Our People

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

Founder & President

Liz Jellema

Liz Jellema

Chief Operating Officer

Jake Muszynski

Jake Muszynski

Vice President

Joanne Curry

Joanne Curry

Vice President of Client Services

Stephanie Brouwer

Stephanie Brouwer

Data & Research Manager

Kayla Boye

Kayla Boye

Operations & Business Manager

Anne Spears

Anne Spears

Campaign Manager

Casey Delehanty

Casey Delehanty

Project Manager

Cheryl Molnar

Cheryl Molnar

Creative Director

Pressley Peters

Pressley Peters

Project Writer

Katharine DeShaw

Katharine DeShaw

Of Counsel

A.J. Casey

A.J. Casey

Of Counsel

Colin Hamilton

Colin Hamilton

Of Counsel

Tamar Podell

Tamar Podell

Of Counsel

Paul Johnson

"Money follows vision"

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Paul Johnson

Founder & President

As a seasoned fundraising professional, Paul has over 30 years of experience working at institutions both large and small in a variety of communities throughout the United States.

In 2015, Paul formed Creative Fundraising Advisors. His current and past clients include the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures,  St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD and Santa Fe, NM), the School of Advanced Research (Santa Fe, NM), the Portland Museum of Art (Maine), the Milwaukee Art Museum, Philadelphia Contemporary, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Guthrie Theater, the American Craft Council, the Playwrights’ Center, Minnehaha Academy, Hiawatha Academies, and New Mexico School of the Arts,

Prior to forming CFA, Paul was a Partner with the Atlanta-based fundraising consulting firm Alexander Haas, where he was a Senior Consultant within their Arts & Culture practice group. While with the firm, Paul worked with a number of clients who were at various stages of transformational change. Notable clients included the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; The Mabee Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, OK; The Tres Centurias Foundation in San Antonio, TX; The Vero Beach Museum of Art in Vero Beach, FL; and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI; and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

Paul was Deputy Director at the Brooklyn Museum where, amongst other responsibilities, he oversaw Development and Membership. He has also held senior Development positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Additionally, Paul spent a year consulting the Getty Trust in Los Angeles on their multi-year, multi-institutional, highly acclaimed project Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA from 1945 – 1980.

Paul has also worked in the development offices of New York University School of Medicine, Columbia University, Oberlin College and the Minnesota Orchestra with wide-ranging responsibilities including principal gifts fundraising, planned giving, corporate sponsorship management, special event management, and grant writing.

In addition to Pacific Standard Time, highlights of Paul’s museum career include securing funding to name the Contemporary Art galleries at the Brooklyn Museum; establishing the first department of Arts of the Islamic World at the MFAH (the first of its kind in the Southern United States), the completion of the capital campaign to build the Kilroy Visitor and Education Center at Bayou Bend (a part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston); securing major individual and institutional support for dozens of exhibitions that have been seen by millions of museum visitors; and raising funds to acquire hundreds of objects for museum collections. Additionally, at Columbia University, he led the campaigns to create the first-ever endowed chair in the United States in Modern Arab Studies (named for Professor Edward Said) and the first-ever Center for the Study of Energy Policy.

He is former President of and an active member of the Art Museum Development Association and formerly on the DAM committee of the American Alliance of Museums. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Academy of Art. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Cantus, a full-time men’s vocal ensemble based in Minneapolis.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he holds a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California.

Liz Jellema
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Liz Jellema

Chief Operating Officer

Liz oversees CFA’s operations, culture, values, talent, marketing and communications, and financial performance.

Liz joined CFA from the University of Chicago where she served as Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives for the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the Booth School of Business. Prior to joining the Booth School, Jellema served as vice president of engagement for CityBase, director of research at World Business Chicago, and as a consultant at AECOM Economics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration, real estate and land economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree in urban planning at the University of Michigan, and a certificate of civic leadership at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Liz enjoys translating strategy to operations to grow CFA’s portfolio of mission-driven clients and position CFA to continue along its trajectory from start-up to a nonprofit consulting powerhouse.

