The Latest from TW&B: News and Events

Meet Anne Smith

At TW&B, we’re excited to announce the newest member of our firm.

Anne Smith joins us as Vice President of our firm, bringing with her nearly two decades of experience in fundraising, campaign management, board development and institutional advancement. She has a strong background with association foundations, human service organizations, education and arts organizations.  Learn more about her experience here.

Getting to know Anne Smith

1. What drew you to work in the nonprofit sector?

I fell into this work but stayed because I realized how much I was fueled by transformation. It’s one thing to wake up and think, “It’s time to make a profit so we can sell more stuff.”  It’s another to wake up and think, “It’s time to fund a program so we can improve a person’s life.”

In order to be a successful nonprofit you must test your problem-solving ideas to ensure they are sustainable and effective while being led by sound governance, smart staff and persistence to achieve results.  It’s the most challenging and rewarding place to be.

2. Which accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?

As a development professional, we are often expected to grow the contributed revenue, often requiring that an organization tries things they’ve never done before.  I have been given the privilege to lead new strategies and giving programs that have successfully diversified funding sources and increased overall contributed revenue significantly.

3. What was the most useful piece of advice you’ve received as a fundraiser?

“There is nothing more powerful or effective than a face to face conversation.”

This has proved to be true when it comes to fundraising and relationships in general. It’s so simple but takes a concerted effort to adhere to on a consistent basis in development.  We are often spinning many plates (direct mail, events, grant writing, board meetings…), but the plate that will pay off the most is this one.

4. What excites you most about being a consultant?

It’s exciting to channel my own hands-on development experience – the successes as well as the failures – into helping development and leadership staff and boards successfully grow their funding through best practices.

Every nonprofit has its own set of challenges, goals, resources and mission.  I enjoy working across this rich and diverse nonprofit community and I love knowing that I’ve made a difference.

5. How is the perspective you bring to organizations unique?

My major gift experience across several nonprofit sectors has helped me understand the challenges and opportunities within different nonprofit environments. Having hands-on experience in an array of development roles has provided a keen insight into how processes intersect, complimenting or competing, to fulfill the organization’s funding needs. How can we best utilize the resources, available to get the greatest return? How much is the Board being utilized?  What is standing in the way of growth?

6. What are some of the biggest concerns you see nonprofits dealing with today, and what emerging trends could become increasingly important in philanthropy?

Government budget decisions appear to point toward less funding for states in areas that directly affect the nonprofit sector. This decrease in support is encouraging a continued push for funding diversification – pointing toward an increased investment in relationships by employing more stewardship and impact reporting.

Donors have become increasingly investment-minded when making charitable decisions and want to see how your program will solve the problem or transform lives. Because of this, it’s now expected that a case for support is adaptable for multiple segments and includes infographics, metrics, and stories that show results that balance between head and heart. It’s now more important than ever that the Board member is an actively vocal spokesperson for the mission as well as a fundraiser. These are just a few trends that appear to be shining brighter during a challenging time for nonprofits.

Connect with Anne on LinkedIn.


“I want the sky to land here, to cool it, and make it well again.”

Yoko Ono

This wish was the inspiration behind Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, her first permanent sculpture in the Americas, located in Chicago’s Jackson Park.

The sky has held a deep significance for Ms. Ono since her childhood. In the spring of 1945, she was sent to the Japanese countryside to escape the bombings of Tokyo during World War II. There was a food shortage, and she and her brother, Keisuke, would lie down and imagine menus in the sky that might nourish them back to strength. Since then, Ms. Ono has seen the sky as a source of hope, comfort and healing.

SKYLANDING is comprised of twelve brushed stainless steel lotus petals that radiate outward. The sculpture is a public work designed to be interactive, with the petals spread to encourage onlookers to walk inside. The participation continues on, which invites visitors to share their own wishes with the world.

At the October 17 dedication ceremony, she described the sculpture as the “place where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony, with nature and each other.”

