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Thursday, January 11, 2024
8:30 am
- Friday, January 12, 2024
12:30 pm
  • This event has passed.

Conference Reminders:


  • The conference will take place in the Westshore Ballroom which is located on the 1st floor of the Hotel Alba. (Note: If you attended last year, it is in a different room)
  • Meals will be held in Westshore Ballroom – West and the meeting will be next door in Westshore Ballroom – Main/East.


  • All meals from Thursday breakfast to Friday breakfast are provided.
  • Thursday’s dinner will be held on the rooftop patio at Del Frisco’s Grill. The rooftop patio will include heaters, but please plan accordingly to enjoy the Florida outdoors.
  • Recommendations for Wednesday’s dinner on your own are available here. The Spaniard, located within the hotel, is open for dinner from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.


  • Business casual.

Conference Booklet:

  • A PDF of the conference booklet is available here.

If you have any last-minute questions or need any assistance on-site, please contact Lauren Cummings.

Registration is closed. If you would like to attend or have questions, please contact events@bwf.com.


5303 W Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609 United States

The BWF room block is closed but the hotel may still have availability at a non-discounted rate.

Book Your Hotel





Wednesday, January 10, 2024

5:00-6:30 p.m.
Cocktail hour at Hotel Alba’s Buffalo Bayou
6:30 p.m.

Dinner on your own.

*Recommendations are available here.

Day 1: Thursday, January 11, 2024

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Welcome & Conference Overview
  • 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
    Aligning AI to Organizational Needs

    Much like how the internet revolutionized business, AI is emerging with the potential to transform advancement programs. This session will take a high-level look at a spectrum of AI-driven strategies and technologies that can empower institutions to harness data-driven insights more deeply, better personalize donor experiences, more accurately predict fundraising outcomes, and streamline administrative processes. Join us as we explore AI’s benefits, pitfalls, and even demonstrations and expand your AI IQ.

    Speaker: Josh Birkholz, BWF

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Morning Break
11:30 – 12:30 p.m.
1:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Afternoon Break
3:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Afternoon Break
  • 3:15 – 4:00 p.m.
    Managing Risk and Safeguarding Missions in Higher Education

    This interactive session will focus on critical aspects of Philanthropic Due Diligence. As philanthropy becomes increasingly complex, the importance of thorough scrutiny and risk management in accepting donations has never been more crucial. This session will address the challenges of reputation management, legal compliance, high-value global donations, and vulnerable donor populations. We will explore the nuance of a robust due diligence program and provide insight into effective policies, crisis communications, and training all with a specific focus on ensuring your institution practices dementia-friendly philanthropy.

    Speaker: Jason Boley, BWF

4:00 – 4:15 p.m.
Day 1 Closing
4:15 p.m.
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Dinner at Del Frisco’s Grille *Dinner will be held on the rooftop patio; heaters will be available but please plan accordingly for the cooler evening weather.