Jake Muszynski

“There’s a way to do it better—find it.”
Thomas A. Edison

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Jake Muszynski

Vice President

A proven and resourceful development professional, as Vice President with CFA, Jake is focused on major gifts strategy, planned giving and capacity building for nonprofits.

Jake has over ten years of experience in higher education fundraising at both private and public institutions, including annual giving, crowdfunding, data analytics, planned gifts, major gifts and campaign strategy.

During his time as a Major Gift Officer at the University of Minnesota, his fundraising efforts earned the university a return of 34 times his salary. He led fundraising efforts for the Arts Quarter at the University of Minnesota, representing the School of Music, the Marching Band, Department of Art, and Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. During his tenure, the School of Music had two of their largest fundraising years on record.

He launched the first-ever comprehensive campaign for the Marching Band, including a crowdfunding campaign following the band’s performance in the Super Bowl LII (2018) Halftime Show. The campaign’s success allowed the Marching Band to make their first regular season road trip in 22 years.

Jake began his major gift experience at the University of Northern Iowa’s College of Business Administration, and he worked with RuffaloCODY (now Ruffalo Noel Levitz) as a telemarketing consultant and manager. At RuffaloCODY, he led hiring, data analytics, segmentation, and implementation of the telemarketing annual giving program for the university.

Jake is a member of the National Philanthropy Day Committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals MN Chapter, and the former President of AFP – Northeast Iowa Chapter.

Using his decade of higher-education fundraising experience, Jake takes a holistic approach to the art and science of fundraising — considering organizational health from all perspectives and applying the appropriate mix of soft skills and data-driven decision-making.

Never one to offer preordained solutions, Jake works in keeping with one of CFA’s core tenets — providing client-informed feedback and creative, case-by-case solutions.

Jake believes that before you can create a better future, you need to learn from the past. He’s always believed nonprofits shouldn’t be reticent about taking a practical inventory of their history in order to forecast potential opportunities.

Through challenging assumptions, and combining data-driven decisions with passionate determination, Jake has helped provide organizations with system-level solutions that affect sustainable change.

His philosophy on donor relations stems from years of recognizing a pattern — donors give to inspiration, not desperation. Donors are attracted to organizations that think big and feel rewarded when they are able to see the demonstrated impact of their contributions.

Since joining CFA in 2018, Jake has identified over 30 million dollars in potential support on behalf of clients.

A native of Perham, Minnesota, Jake loves the outdoors and especially enjoys being on the lake. He holds a Bachelor of Communication from Concordia College, where he met his wife. They have two children and share a love of folk and jazz music. She plays piano, violin and flute. He sings and plays bass.

Joanne Curry
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Joanne Curry

Vice President of Client Services

Joanne comes to CFA with over ten years of non-profit experience in operations management, development, and accounting. Her career began with serving as Director of Operations and Rehearsal Assistant for two contemporary ballet companies in Missouri: Missouri Contemporary Ballet and Owen/Cox Dance Group. There she managed operations for fundraising and donor management, communications and marketing, and performance and educational outreach programs. She then went on to work as a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor Accountant with Support Kansas City, providing accounting, support services, and training to non-profits throughout Kansas City.

Most recently Joanne served as the Head of Revenue and Interim Head of Development at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX. There, she oversaw strategy for earned revenue and development, and was responsible for the database, Membership, Special Events, Visitor Services, and Museum Store. During her time at the McNay, Joanne launched a monthly membership program and developed and implemented a prospect management system.

As CFA’s Vice President of Client Services, Joanne focuses on campaign management, prospect development, and membership and annual giving programs. She is currently working with The Actors Fund, Artspace, Awakening Recovery, Friends of the Mississippi River, Headlands Center for the Arts, Milkweed Editions, Orange County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Contemporary, Project Angel Food and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.

