Legacy Society
Giving USA Foundation

The Legacy Society endowment fund was established to support the work of Giving USA Foundation. The mission of the fund is to have a perpetual endowment to fund the ongoing mission of Giving USA Foundation and its annual publication, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, the longest running, most comprehensive report on philanthropy in the United States.

Donors who contribute an unrestricted gift of $25,000 or more, either through a current gift or through a planned gift, will be eligible for membership in the Legacy Society. View the Legacy Society policies.

To make a contribution, please contact the Giving USA Foundation at [email protected] or complete/submit the Commitment Form.

Thank you to our current Legacy Society members for your generous contributions:

Jon Biedermann
Vice President Fundraising Products, DonorPerfect

Jon has served the nonprofit community since the late 1990s. In 2001, he was responsible for the launch of DonorPerfect Online, part of the SofterWare family, which pioneered web-hosted fundraising solutions for nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining SofterWare, Jon spent over four years with Procter & Gamble, serving as a lead developer in their Sales Management Systems Division. He has presented numerous seminars on the use of fundraising technology for nonprofit organizations, and is recognized as an expert on web-based fundraising strategies.

Jon graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH, with a degree in Systems Analysis specializing in Finance. Jon also puts his fundraising experience to good use to help Warrington Youth Baseball, where he also coaches.

Maree G. Bullock
Vice President, Alford Group

Maree G. Bullock joined Alford Group in 1989, lending expertise in strategic planning, organizational development, coaching and governance, interim staffing and fundraising to numerous charitable organizations across sectors.

Maree has dedicated her career to the nonprofit philanthropic sector. She previously served as Executive Director of the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation for 29 years. There, Maree managed the distribution of $275 million in charitable grants to nonprofit organizations worldwide. She also initiated and contributed to the authorship of The Successful Volunteer Organization: Getting Started and Getting Results, with 40,000+ copies sold.

In addition to her previous leadership position, Maree served as Chief Operating Officer of one of Mr. Stone’s for-profit companies. Maree has served on various nonprofit boards, volunteered widely and mentored Chicago youth.

Jeffrey D. Byrne
Co-Founder & CEO, Byrne Pelofsky + Associates, LLC

Jeffrey is the Co-Founder + CEO of Byrne Pelofsky + Associates, LLC. and has helped more than 350 organizations raise more than $1,500,000,000.  Jeffrey’s fundraising experience spans nearly three decades, with expertise in spearheading major gift, capital and endowment campaigns for luminaries like the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library, Liberty Memorial National World War I Museum, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Kansas City Ballet Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, scores of YMCAs, numerous chapters of The Nature Conservancy, environmental, animal rights and health and human services organizations and his beloved alma mater, The University of Missouri.

Recognized for his distinctive client-focused philosophy to fundraising, Jeffrey is a frequent guest speaker at workshops and conferences across the United States.  He has been quoted in numerous publications including the New York Times, The New York PostThe Chronicle of Philanthropy and Kansas City Star, and has been interviewed on many public radio and television stations. Jeffrey had the honor of Chairing The Giving Institute Board of Directors (2015-2017).

Jeffrey’s decades of experience in the nonprofit sector continues to improve lives through philanthropy and build clients’ capacity by connecting stakeholders to missions. His intensive work with numerous organizations, with thousands of volunteers and on scores of client projects has provided him invaluable experience in the field of fundraising.

Jeffrey brings a distinctive, client-focused philosophy to fundraising, financial development and capital campaign planning and management. A fourth-generation farmer, Jeffrey’s client relationships reflect his Midwestern upbringing, work ethic and strong commitment to advance philanthropy. Jeffrey graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.A. in Political Science and proudly parents a Border Collie (Kensie) and Miniature Australian Shepherd (Holly).

L. Gregg Carlson
President, Carlson Fund Raising, LLC

Gregg Carlson, with over 25 years of development counsel experience, is the president of Carlson Fund Raising, LLC, which provides integrated fundraising solutions.

Carlson began his career in 1985 with the major gift counsel firm CCS Fund Raising. Upon his departure from CCS, Carlson joined IDC – the firm which revolutionized donor acquisition through the PHONE/MAIL® Telecommunications Program – becoming IDC’s President in 1998. Working with a great team and a forward-thinking group of clients, Carlson and his partners established IDC as the premier provider of donor acquisition services. In 2010, Carlson and his brother successfully sold their firm to Harris Connect, LLC, adding Internet and mobile solutions – providing a comprehensive suite of fundraising acquisition services.

Having partnered with over 150 nonprofit organizations and personally designed over 200 individual campaigns, Carlson’s focus is the art and science of systematically generating a “pipeline” of major and planned giving prospects.