Day 2: Friday, January 12, 2024

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
8:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Day 2 Welcome
9:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Morning Break
11:00 – 11:15 a.m.
Wrap–up and Thank–You
11:15 a.m.
Heather Cordell Heather Cordell, Vice President for Advancement, Biola University
Heather Cordell is the Vice President for Advancement at Biola University. She has served at the University since 2016. Heather is currently leading the Advancement team in the $200 million Campaign, Bold Faith Bright Future. Under Heather’s leadership, the University recently received the largest gift in the University’s history to establish the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts. Heather has a strong background in Gift Planning and Major Gift cultivation and enjoys coaching and developing a growing Advancement team.
Mo Cotton Kelly Mo Cotton Kelly, Chief Operating Officer and SVP for Stakeholder Engagement, The UConn Foundation, Inc.
“Mo,” as she is called by family, friends, and colleagues is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice president for Stakeholder Engagement. (COO-SVP), with responsibility for driving operational and comprehensive campaign strategy, overseeing key administrative functions, and guiding a culture of inclusivity for the UConn Foundation. Mo oversees the departments of alumni relations, marketing and communications, annual giving, stewardship, and board engagement. Mo has more than 27 years of experience with higher education institutions in the university advancement field where she has developed exemplary leadership, created strategic plans, cultivated organizational change, and is known nationally as a leader in the industry.
Matthew Eynon Matthew Eynon, Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Matthew Eynon is associate vice president and chief operating officer for the Office of Resource Development (RD) at MIT and brings thirty years of advancement experience to his role. As deputy to the VP, Eynon is responsible for enhancing internal organizational processes, leading and managing day-to-day operations, and building capacity for MIT’s future campaigns. As an advancement leader Eynon believes in an integrated, team-first approach to advancement that drives innovative thinking and high performance. Eynon has been a campus CAO, worked on multiple comprehensive campaigns, and served on extraordinary teams with colleagues who have raised more than $2 billion for education. A graduate of Dickinson College, Eynon has served CASE as a member of the Board of Trustees; chair of the Commission on Philanthropy; and as a co-chair of CASE’s Reporting Standards Working Group.
Colleen Garland, Vice President for Advancement, Kenyon College
Colleen Garland leads the Advancement team for Kenyon College where she provides strategic direction of the $500 million Our Path Forward to the Bicentennial campaign – now in its final year. With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Garland has a track record of leading teams to new levels of excellence. She was the chief architect of Ohio Wesleyan University’s successful $227 million campaign as vice president; she led the development teams for 13 colleges and units at The Ohio State University as assistant vice president; and she cut her teeth as a gift officer at Denison University.
Rod Grabowski Rod Grabowski, Senior Vice President for Advancement and Partnerships and CEO of the University of Central Florida Foundation, Inc.
Rod Grabowski is UCF’s Senior Vice President for Advancement and Partnerships and CEO of the UCF Foundation, Inc. A passionate advocate for higher education and its power to transform lives, he oversees the university’s fundraising, alumni relations, partnership, communications and marketing efforts. Under his leadership, the Division of Advancement and Strategic Partnerships builds meaningful, fruitful connections that enhance UCF’s impact and result in new sources of revenue to fuel our excellence and unleash the potential of our students, faculty and community.
Nichole Ipach, Vice President for University Relations & Advancement and President of CSUN Foundation, California State University Northridge
Nichole Ipach was appointed Vice President for University Relations & Advancement and President of CSUN Foundation in November 2021. Prior to joining CSUN, Nichole was Vice President for University Advancement at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). Her 21-year professional career in fundraising and advancement work also includes working for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and Many Mansions, an affordable housing organization based in Thousand Oaks, CA. Originally from Clovis, California, Nichole attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with honors with a B.A. in English. The mother of twins, she lives with her husband in Ventura.
Nancy Jackson Nancy Jackson, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, The University of Kansas Endowment
Nancy Jackson is Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for KU Endowment. Previously, she co-founded Generous Change, which provides workshops and toolkits for university fundraisers, academic leaders, and trustees around the country. Before that, she served as Assistant Vice President for Strategic Development at KU Endowment, Team Lead for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Development Director for the Spencer Museum of Art after ten years as an acquiring editor at the University Press of Kansas. Jackson also founded an award-winning nonprofit which continues to thrive today.
Jackie Lewis, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, University of Missouri-Columbia
Jackie Lewis is the MU Vice Chancellor for Advancement and joined the University of Missouri in August 2020. In this role, Jackie strengthens and cultivates the key partnerships that support the university’s philanthropic goals and alumni relations, as well as collaborating with leaders across campus to build upon the university’s ongoing fundraising efforts. She leads a team of about 180 dedicated advancement professionals committed to Mizzou’s land-grant mission.
Joel Stephens, CLU®, Principal and President, Life Insurance Division, Thomas Financial
Joel Stephens, a Principal and President of the Life Insurance Division at Thomas Financial since 1994, specializes in life insurance planning for business owners and executives. A distinguished professional, he focuses on Estate Planning for High-Net-Worth Individuals, Business Continuity, and Executive Benefits. Joel holds the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College. A Past President of the Tampa Bay Estate Planning Council, he actively participates in industry associations and currently serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Hillsborough Education Foundation, chairing the Planned Giving Committee. His involvement extends to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the American Red Cross. Joel is Chairman Emeritus of the Board for The Tampa Connection and received the Citizen of the Year award in 2016. A graduate of the Florida Institute of Technology, he remains engaged with his alma mater, serving on the Athletic Alumni Board, and participating in Florida Tech’s Galaxy and Ad Astra Societies.
Josh Birkholz Josh Birkholz, CEO, BWF
Josh Birkholz is the CEO of BWF, the nonprofit service and technology company known for its innovations in elevating philanthropy around the world. Josh is a leader in big philanthropy and an architect of the business of fundraising. He is the author of the books Fundraising Analytics (Wiley, 2008) and Benefactors (Wiley, 2022). Josh is the Chair of the Board of the Giving USA Foundation and an instructor at the Rice University Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.
Katrina Klaproth Katrina Klaproth, Chief Operating Officer and President, Philanthropic Services, BWF
For Katrina Klaproth, the fact that “we actually make a difference … every single day” is what she finds the most inspiring about nonprofits and philanthropy. Over 20 years ago, she “stumbled into the field and it’s all she’s ever done since.” Ask her about her career path and you’ll find that she’s emphatic that she can’t imagine doing anything else. The fact that Katrina gets to work with individuals who strive daily to support their missions and passions is, as she says, contagious.
Mark Marshall Mark Marshall, President, Philanthropic Counsel, BWF
During Mark Marshall’s 30+ years in fundraising, he’s worked with many of the great children’s hospitals and academic medical centers, public and private colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations. For him, philanthropy is ennobling and powerful in its ability “to help donors see what they can do in the world and help organizations to inspire donors to act—both are incredible ways to help make the world a better, kinder, more just place.” Mark is a history buff (and is especially passionate about genealogy), coaches and plays hockey, and loves the great outdoors.
Jeff Hilperts Jason Boley, Executive Vice President, Advancement Operations, BWF
Jason Boley is executive vice president, advancement operations at BWF. Jason specializes in technology, data management, reporting, and business process definition. Jason brings a unique blend of fundraising expertise and information technology skills developed over two decades of working with private colleges, public research institutions, healthcare foundations, and libraries. Jason is a recognized leader in all aspects of development operations and is active in several professional organizations where he speaks frequently at the local and national levels.
Jeff Hilperts Jeff Hilperts, Senior Vice President, Philanthropic Counsel, BWF
At BWF, Jeff conducts intensive administrative audits, leads campaign planning studies, interviews major and principal gift donors, provides highly customized trainings for staff and volunteers, and crafts growth-justified staffing plans. And for him, it’s rewarding to play a small role in creating the innovations that will expand and enhance the fundraising field and the impact it can have in the world. As the father of three, most of Jeff’s passions align with his children’s activities. But, when he’s not participating in their events, you’ll probably find him in the kitchen or on the tennis court.
More speakers to be announced!

View the Sessions

Registration is closed. If you would like to attend or have questions, please contact events@bwf.com.