A native of Port Jefferson, NY, Joanne holds a BFA in Ballet Performance and Teaching from the University of Utah. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and rescue dog.

Stephanie Brouwer
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Stephanie Brouwer

Data & Research Manager

Stephanie is passionate about helping nonprofits understand the “science” of fundraising, and how to effectively use data and research to enhance the “art” of fundraising. Stephanie has over eight years of experience in prospect research, prospect management, and data analytics at both higher education and nonprofit organizations.

Most recently, Stephanie was the Senior Manager of Research and Data at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. In this position, her primary responsibilities included serving as the database administrator and providing prospect research and management support for Marian University’s Forging Leaders Campaign. Prior to Marian University, Stephanie worked at the United Way of Central Indiana where she was tasked with creating a new prospect research unit within the fundraising department.

At CFA, Stephanie’s main responsibilities are establishing strategy, procedures and processes for the areas of prospect research, prospect management, and data analytics, while also providing operational support for client campaign initiatives.

Stephanie is Blackbaud certified in Raiser’s Edge NXT and Raiser’s Edge, and has a master’s degree in library science. Additionally, Stephanie is a Gallup-certified Strengths coach and helps others understand, apply and integrate CliftonStrengths results into their lives and work.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Stephanie currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Kayla Boye
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Kayla Boye

Operations & Business Manager

Kayla comes to CFA with 15 years of experience as a creative nonprofit administrator.

As CFA’s Operations & Business Manager, she works closely with Liz Jellema, Chief Operating Officer, to support CFA’s operations, culture, values, talent, marketing and communications, and financial performance.

Most recently, Kayla served as Executive Director of The Youngstown Playhouse, where she guided the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic via administrative restructuring and strategic planning, while completing a capital campaign and sustaining the entirety of the operating budget via contributed revenue sources and alternative programming.

Based in Chicago, Kayla has worked in development, marketing, and finance for Goodman Theatre and Writers Theatre, and she has served as a producer for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed Garage Rep series. As a consultant for Artistic Fundraising Group, her client organizations included Arts of Life, BrightSide Theatre, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Chicago Mosaic School, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Snow City Arts, and Windy City Playhouse.

A member of Actors’ Equity Association, she has worked artistically with organizations such as Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Mercury Theater Chicago, Music Theater Works, Fireside Theatre, Capital City Theatre, Hollywood Fringe, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Kayla proudly serves as a founding member of the Artistic Council of the Sarah Siddons Society, which offers mentoring, networking, and career guidance opportunities to members of the Chicago-area theatrical community.

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Kayla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing & Editing from Youngstown State University and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

Anne Spears
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Anne Spears

Campaign Manager

An experienced fundraiser with over a decade of experience in education, religious, and social service based nonprofit fundraising, Anne is passionate about the work being done by nonprofit organizations. She is energized and inspired by working side by side with our nonprofit partners as a project manager for fundraising campaigns.

Most recently Anne was the Director of Development at the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas where she oversaw a multitude of initiatives including capital campaigns for Diocesan camp facilities from the South Texas Coast to the Colorado Rockies, campaigns to assist asylum seekers traveling from Mexico to the U.S., and consulted with the 87 Diocesan churches regarding their fundraising needs. 

Previously Anne was the Chief Development Officer for Ascension DePaul Services of San Antonio and the Development Coordinator at St. Thomas Early Learning Center in College Station, Texas. She also worked for the State of Montana as a social services specialist serving indigenous and rural populations.

Anne has a  B.S. in Sociology, a M.S. in Family and Child Studies, along with a Master of Public Administration. She also is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

Anne lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and three children.

Casey Delehanty

Casey Delehanty

Project Manager

Cheryl Molnar

Cheryl Molnar

Creative Director

Katharine DeShaw
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Katharine DeShaw

Of Counsel

Overview

Katharine DeShaw is a dynamic, results-oriented leader, consultant, public speaker, author, and teacher in philanthropy and non-profit management. A successful fundraiser and grant maker with expertise in start-up organizations, she is skilled in delivering nine-figure fundraising campaigns and developing intentional grantmaking programs in the arts, health, and social justice.

