Who We Are

Coaches and Instructors

Terry Axelrod, Benevon, Founder & CEO

Terry Axelrod

Founder and CEO

Terry Axelrod has more than forty 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 eight 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 MSW and BA in psychology at the University of Michigan.

Sharon Ervine, Benevon, Curriculum Director & Coach

Sharon Ervine

Curriculum Director and Coach

Sharon Ervine 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.

Laura Fixler Mellinger, Benevon, Coach & Instructor

Laura Mellinger

Instructor and Coach

Laura Mellinger 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 a varsity athlete. She knows the transformative value of great coaching. Laura also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Washington and volunteers at a number of organizations in the Greater Seattle area.

Marcy McNeal, Benevon, Instructor & Coach

Marcy McNeal

Instructor and Coach

Marcy McNeal 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.

Staff Contact Information

Terry Axelrod Benevon Founder and CEO

Terry Axelrod

Founder & CEO

Sally Bush, Benevon, Senior Relationship Manager

Sally Bush

Senior Relationship Manager

Meredith Dinneen, Benevon, Marketing & Event Coordinator

Meredith Dinneen

Marketing & Event Coordinator

Stephanie Dunlap, Benevon, Senior Administrative Assistant

Stephanie Dunlap

Senior Administrative Assistant

Zoë Erb, Benevon, Communication Specialist

Zoë Erb

Communication Specialist

Sharon Ervine, Benevon, Curriculum Director & Coach

Sharon Ervine

Curriculum Director & Coach

Dawn Grant, Benevon, Senior Information Technology Manager

Dawn Grant

Senior IT Manager

Shawna Leader, Benevon, Administrative Assistant & Data Processor

Shawna Leader

Administrative Assistant &
Data Processor



Melissa Lound

Curriculum Editor

Marcy McNeal, Benevon, Instructor & Coach

Marcy McNeal

Instructor & Coach

Laura Mellinger, Benevon, Instructor & Coach

Laura Mellinger

Instructor & Coach

Suzanne Shoemaker, Benevon, Chief Operating Officer

Suzanne Shoemaker

Chief Operating Officer

Brittany Waldean, Benevon, Workshop Coordinator

Brittany Waldean

Workshop Coordinator

Bill Yunker, Benevon, Controller

Bill Yunker


Michelle Zendarski, Benevon, Workshop Supervisor & Relationship Manager

Michelle Zendarski

Relationship Manager &
Workshop Supervisor

Are you ready for Benevon?

Let us help you assess your organization’s readiness.  Request to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Benevon representative today.

"One of the things I most appreciate about Benevon's model is that at no point are you asked to twist someone's arm to support your school. Everyone is treated with respect. This is not a gimmick. It is a thoughtful, systematic approach to educating people about your school."

Victoria Kennedy, Head of School
Bradford Christian Academy
Haverhill, Massachusetts

"It's obvious the residual impact of Benevon is making ripples through the country and beyond."

Clay Osburne, Vice President
Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation
Orlando, Florida

"Our first Ask Event was a smashing success! We raised over $305,000 from less than 200 people, and the feedback from the people who attended has been phenomenal and extremely positive. We are elated by the results."

Bruce Uditsky, CEO
Inclusion Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada