Women are Now Driving Philanthropy. Are Orchestras Engaging Them?

Sponsored On-Demand Webinar

October 21 speakers

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The content of this webinar was developed by and sponsored by Aspen Leadership Group.

How can you tap into the generosity of women to navigate through this prolonged time of crisis? The COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn, and social unrest have left arts nonprofits reeling; many are struggling to continue operating while serving members and audiences with reimagined programming. One group of donors may offer a lifeline: women.

Research shows that women (inclusive of all who identify as women) and their networks give more during times of crisis. More online gifts come from women than from men, and women at all income levels give more generously than men at similar levels. Women are now driving philanthropy and can help your bottom line. Do you know how to fully include all women in ways that respect them and resonate with them as you raise funds in today’s evolving landscape?

Speakers: Marlah Bonner-McDuffie, Vice President of Development at League of American Orchestras; Anne Johnson, Senior Consultant and Vice President at Aspen Leadership Group; Kathleen Loehr, Senior Consultant at Aspen Leadership Group and author, Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women's Philanthropy; and Trine Sorensen, Donor, Board Member of the League of American Orchestras and San Francisco Symphony, and Former Corporate Consultant 

Who Should Attend?

Executive directors, youth orchestra directors, trustees, development and fundraising staff, and individuals seeking to learn more about women in philanthropy.

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About the Speakers

Marlah Bonner-McDuffie
Vice President of Development at League of American Orchestras

Marlah Bonner-McDuffieA native of Philadelphia, Marlah began her career in the corporate sector before transitioning to nonprofit leadership roles, first to higher education at the University of Illinois, and more recently to venture philanthropy in K-12 education with Philadelphia’s largest public charity funding schools in underserved neighborhoods, Philadelphia School Partnership. Marlah has over 20 years of progressive roles in a wide range of organizations and institutions, with extensive professional background and experience in all areas of philanthropy, strategic planning, marketing, business development, and leading high-performing and results-driven teams.

Marlah’s passion for improving access and equity in the arts and education sectors led her to opportunities to apply business and entrepreneurial principles to design and execute top-tier, comprehensive development operations for mission-driven organizations. Marlah was recently appointed Vice President for Development with the League of American Orchestras. 

She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Penn State University, and an MBA from Temple University, and she currently resides in Philadelphia.

Anne Johnson
Senior Consultant and Vice President at Aspen Leadership Group

Anne JohnsonAnne Johnson has brought her 25 years of higher education and nonprofit fundraising experience to the benefit of many of America’s most influential philanthropic organizations. She has managed a broad and diverse portfolio of executive-level searches and placed leaders at the country’s prominent medical foundations, scientific institutes, Ivy League and research universities, liberal arts colleges, symphony orchestras, ballet and opera companies, and art museums. Prior to ALG, Anne most recently served as the chief development officer for the San Francisco Symphony, working closely with the Board of Governors and leading the Symphony’s contributed revenue division. Previously she served as San José State University’s Associate Vice President of Development and Campaign Director, leading the university through its first comprehensive campaign, which exceeded its goal of $200 million by $9 million, one full year in advance of the publicly announced deadline. Prior to her work in the Bay Area, she held fundraising positions at the University of Kansas and Boston University. She holds a MA degree in Education from Boston University and a BA in French from the University of Kansas. 

Kathleen Loehr
Senior Consultant at Aspen Leadership Group

Kathleen LoehrKathleen Loehr has 35 years of experience in partnership with university and nonprofit leaders, as well as philanthropists. She combines nonprofit expertise, fundraising, coaching, and strategy to help individuals and groups navigate change. Kathleen is a thought leader regarding the role of women in modern philanthropy and their role in the philanthropic driver’s seat, given the increased money being earned and inherited, and their influence on household giving. Kathleen translated the research on how women give into practical action fundraisers can take. Her book, Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy, was published by CASE in August 2018. Kathleen was a C-suite leader of fundraising for the American Red Cross, Save the Children, the International Crisis Group, and key departments at Cornell University. She is the chair of the Advisory Council for the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Kathleen received a BA in Government from Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Trine Sorensen
Donor, Board Member of the League of American Orchestras and San Francisco Symphony, and Former Corporate Consultant

Trine SorensenAs a donor, board member, and former corporate consultant, Trine Sorensen brings a unique perspective to this panel. She serves on the boards of the League of American Orchestras, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and the San Francisco Symphony, where she is chair of the development committee. She also serves on the advisory boards for Stanford Live at Stanford University; Music@Menlo in Atherton, California; the Global Council for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York; and Northwestern University Bienen School of Music in Evanston, Illinois. Prior to her work on nonprofit boards, she spent a decade as a consultant for Accenture specializing in change management and systems and organizational redesign, and was a hospital administrator.


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This webinar is made possible by generous grants from American Express, the Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Photos courtesy of the speakers; photo of Trine Sorensen by Alan Poizner.