Coach Biographies

All Benevon instructors and coaches have extensive experience working with nonprofit organizations. Our coaching team has been rigorously trained to customize the Benevon Model to nonprofit organizations of all sizes, types, and structures, based on the collective best practices developed from our 5,000 alumni teams.

Terry Axelrod, Founder and CEO of BenevonTerry Axelrod, founder and CEO of Benevon, has more than thirty years of experience in the nonprofit field, including founding three nonprofit organizations in healthcare and affordable housing. She realized early in her career that the only path to sustainable funding was to systematically connect donors to the mission of the organization, then involve and cultivate them until they were clearly ready to give—in short, to treat donors the way you would treat a close friend or family member, someone with whom you planned to have a lifelong relationship.

Terry created the Benevon Model in 1996 after serving as Development Consultant to a private inner city school from 1992-1995. There she designed and implemented the fundraising and marketing programs that yielded $7.2 million in two and a half years as well as national recognition of the program including a cover story in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Author of seven books and several DVDs, Terry is a sought-after speaker, both nationally and internationally. Her passion and commitment to the possibility of sustainable funding for all nonprofits drive the mission of Benevon and each of its programs. "The donors are truly out there—wanting to contribute; it's up to the organizations to connect them powerfully to their work and nurture that connection over time. Our programs give them the tools to do that successfully."

Terry currently serves as a Life Trustee of Swedish Medical Center and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She received her Masters of Social Work and Bachelor's degrees at the University of Michigan.

SharonSharon Ervine, Curriculum Director and Coach, came to Benevon with more than twenty years of nonprofit experience in management, fundraising, and program development. Her work with human service organizations and schools in Texas resulted in successful capital campaigns, active volunteer involvement, and effective team building.

In 2002, Sharon successfully implemented the Benevon Model as the Senior Vice President of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. Her passion for the organization and for the model transformed the manner in which staff and other supporters viewed donors and grew a significant Multiple-Year Giving Society.

Sharon now uses her valuable experience and insight to guide the Benevon curriculum and to assist other nonprofits to build sustainable funding.

She holds a B.A. in secondary education from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

MarcyMarcy McNeal, Benevon Instructor and Coach, joined Benevon after fifteen years of working with nonprofit organizations in Fort Collins, Colorado. Most recently, as the founding executive director of the Poudre School District Foundation, Marcy successfully implemented the Benevon Model, which resulted in positive educational opportunities for thousands of students and positioned the foundation to begin a major gifts initiative. The Benevon Model provided clear strategies for transforming the way the foundation engaged its donors, volunteers, and community. Prior to that, Marcy served as executive director of a drug abuse prevention organization.

Marcy is committed to helping nonprofit organizations of all types achieve sustainable funding by engaging lifelong donors in their work.

She holds a B.A. in business administration and marketing from Colorado State University.

LauraLaura Mellinger, Benevon Instructor and Coach, joined Benevon after ten years of working and volunteering with literacy and youth-serving organizations in New York. Most recently she worked with a nonprofit that treated dysfunctional families and children at risk of foster care placement and emotional trauma. There she experienced firsthand the impact of tenuous funding on client families and staff. Laura is committed to coaching all types of nonprofits to achieve financial sustainability.

She received her B.A. in American history and Spanish from the University of Rochester where, in addition to her academic career, she was an athlete on a varsity team and learned the transformative value of great coaching. Laura also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Washington and volunteers for a number of organizations in the Greater Seattle area.

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