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About Us

What clients say about us

“Access Philanthropy provided our development staff with a customized workshop to familiarize us with a variety of national foundations. It was extremely useful in helping us think strategically as we expand our grantseeking efforts to include more regional and national funders.”

—Jill Schoer, VP of Development, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
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Meet the Access Philanthropy team

Steve Paprocki, President

Steve (he/him) has spent his entire professional career in philanthropy – as a foundation director, fundraiser, trainer, donor consultant, author, researcher, and lobbyist. He knows his stuff. He draws on his diverse experience and extensive network to help nonprofits meet the right people, at the right time, and meet their goals.

  • 45+ years of philanthropic experience
  • Former program officer and foundation advisor
  • Extensive experience working across the U.S. and internationally
  • Author of over two dozen books and directories on foundations and corporate giving programs
  • Steve taught philanthropy, fundraising and communications in business and nonprofit undergraduate and graduate degree programs
  • Former research director for national and regional philanthropy think tanks

Steve has a Master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute and a Bachelors’ degree from the University of St. Thomas.  


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Gail Morrison, Director of Operations and Client Relations

Gail (she/her) brings more than 30 years of experience building and strengthening community partnerships to her role at Access Philanthropy. With experience in city government, plus staff and policy roles in K-12 education and workforce development, she understands the power of a compelling vision and the need for strategic partnerships. Gail appreciates our community’s vibrant nonprofit sector and enjoys helping organizations raise the money they need to perform their important work.

  • Former executive director of a college foundation
  • Keeps everyone at Access Philanthropy on task
  • Has a “no job too big or too small” attitude

Gail received her Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and her Bachelors’ degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse.

Walken Schweigert, Database Director

While Walken (he/him) is first a performer, composer and director from St. Paul. He is also our unsung hero in maintaining and managing the Access Philanthropy funder database. He manages a small team of people who research, update and add funder profiles to what is considered the most comprehensive and affordable database of Minnesota funders available. 

  • Founder and artistic director of Open Flame Theatre, an all queer/trans ensemble that creates surrealist and queer-centered work
  • 2019 Jerome Foundation Fellow
  • Kind-hearted and intensely creative
  • Would win every time if funder information was a Trivial Pursuit game category

Walken is a 2009 graduate of the Dell’Arte International School for Physical Theatre, and a 2006 graduate of the Perpich Center for Arts Education (Theatre Major).

Jo Seton, Senior Writer

After successful careers as a librarian, arts administrator, ESL teacher, and college professor, Jo (she/her) threw herself headlong into the world of nonprofits several years ago and loves its multiple challenges! As a former nonprofit executive director, she has experience with just about every nonprofit function – grant writing, communications, program development, financial management, and more.

  • Expert at turning gobbledygook in language funders and donors can understand
  • Tenacious about making sure clients meet funder deadlines and submit only high quality grant proposals
  • Jo hails from Australia and loves exploring new places across the globe

Jo holds a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University; a Master of Arts from Exeter University; a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and TESOL and Librarianship diplomas. 

Mike Newman, Senior Advisor

Mike (he/him) is a seasoned professional in the philanthropic arena – as a fundraiser, corporate foundation leader and employee engagement professional. Retiring from Traveler’s led the way to consulting for nonprofit organizations. He has experience working in the public, nonprofit and private sectors – with state, national and global expertise.

  • Experience in grantmaking, volunteer program management and organizational development
  • Former vice president of the Traveler’s Foundation
  • Held positions at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Hennepin County Social Services and United Way
  • Mike’s calm demeanor marks his roles as trainer and facilitator
  • Remains well-connected to the local philanthropic community, especially in the East Metro area

Sea Thomas, Database & IT Assistant

Sea Thomas (they/them) is a dancer, performer, and wearer of many hats who has recently relocated in Minneapolis. They bridge the gap between the front and back end of the database, working closely with clients and staff to keep everything running smoothly. 

  • Experienced in social media, communications, artistic administration, and production
  • Sea is only 23, making them the youngest person on staff at Access Philanthropy 

Sea earned their BA Mount Holyoke College in dance and critical performance studies in May 2019.