The Mended Petal now stands in the garden of the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Mended Petal now stands in the garden of the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The companion piece to SKYLANDING is the “Mended Petal,” a 13th petal located at the Art Institute of Chicago. The petal is symbolically repaired with a seam in the Japanese tradition of kinsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with laquer dusted in gold, silver, or platinum. The tradition treats repair as part of the history of the object, using damage as an opportunity to make the piece more beautiful.

Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt worked with our clients at Project 120 Chicago to bring Ms. Ono’s vision to Chicago. When Yoko Ono first visited Chicago in the 1970s, she stayed in a hotel with a view of the lake. She was inspired by Lake Michigan when writing the song “Walking on Thin Ice.” This was the last song John Lennon worked on, which they completed recording on the day he was killed.

“Chicago makes me nostalgic about way, way back when I was a little girl in the 1930s. I don’t really know why. But there seems to be a strong connection between me and Chicago,” Ms. Ono has said.

Osaka Garden on Wooded Island in Chicago’s Jackson Park

The site also has ties to Yoko’s Japanese heritage. The SKYLANDING sculpture is located on the Wooded Island in Jackson Park, on the former site of the Japanese Phoenix Pavilion during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Phoenix Pavilion showcased Japan’s artistic achievements for the first time in the United States. Today, the Wooded Island is home to the Osaka Garden, a Japanese garden with a gazebo, footbridge and waterfall.

The sculpture is a short walk from the Museum of Science and Industry and is across the street from the site of the planned Barack Obama Presidential Center. The construction of SKYLANDING is part of Project 120’s partnership with the Chicago Park District to restore and revitalize Jackson Park. We’re honored to be a part of the effort to recognize and grow the rich cultural heritage of Jackson Park that brought this inspirational piece of art to the Chicago community.

Outside In: Paint for Peace

The new exhibition “Outside In: Paint for Piece” from our client COCA (Center of Creative Arts) shows the resilience of a community reeling from violence and protest. This collaborative community exhibition displays murals of hope, unity, and renewal in a time when the Ferguson and St. Louis community needed them the most.

In August 2014, the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri triggered weeks of protests in the St. Louis area and across the country. After a St. Louis County grand jury announced it would not indict Officer Darren Wilson that November, protests broke out again and many Ferguson businesses were destroyed by vandalism.

sheldon-art-galleries-1In the aftermath, neighborhood leaders met to discuss cleanup. They started the Paint for Peace initiative in Ferguson and St. Louis. Artists were invited to paint boarded up windows to bring hope and renewal back into the community. Word spread through social media, and at least 350 artists created around 250 images throughout the community.

Now, nearly two years later, Center of Creative Arts (COCA) has collected 21 of these pieces for their exhibition “Outside In: Paint for Peace”. COCA is a leader in arts education in St. Louis, serving more than 50,000 people of all ages and backgrounds in dance, music, theatre, art, design, and more.

“The arts play an important role in helping people process major change and giving voice to complex issues. We hope this exhibition will provide a means to foster conversation in our community,” said Kelly Pollock, COCA Executive Director. “As COCA celebrates 30 years of connecting St. Louisans to the arts, we’re excited to launch our gallery season with this powerful collaboration.”

The new exhibit, which incorporates programs and events from August 27 through November 19, shows the power of art to create conversations and rebuild community. The art will be displayed in galleries, museums, and cultural centers across St. Louis and Ferguson. COCA will also offer educational programs including in-school residencies, field trips, and a professional development workshop to engage students, teachers and families.

missouri-history-museum“Taking art into the street created a social diary and provided people of all ages an outlet for raw emotions and a way to express their concerns. They navigated their reactions and views in the days and weeks following the protests,” said curator Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris. “This exhibition is meant to both conserve and preserve these meaningful works of art – ranging from simple drawings of love and peace to challenging calls for social change. We hope to provide historical and technical context and allow the works of art to be preserved as part of the growing international canon of graffiti art.”

The community of Ferguson continues to recover, and the Paint for Peace messages of love, peace, and social change are as important as ever today. As protests have continued to break out in the past two years, there are an increasing number of towns like Ferguson across the country where communities are in conflict. In this tumultuous climate, nonprofits are challenged to address the real issues that impact the world in a way that aligns with their mission. At Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, we’re proud to support the work COCA is doing to use artistic expression to address the needs of the community and foster challenging conversations.