Carlson is a past chair of Giving USA Foundation. With the view that technology must be driven by the essential principles of fundraising, Carlson often is invited to discuss the cutting-edge issues facing the field today.

W. Keith Curtis
Immediate Past Chair, Giving USA Foundation
Founder, President, The Curtis Group

Keith Curtis has more than 30 years of experience working on behalf of philanthropic organizations. Over that time, Keith has become recognized as an expert in all aspects of fundraising and nonprofit management. He is also a sought-after advisor and speaker, making up to 40 presentations a year to a variety of national and state conferences.

As president of The Curtis Group, founded 27 years ago, Keith and his team have developed strategies to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients. But equally important, his guidance has helped those nonprofits raise awareness, raise their standards of operation and raise their expectations of what they can accomplish. Clients include the large and visible, such as one of the largest YMCAs in the country, a multi-billion-dollar healthcare system and arts, cultural and educational organizations, as well as smaller nonprofits such as free clinics, animal shelters and hospices.

Keith is actively involved in Giving USA Foundation, where he served as chair. He is past chair of its Advisory Council on Methodology. He is also a board member of The Giving Institute. In recognition of his work in philanthropy, Keith was honored with the 2012 Alumni Service Award from Old Dominion University.

John Glier
Chief Executive Officer, GG+A

John Glier is the Chief Executive Officer of GG+A, a global consulting firm in philanthropic management headquartered in Chicago and London. Mr. Glier joined GG+A in 1981, and has served as its Chief Executive for more than 25 years.

Mr. Glier is recognized internationally for providing strategic direction and philanthropic counsel to many leading universities, academic healthcare institutions, cultural and human service organizations, and as an advisor to some of the largest fundraising campaigns in higher education. He has worked with the staff of well over 200 nonprofits and with a wide range of voluntary leaders, noted philanthropists, and Board leaders of distinguished institutions in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Mr. Glier serves as a member of the Providence College Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the Family Institute of Northwestern University, and as a Life Member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Division of the Humanities. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New Trier Township High School Educational Foundation and was a founding director of the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation. He has also served as the Director and Chair of the Giving Institute (formerly AAFRC) and as a member of EUConsult and the CASE Industry Advisory Council.

Mr. Glier attended Providence College (Rhode Island), the Université de Fribourg (Switzerland), and the University of Chicago, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. He holds degrees in English and Comparative Literature.

GG+A has served more than 2,000 institutions and organizations since 1961, providing counsel to 19 of the top 20 globally ranked universities, 60 of the 62 members of the AAU, the top 25 AAMC institutions, and public universities in 46 states, as well as arts, voluntary, and other nonprofit organizations around the world. The firm currently advises institutions with aggregate campaign goals of more than $60 billion.

Thomas W. Mesaros, CFRE
Senior Counsel, Alford Group

Thomas W. Mesaros currently serves as Senior Counsel of The Alford Group. Tom was appointed President & CEO in 2003 and served in that role for 11 years, stepping down in February 2014. His history as a staff member of The Alford Group goes back to 1995 when he opened the West Division office.

Tom has been a part of the not-for-profit sector since 1975 when he joined the staff of the Chief Seattle Council, Boy Scouts of America. After serving with the Boy Scouts in a variety of roles for more than seven years, he was recruited to become the President & CEO of Seattle-based Providence Foundation at Providence Medical Center. While there he grew annual fund raising from $100,000 to $2 million, and created a strong foundation board of committed and vibrant community leaders.

In 1992 he was invited to serve as the vice president for fund development for the Sisters of Providence Health System in Springfield, MA, where he launched efforts to grow the donor base and increase volunteer involvement in fundraising. During that time he engaged The Alford Group to provide guidance.

As senior counsel, Tom focuses his energy on serving a wide range of clients across the country–from smaller social service agencies to large universities.

Tom has been a member of the faculty at the University of Washington Extension Program teaching in the certificate course on fundraising. He is a past chair of The Giving Institute, a board member of Giving USA Foundation, and a board member of the Education Fund at North Seattle Community College.

George C. Ruotolo, Jr., CFRE
Chair & CEO, Ruotolo Associates

Mr. Ruotolo has been a professional fundraising and public relations executive since 1973. Prior to establishing Ruotolo Associates, he served as vice president of a major public relations fundraising firm and worked in investment banking. His expertise encompasses annual development, capital campaigns, planned giving, marketing and public relations programs for dioceses, churches, colleges, schools, hospitals, and social service organizations on local, regional, and national levels. He has worked closely with religious, corporate and civic leadership, administrators, board members, volunteers, and development officers in guiding them through successful fundraising programs.

George Ruotolo is currently serving as Immediate Past Chair of the Ramapo College of New Jersey Board of Trustees. Also, he was a founding member of the Ridgewood Educational Foundation, Ridgewood, NJ. In addition, he worked with the President of Niagara University on a major capital campaign which provided campaign and development counsel for SUNY New Paltz Foundation. He has been a guest lecturer at Baruch College, Columbia University, and Boston University.

