such an important difference in accelerating our ability to grow and become much better fundraisers. It also communicates how much you personally care about the investment and growth of each of our organizations. Thank you so much for truly caring about our success, it adds so much meaning and motivation to our work when we can sense others’ desire to see our success. THANK YOU!”

“It provided valuable and practical information and resources. The relationships that were built were great and just being around and learning from Adrienne was fantastic! Her genuine care, honesty from her experiences and her knowledge base were amazing!”

“This was very comprehensive and fostered a sharing environment that felt comfortable where you wouldn't be judged for sharing honestly and openly.”

“Thank you for all the work, energy and heart you put into this group. It was a great first class and encourage more and more to get involved in something like this. Well done Adrienne. You are a very helpful resource in our community! Thank you!”

“I thought Adrienne was a fabulous presenter, made herself available to us and really listened to our input. She truly modeled the behavior she was trying to depict of a fundraiser as well.”

“Many, many thanks to you, Adrienne, for running such a wonderful program! We are all better people and better fundraisers because of it!”

“I really enjoyed the program and getting to know the other development professionals who participated. Adrienne is a great presenter and is genuinely interested in everyone being successful.”

“It's an amazing course. I would like to take it again!”


2018 Fundraising Leadership Academy Participants 

1.    A Kid Again - Lena Crider

2.    The Childhood League Center - Andrea Grzybowski

3.    Columbus Children's Theatre - Kati Serbu

4.    Communities in Schools of Central Ohio - Travis Dunlap and Amy Gordon

5.    CompDrug - Stephanie Christie

6.    Concord Counseling Services - Vickey Shedlock

7.    Directions for Youth and Families - Mary Margaritis

8.    Furniture Bank - Mary Kay Snyder

9.    Girls on the Run of Central Ohio - Jess Sparks

10. Gladden Community House - Valerie Davis

11. Godman Guild Association - Zachary Matthews

12. Homeport - Laverne Price

13. Junior Achievement of Central Ohio - Beth Tyburski

14. Make-A-Wish - Kate Brunner Quinn

15. Maryhaven - Nanon Morrison and Carrie Burson

16. Ohio Hispanic Coalition - Josue Vicente

17. Resurrecting Lives Foundation - Chrisanne Gordon

18. See Kids Dream - Laura Grindle

19. Seeds of Caring - Brandy Jemczura

20. St. Stephen’s Community House - Natalie Atkins

21. United Schools Network - Diana Wakim

2019 Fundraising Leadership Academy Participants

1.    Action for Children - Jessica Brown

2.    Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus - Julie Kirk

3.    Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center - Katie Palmer 

4.    Central Community House - Marci Ryan

5.    City Year Columbus - Ruth-Marie Lomax

6.    Columbus Children’s Theatre - John Faas

7.    Columbus Early Learning Centers - Amy Deverson Roberts

8.    Columbus Urban League - Dominique Shank

9.    Community Development for All People - Mike Premo

10. Dress for Success Columbus - Stephanie Campolo Merkle

11. ETSS - Keri Allen-Hogan

12. Family Mentor Foundation - Meegan Jesuele and Kari Vernon

13. Grange Insurance Audubon Center - Kristina Rawson

14. Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center - Sarah Gray

15. Huckleberry House, Inc. - Victoria Alesi and Sonya Thesing

16. Ohio Energy Project - Shauni Nix

17. Ohio Guidestone, Central Ohio - Tiffany Nobles

18. Per Scholas - Toni Cunningham and Sarah Hoenle

19. Short North Alliance - Becca Goodburn

20. SON Ministries - Kim Emch