She has proven experience working with international leadership in entertainment, philanthropy, technology, business, and politics. NationBuilder will publish a memoir about her life in philanthropy in 2022 featuring a forward by Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

Her active consulting career includes working with clients across the country in the arts, environment, human services, social justice, and philanthropy sectors. Katharine held senior leadership positions at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; United States Artists; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in New York City. She serves on the faculty of the Museum Leadership Institute and designed its fundraising curriculum.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Katharine was the Deputy Director for Advancement and External Relations for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (2016-2020) where she built the fundraising, marketing, and communications teams for the Renzo Piano-designed film center. She successfully completed its $388M capital campaign (before opening and during the pandemic) chaired by Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Annette Bening, and Tom Hanks. Highlights include securing: $50M from Haim and Cheryl Saban to name the Saban Building; $15M endowment to ensure free admission for all audiences 17 and under in perpetuity; $46M for the Pillar Campaign; and $10M for the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby with leadership gifts from Ambassador Nicole Avant and Ted Sarandos, the Perenchio Foundation, Tyler Perry, Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong, and Oprah Winfrey, among others. She recruited an international Board of Trustees from the entertainment and philanthropy sectors. Katharine oversaw successful press and social strategies resulting in 1500+ articles appearing worldwide on architecture, content, collections, and programs reaching an audience of 5 billion.

United States Artists

Recruited by the Presidents of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations to create a national organization with a mission “to invest in America’s finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society,” Katharine launched United States Artists in 2005. With $22M in seed funding, she developed its signature program—USA Fellows—where annually 50 artists are each awarded a $50,000 unrestricted grant. Nearly 1,000 artists—living in every state and Puerto Rico—have received the grant to date. During her tenure she raised $33M from leadership donors including Bloomberg Philanthropies, Eli and Edythe Broad, Agnes Gund, Target, and the Windgate Foundation including $10M to inaugurate the USA Fellows Endowment. She incubated USA Projects, the world’s first micro-philanthropy website for artists. She recruited USA’s national Board of Directors and served on it.

For more information: katharinedeshaw.com

A.J. Casey

“For there is always light if we are brave enough to see it… if we are brave enough to be it.”
Amanda Gorman

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A.J. Casey

Of Counsel

AJ specializes in capital campaigns, fundraising assessments and strategies, and board training and advancement, as well as executive coaching and professional development. She also has deep experience with start-up organizations and organizations focusing on people of color. She has led complex fundraising projects of local, regional, and national scope and has worked with a full array of nonprofit organizations and foundations.

Before launching her own practice in 2006, AJ served for eight years as a senior consultant and vice president in a national philanthropic consulting firm, as chief development officer and executive director within several nonprofit organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Seattle, and as a special advisor to the Stonewall LBGTQ center in Columbus, Ohio. She recently served as the board chair for Mental Health America of Franklin County. She is a former vice president of National Speakers Association, Ohio chapter, and a former executive board member for the Columbus Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

She serves as Of Counsel for Creative Fundraising Advisors’ work with The Actor’s Fund.

“I’m eager to bring my passions and skills to Creative Fundraising Advisors’ work with The Actors Fund,” AJ said. “My family placed high value on the arts, and I was a member of the inaugural class of Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. My brother is an award-winning lighting designer, so I have a deep history and interest in the arts.”

AJ grew up in Cincinnati and Youngstown, Ohio, where her father helped found the area’s first Black-owned law firm. She attended Georgetown University, studying foreign languages and international economics. She also earned certifications as a Certified Fund Raising Executive and a Certified LifeSuccess Coach. AJ has two sons, Aaron and Royce, and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Colin Hamilton

Colin Hamilton

Of Counsel

Tamar Podell

Tamar Podell

Of Counsel