Mr. Ruotolo has often been designated as a media spokesperson on key philanthropic issues impacting our society. He has appeared on CNBC Money Talk to discuss the state of philanthropy and to answer questions from call-in viewers. He was also a panelist on Phil Donahue’s show on MSNBC to speak about the effects of the Catholic Church scandal on religious philanthropy. In 2008 he was interviewed by NPR (National Public Radio), CNBC, CNN and Worth Magazine on issues relevant to the economic downturn and its impact on philanthropy.

Mr. Ruotolo has addressed audiences on such timely issues as leadership, fundraising, development, marketing and public relations. His presentations include those made to the International Conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC), the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), and the Fund Raising Fundamentals Course held at Seton Hall University.

Mr. Ruotolo has served as Chair of The Giving Institute and is also a member of the board of the Giving USA Foundation (of which he is a former Chair). In addition, he is a former board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Mr. Ruotolo is also the former Vice-Chair of the Non-Profit Advisory Council of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). He served for four years on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross, Bergen-Hudson Chapter, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Mr. Ruotolo is a member of the New Jersey Chapter of the AFP, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. He was awarded the 2005 Robert J. Smythe Outstanding Professional Fundraiser Award by the New Jersey Chapter of the AFP.

Mr. Ruotolo graduated from Niagara University. His undergraduate degree is in political science and communications with advance training through professional institutes. He resides in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, with his wife, Joanne, who is a nurse practitioner. They have three grown children.

Deb Taft
Chief Executive Officer, Lindauer

Deb Taft leads Lindauer with over 25 years of executive and senior-level experience across the nonprofit sector, from education to healthcare/academic medicine to the youth service and voluntary sectors. Her considerable expertise includes governance, strategic planning, fundraising, program and staff management, strategic marketing, analytics, and constituent engagement, as well as talent recruitment, retention, and development.

Taft was previously Senior Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Grenzebach Glier and Associates (GG+A). She was also Interim Chief Financial Officer, Practice Area Leader for Analytics, and drove consultant recruitment, training, and resource utilization efforts.

Taft also served as Chief Development Officer and Interim Chief Strategy Officer for Girl Scouts of the USA. As one of the most senior officers in this iconic leadership organization representing girls in 112 US councils and 94 countries, she played a critical role in transforming organizational talent, culture, and social impact. She led the hiring and onboarding of a new national Executive Team and the $1 billion ToGetHerThere campaign, the largest fundraising campaign for girls in the world. She was also Executive Sponsor for the global alumnae initiative to acquire and engage 50 million former Girl Scouts.

Taft held prior executive and senior development roles at Simmons University, Tufts Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, and Concord Academy. She was one of the founding team members of City Year, which today has youth service teams in more than 31 regions across the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

Taft serves on the Editorial Board of Giving USA, the Boards of the Giving Institute and Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and recently completed her service and leadership of the Board of Directors for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in Washington, DC. As Chair of the Industry Advisory Council, she serves ex-officio on the Board of Trustees for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Taft continues to advance inclusion and equity in nonprofit leadership including through her service on the steering committee for Allies in Action for Women of Color in Philanthropy (WŌC), the CASE Opportunity and Inclusion Center, and through various appointed leadership roles.

Her honors include being a recipient of the CASE Crystal Apple for excellence in teaching and recognition as a 2021 member of the YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers and a 2019 Leading Woman of Massachusetts by Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Taft holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Simmons School of Management.

Ryan Woroniecki
Director of Business Development, Lighthouse Counsel

Ryan Woroniecki has more than a decade of experience in fundraising. He previously was the vice president of strategic partnerships at DonorSearch, where he oversaw the build of integrated products into leading nonprofit CRMs and advised more than 100 fundraising consultants on how to better use wealth screening and analytics with their clients. He has helped hundreds of nonprofits with various prospect development efforts.

Ryan sits on the board of The Giving Institute, where he has served as board chair and membership co-chair, on the Ethics Committee and many Summer Symposia. He also has chaired the Resource Development Committee for The Giving USA Foundation, where he oversaw the implementation of the organization’s first CRM. He also serves as vice president of resource development for AFP-DC and on the AFP Foundation’s Institutional Giving Committee. Ryan is a former APRA-MD board secretary.

Ryan has presented at AFP ICON, for AFP Global, APRA International, many AFP and APRA chapters and numerous vendor-led conferences.

He has a bachelor’s degree in leadership in the public sector from North Carolina State University and an associate of arts and science degree in history from Howard Community College.

If you are interested in learning more about the Legacy Society please contact Giving USA Foundation at [email protected].