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Testimonial

“[Access Philanthropy brings] a sense of confidence and calm coupled with an ability to understand complex systems and situations and an unfaltering patience in dealing with a range of players.  As a client I came away from each encounter with useful lessons by expert teachers.”

—Nan Skelton, Former Associate Director, Center for Democracy and Citizenship

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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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Roberta Worrell, Managing Director

Roberta (she/her) combines strategic marketing and corporate community affairs experience with hands-on nonprofit knowledge. She oversees Access Philanthropy’s business operations, and works closely with clients to help them stand out from the crowd by telling their story clearly and creatively.

  • 25 years of experience in corporate consumer and business-to-business marketing 
  • Held director-level positions at the Star Tribune in marketing and community affairs/grantmaking
  • Former nonprofit executive director
  • Experienced in strategic, development, and communications planning
  • Roberta loves helping organizations put their best foot forward with clear, strategic communications
  • Marketing expert, writer, editor and stickler for details

Roberta earned her MBA from the University of St. Thomas and has a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

 

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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).

Elaine Weber Nelson, Senior Advisor

Elaine (she/her) helps organizations zero in on their goals, create actionable plans, and achieve their dreams. With experience in strategic planning, grant writing, board and development officer training, planned giving, and executive coaching, Elaine understands how these critical functions contribute to organizational and fundraising success.   

  • Conducted multiple feasibility studies, and managed successful capital campaigns and annual campaigns
  • Trainer and presenter at numerous conferences and seminars
  • Served two terms on the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals
  • Elaine was an Adjunct Professor in the Carlson School of Management’s Marketing Department at the University of Minnesota for 15 years
  • She has an infectious laugh

Elaine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of St. Thomas and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

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.