Learn more about COCA’s “Outside In: Paint for Peace” here.

Meet Amy Funk & Theresa Lipo

We are proud to introduce the latest additions to the TW&B team, Amy Funk and Theresa Lipo.

Amy Funk joins us as Vice President of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt. She has a strong background in cultural institutions and human services. Amy has extensive experience with board development, recruitment, capital campaigns, and annual funds.

Theresa Lipo is a new member of our adjunct team, joining us as Adjunct Counsel for Government and Foundation Relations. Theresa has served human service and educational institutions in Chicago for over 25 years. She’s helped nonprofits secure funds from many levels of government, including the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and federal agencies.

We wanted to learn a little bit more about their backgrounds, their approach to raising money, and what drew them to this work. We asked them a few questions to get started. Read their answers below!

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Charitable Donations in United States Break Record Two Years in a Row

Giving in the United States has reached its highest level ever, surpassing the previous high in 2014 and the levels seen prior to the recession. According to their annual report released today, the Giving USA Foundation estimates that total giving reached $373.25 billion in 2015. This is the highest total since the report began in 1974, in both actual dollars and after adjusting for inflation.

In 2015, giving increased by 4 percent from 2014 after adjusting for inflation. Increases were seen across every giving source for the second year in a row, including individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations. Individual giving, the largest source of giving at 71 percent of the total, contributed an estimated $264.58 billion, which is a 3.7 percent increase from the  inflation-adjusted total in 2014. Giving by foundations, which totaled at  $58.46 billion, increased by the largest amount of any source, at 6.3 percent after adjusting for inflation.

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Giving USA: Americans Donate the Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

According to their annual report released today, the Giving USA Foundation estimates that total giving reached $358.38 billion in 2014. This surpasses the peak in 2007 before the Great Recession. This is the highest total since the report began in 1974, in both actual dollars and after adjusting for inflation.

Total giving in 2014 saw a 5.4 percent increase from 2013 after adjusting for inflation. In addition, 2014 was the fifth year in a row that giving has risen. These numbers suggest that philanthropic giving has recovered from the decline experienced by many nonprofit organizations brought on by the Great Recession.

“This year’s report details what we’re seeing among our clients. There is a renewed sense of optimism in the field of development, and these numbers confirm that,” says Dean Rein, president and partner of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt.

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Senate Votes to Extend Charitable IRA Rollover

In an effort to encourage older Americans to give charitably out of their Individual Retirement Accounts, the charitable IRA rollover was enacted in 2006. This means that IRA owners age 70-1/2 or older can donate up to $100,000 per year directly from their IRA without paying taxes as income. Other charitable provisions that will be extended include conservation donations of land, and incentives encouraging farmers to donate to food banks.

These provisions, which had expired on December 31, 2013, would be retroactively extended until December 31, 2014. The House had voted to extend them this summer, and the Senate has passed it December 16. President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

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Announcing a New

At Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, we’re proud to announce the launch of our new website. The website now features a new look and feel with  user-friendly navigation. The updated design is completely responsive and transitions easily for screens of all sizes, from your desktop to your laptop, from your tablet to your smartphone.

Quite a bit has changed with TW&B in the past year, and our new website will be able to grow as we do.  We look forward to bringing you the latest news, along with blog posts by our team of senior-level nonprofit consultants.

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North Park University Dedicates New Johnson Center

Mary Surridge, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at North Park, stands with TW&B's Clyde Watkins and Nora Kyger
Mary Surridge, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at North Park, with TW&B’s Clyde Watkins and Nora Kyger at Johnson Center dedication

On September 12, 2014, our clients at North Park University dedicated the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life. The Johnson Center includes a student center and space for the North Park science and health programs. This dedication comes at the end of Campaign North Park, a five-year, $57 million campaign. North Park exceeded their fundraising goals, raising $63 million to date. Continue reading