WSPN's FUNDERS PANEL
What burning questions do you have regarding grants and foundations?
Join us for a panel of area funders who will tell us about their foundations in general and their grant programs in particular. This program will be highly interactive in nature and encourage open dialogue between panelists and attendees.
Learn first-hand how grant makers determine their giving priorities, how they prefer to build relationships with charities, what they look for in proposals, and what they expect in communication.
Cathy McCann has served as a Program Officer for the Topfer Family Foundation since 2015. In this role, she manages $1m in annual philanthropic giving to over 40 nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area. Cathy has over 19 years of experience in nonprofit administration as a staff member, consultant, board member, and grant maker. She began her nonprofit career in the Education Department at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where she was responsible for overseeing the largest arts education program in the Midwest. As Program Director for the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, NC, she was responsible for managing the grant-making processes for local arts organizations and individual artists. For the past 10 years, she has also served as a grant writing consultant and researcher for various nonprofit organizations.
She is an active volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and received the 2019 WSPN Distinguished Service Person of the Year for her volunteer work with the West Suburban Philanthropic Network. Cathy and her husband, Adin, manage The Sadie McCann Fund, a charity started in memory of their daughter, Sadie Elizabeth, which is dedicated to supporting families who have a child with Aicardi syndrome. Cathy received her B.S. in Arts Administration from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. She enjoys traveling, cooking, playing tennis, and spending time with her 13-year old rescue German Shepherd mix, Baxter.
Clare Butterfield joined the Christopher Family Foundation as Executive Director in 2018. Her broad interests and experiences help the Foundation to develop its strategic approach, and to form strong partnerships with grantees. Prior to joining The Christopher Family Foundation, she served as Program Director at the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation, initiating their grantmaking in support of non-profits that provide energy literacy education to Illinois consumers. Prior to that she was the founding Executive Director of Faith in Place, which works with communities of all faiths to connect the teachings of their tradition to practices of care for the Earth. She has practiced tax and transactional law in private practice and at the Internal Revenue Service and is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. She studied history at the University of Illinois, where she also obtained her J.D. She earned an M.Div. from Meadville Lombard and a D.Min. from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Tom Fuechtmann is currently a Senior Program Officer of Community Memorial Foundation (CMF). Established in 1995, Community Memorial Foundation is a private foundation with a focus on community health improvement. Their geographic area includes 27 communities in western Cook and southeastern DuPage Counties in Illinois. CMF’s mission is to measurably improve the health of people who live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago. In the past twenty years, the foundation has distributed more than $60 million in grants to improve the health of our local community
Tom has served as a program officer with CMF since 2001. In that time, Tom has directed two of the Foundation’s strategic initiatives—the Youth Initiative aimed at improving health among young people aged 6-18, and more recently the Building Organizational Effectiveness Initiative aimed at building the organizational capacity of CMF’s grantees. Tom has given presentations at local, regional and national conferences on grantmaking and nonprofit capacity building. Tom has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Loyola University Chicago and a master's degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
Gwendolyn McNutt is a Regional External Affairs Manager with Comcast, with more than 25 years of experience. In her current role, she is responsible for managing community impact initiatives, working with nonprofit organizations and administering event sponsorship opportunities. Some of her key initiatives include the Comcast Internet Essential Program, the annual volunteer day of service, Comcast Cares Day and the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program.
Gwendolyn is a lifelong resident of Illinois and has engaged with various community organizations throughout the area. She currently serves on the board of directors of Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP), and is a recent past member of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) Board of Governors. In 2019, she was awarded a NACE ILEA Chicago Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award, by Chicago area members of NACE (National Association of Catering and Events) and ILEA (International Live Events Association) for her accomplishments within the special events industry.
Gwendolyn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in speech communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master of Arts degree in corporate communication from DePaul University. She also holds a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation, available to only an elite group of qualified industry professionals. Gwendolyn has contributed to a number of publications and websites including USA Today, Nerd HQ and ILEA Experience. She enjoys traveling, crafting and catching up on her favorite TV shows.
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Program and Q&A Session