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Kathy Kucaba

Adjunct Counsel: Prospect Research

Kathy Kucaba has devoted more than 13 years of a varied career to development work, including 11 years in prospect research and prospect management. In that time, she has profiled hundreds of individuals, corporations and foundations while continuously learning new technologies and resources. She has also proven vigilant on proactive research and rounded out her activities with some solicitation strategy assistance, in-house research seminars and wealth screening results analysis.

Enjoying research as a way to employ her curiosity and creativity by finding useful information on donors and prospects, she has been thrilled to hear of cases where her findings led to much higher asks and resulting gifts (such as $1 million!) and of a case where her research led to a prospect becoming a trustee. Following several years focused on qualitative research—during which she made personal phone calls to more than 1,000 mid-level donors—she evaluated and presented her most promising leads to major gift officers for further cultivation and learned in her follow-up attempts that one donor with a prior total lifetime giving of $85 donated a $170k condominium within 2.5 years of her initial call.

Previously, she has worked full time for the Advocate Charitable Foundation, which raises more than $25 million a year; the former Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she operated a one-person shop supporting a $50-million, multi-year campaign goal; The Nature Conservancy, where she set up a one-person shop from scratch supporting four state chapters, was fully operational within two months, was recognized as a Conservancy research model and was consulted by regional and international chapters on setting up similar operations; and the University of Chicago Medical Center Development, which is where it all began, as she started her career there in prospect research following a successful summer stint as a freelance writer for that department.

Kathy earned a BS degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has belonged to various professional organizations, including Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA), Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP).