It is said that "there is no better teacher than experience," and with more than forty years in the field, Dennis is one of the rare fundraising executives who has had experience in all of the fundraising disciplines.
Dennis founded Meyer Partners in 1989 to provide strategic consulting and related services in fundraising and marketing to selected nonprofit organizations. The diversity of organizations served ranges from educational institutions to social service organizations, from health care providers to relief and development agencies.
Dennis' fundraising career began while a student at Concordia Teacher's College, Seward, Nebraska. Upon graduation he was named Development Officer, and later Associate Director of Development. Today, Dennis’ commitment to his alma mater (now Concordia University, Nebraska) continues through his volunteer service on the board of the Concordia University Foundation. He also served as co-chair of a recent $60 million capital campaign for Concordia and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2001.
Prior to starting Meyer Partners, Dennis served as National Director of Not-for-Profit Marketing for Epsilon Data Management, one of the nation’s leading database marketing companies. In that role, he was responsible for new business marketing and served as senior strategist and program director on numerous client programs. He is a recipient of Epsilon's Lifetime Achievement Award. His career also includes service as Director of Development for Lutheran Family Services of Iowa as well as Development Director at Bethesda Lutheran Communities in Wisconsin.
A charter Certified Fund Raising Executive, Dennis was a Founder of the Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE) and received its Lifetime Achievment Award in 2003. He is a past board member of the Chicago and Miami chapters of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals), and of the DMA's NonProfit Federation.
Presently, he serves as a board member of the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel and the Concordia University System. He is a frequent speaker at regional and national fundraising and marketing conferences.
An avid reader, Dennis stays abreast of current affairs impacting the nonprofit sector and tries to carve out time for the occasional historical novel.
Bonnie O’Neill Meyer, CFRE
Bonnie brings to her role more than 30 years of fundraising experience, with a special emphasis in multi-media approaches to new donor acquisition and development. Her expertise encompasses several facets of direct response fundraising, including copy writing and creative direction, market research, strategic planning, and comprehensive results analysis.
Prior to her association with Meyer Partners, Bonnie served as an account supervisor with the Russ Reid Company, one of the largest direct response fundraising agencies in the United States. During her tenure there, she managed fundraising campaigns incorporating television, radio, direct mail, telemarketing and print advertising. Formerly, she organized in-house training programs for Atlantic Richfield Company in Los Angeles. She also obtained a license from the Federal Communications Commission and held positions as a radio news editor, broadcaster and producer in Lancaster, California.
Bonnie is actively involved in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel, the Association of Lutheran Development Executives and the National Catholic Development Conference. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of direct response fundraising and the impact of great storytelling. Bonnie is a graduate of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, holding a bachelor's degree in sociology.
While her favorite moments are time spent with family and friends, including colleagues in business, Bonnie also enjoys travel, gardening and reading.
Steve Rusk, CFRE
Steve has been providing senior-level fundraising and direct marketing counsel to Meyer Partner clients since 2007. His history with the company dates back to 1993, when he was a client.
Steve says, “I am passionate about helping clients make a life-changing difference for the people they serve. As a small firm, we have the opportunity to work side-by-side with our clients to help them meet their goals.”
Steve has over 35 years of experience in advertising, marketing and fundraising. He is a recipient of numerous industry awards including the Direct Marketing Association's International Gold Echo Award, multiple recognitions from the annual Clio Awards Festival (advertising's Oscar), and five consecutive awards from the American Marketing Association of New York's EFFIE Awards for Advertising Effectiveness.
Steve began his career as an advertising copywriter and creative director, working for several agencies including Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson. Prior to joining Meyer Partners, Steve was a Vice President at Russ Reid Company in Pasadena, California for eight years, and preceding that tenure he was the Associate Director of Mission Giving at the Chicago headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Lutheran Development Executives and the National Catholic Development Conference.
When Steve isn’t working, he loves live music, movies and travel to places with warm weather.
Aaron has been in production management for 16 years, spending the last 10 at Meyer Partners. “The opportunity to see that what we are doing at Meyer Partners as we help people is very rewarding.” Aaron graduated from Illinois State University with a BS in Psychology. He is also a 2nd Wind Certified Agency Operations Manager.
When Aaron isn’t working he enjoys exploring Chicago, “museums, shows, movies, street festivals, etc. There is always something interesting & exciting happening here.”
Linda English brings 15 years of communications strategy and direct marketing project management experience to our production department. “The thing that I like best is that I am helping to generate funds to further causes that make the world a better place.”
A seasoned editor, copywriter and proofreader, Linda holds an MS in Marketing Communication from Roosevelt University, an MAT in Elementary Education from National Louis University and a B.A. from Northern Illinois University.
When Linda isn’t at work she celebrates the fact that so far, she has survived raising two teenage daughters! She is also an avid reader and enjoys traveling to the western part of the United States.
Bela has been with Meyer Partners since 2008. After earning a BFA in Communication Design, with an Advertising specialization, he has spent his years designing for many agencies—large and small; in the US and Europe. “I’ve been designing in the direct marketing field since the mid 90’s and working on many brands in a variety of agencies has given me good insight.”
“I take the experience and diversity I have gained from working on both B2B and B2C programs, including direct marketing for the airline industry, promotional material for auto and bank branch launches, and apply it to every project I work on for our non-profit clients.” Bela likes working in a smaller agency and describes it “as a breath of fresh air” after being part of large global agencies.
Bela loves to stay busy by traveling, camping and hiking, doing photography and participating in events for the Hungarian community.
John has been with Meyer Partners since 2009, helping to respond quickly and thoroughly to clients needs. “It’s nice knowing at the end of the day that the work you’ve done really is going to make a difference in the lives of others."
After studying Business Marketing and Advertising at the Greenspun School of Communications at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, John spent several years working on branding, campaign and direct marketing appeals in the entertainment and lifestyle sector in Las Vegas - including MGM Resorts, Wolfgang Puck, Palms Hotel and Casino as well as the Nevada Cancer Institute. In addition, before joining Meyer Partners John worked worked for a financial services division of GE Finance.
A member of DMA, AFP and ALDE, when John isn’t working he enjoys traveling and discovering new places and meeting new people; He also enjoys the theatre, concerts and spending time with his friends in his free time.
Alyssa Jefferies, CFRE
Alyssa brings to her role nearly ten years of experience in nonprofit management, marketing and fundraising. Prior to joining Meyer Partners, Alyssa served as Director of Donor Relations for JDRF International (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation); as Development Manager for PAWS Chicago; and as Development Associate for The Anti-Cruelty Society, Greater Chicago Area.
In her role with Meyer Partners, Alyssa provides expert marketing and fundraising solutions to advance the missions of an array of nonprofit client organizations. She notes: “I understand how critical a solid direct response program is for a nonprofit organization to feed the mid-level and major giving pipeline and increase net dollars for critical programs.”
Meyer Partners provides integrated multi-channel fundraising services to help nonprofit organizations move their missions forward. Services include: direct mail, email, digital marketing, fund development audits, analytics, and general fundraising consultation.
Alyssa is a graduate of North Park University with a Master’s degree in Non Profit Administration (MNA) and the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science.
Charity Abate, CFRE
Charity brings to her role more than sixteen years of experience in nonprofit management, marketing and fundraising.
Prior to joining Meyer Partners, Charity was with Russ Reid where she most recently managed the Rescue Mission accounts, providing strategic leadership for multi-channel fundraising and marketing, including middle/major donor programs.
In her role with Meyer Partners, Charity provides expert marketing and fundraising solutions to advance the mission of an array of nonprofit client organizations. She notes: “I am passionate about cultivating generosity. It is my great joy to help nonprofits acquire, retain and cultivate donors to advance their mission.”
Charity is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Business Administration. She received her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) certification in 2008 and has been an active member of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals. Charity has volunteered with several non-profits and served as a board member for a hospice operating in rural Kenya.
Jeanette has been at Meyer Partners since 2008. She graduated with a BA in Arts with Studio Art concentration from Colby College, Waterville, Maine, and has a Certificate in Graphic and Desktop Design from Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale.
She’s been designing for more than ten years. Jeanette enjoys the work she does for Meyer Partners. She brings passion and energy to the clients and their projects. “I take pride in creating work that is artistic and original, while still capable of delivering the intended message.” She likes to challenge herself to explore her creativity in every project.
Jeanette has lived in four different countries and speaks multiple languages. Jeanette lives in St. Charles, IL, with her husband and two children. In her free time, Jeanette likes to run and compete in triathlons.
Rita has worked with Meyer Partners as a copywriter since 2001. She earned a BA in Communication Arts from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and enjoys writing for various Meyer Partner clients. “I usually identify strongly with the mission of the accounts I write for and I like supporting them with my writing.”
Rita also enjoys traveling. She’s toured Europe by bicycle twice, once for six weeks, once for three weeks, and worked for a year in France between those trips. She also lived in Russia for a year shortly after perestroika, where her family served as missionaries.
When Rita is away from work she focuses on family and parenting. She’s also active in her church and serves on her local library board.