2021-2022 LACGP Officers

Patience Boudreaux, CSPG, CFRE

Planned Giving Officer
Loma Linda University Health

Patience Boudreaux is a Planned Giving Officer at Loma Linda University Health, a role which allows her to manage a portfolio of planned giving donors as well as support major gifts officers in their prospect management for planned gifts. Prior to Loma Linda, her career has been focused on higher education, particularly private liberal arts institutions. Patience earned her BA at Johns Hopkins University, her MBA from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, and is a certified specialist in planned giving.

Michele A. Bignardi, CFRE, CSPG

Senior Vice President
Netzel Grigsby Associates, Inc.

Michele is a senior vice president with Netzel Grigsby Associates who works with a variety of nonprofit organizations to enhance their fundraising strategies and increase the impact of their work. Michele has served as lead counsel on a number of successful feasibility studies and capital campaign projects. Michele trains and coaches both professional and volunteer fundraisers. She has been an instructor with the UCLA Fundraising Extension program. In additional to her involvement with LACGP, she is on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Orange County Chapter, and the Southern California Association of Healthcare Development. Michele holds a BA from San Francisco State University.

Immediate Past President
Mary O'Hare

Philanthropy Advisor

Mary O’Hare serves as a philanthropy advisor to nonprofits, allied industries and high net worth donors providing strategic planning and plan implementation, one-to-one counseling and educational programs to promote effective fundraising and giving. She joined the planned giving community in 2004 as an outgrowth of her passion for nonprofits. Prior to that she enjoyed a career emphasizing strategic counseling and education in the government and private sectors, including as Senior Vice President, heading up the Business and Legal Affairs group that she formed for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s five-company Digital Studios Division. Mary received her A.B. in communications from Stanford University and her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Christopher Cole, CSPG

Executive Director, Planned Giving
National Public Radio

Chris joined NPR in January of 2018 as Executive Director, Planned Giving. Based in California, Chris’s role primarily is to increase planned and major gifts through working with NPR donors, individual giving officers and member stations. Prior to joining NPR, Chris was the Executive Director of Philanthropy at Casa Colina Hospital in Pomona. He brings nearly 20 years of planned and major gift experience including work with organizations such as Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, World Vision and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Chris resides in Glendora, CA along with his wife, Alicia, two children, and two golden retrievers.

Jim Jacobs

Associate Director, Planned Giving
Claremont McKenna College

At Claremont McKenna College, Jim is responsible for identifying new alumni estate gifts, working with donors on life income gifts, managing special events for the legacy society, and serving as a liaison each year to the 50th reunion. Jim previously held positions at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and Occidental College. He studied at Northwestern University as an undergraduate and earned his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to being a past chair of WRPGC, Jim volunteers with the Big Ten Club of Southern California, the American Red Cross as a platelet donor (226 units and counting), La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church, and the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission.

Program Chair
Barbara Gunning, CSPG

Director, Major and Planned Gifts
LA Opera

Barbara Gunning is the Director, Major and Planned Giving at the LA Opera where she works with $100,000+ donors and on planned gifts. Formerly, she was the Regional Director of Advancement, Southern California and Arizona at Jesuits West, where she championed a $27 million capital campaign for renovations and expansion of the Jesuit Novitiate and the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center and Regis Infirmary. Barbara has also served as the Sr. Director of Advancement for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles; Director of Advancement, Major and Planned Giving, at Loyola High School; and a Sr. Financial Advisor for at Merrill Lynch, UBS Financial Services, and Dean Witter. Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree from Marymount College (which merged in 2003 with Fordham University) and is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving.

Partnership Chair
Kelsey Picken, CFRE, CSPG

Director, Planned Giving
Cook Children’s Health Care System

Kelsey Picken currently serves as Director of Planned Giving at the Cook Children’s Health Care System. Kelsey previously served as Senior Director of Planned Giving at City of Hope. Prior to joining City of Hope, Kelsey has focused her fundraising career in higher education and arts institutions in and around Los Angeles. In addition to planned giving, Kelsey has a variety of experience working in membership and annual giving, as well as in teaching at the undergraduate level. Kelsey graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in History and Psychology, received an M.A. from Western Illinois University in Museum Studies, and will graduate in 2021 with a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University. Kelsey is a Certified Fund Raising Executive.

Partnership Co-Chair
Steven Adamian, JD, CSPG

Assistant Vice President, Planned Giving
University of La Verne

Steven is currently the Senior Director of Planned Giving at University of La Verne. Prior to joining the University of La Verne, Steven practiced law, focusing in the areas of non-profit and tax law, estate planning, and litigation. He also taught contract drafting and legal research and writing as an adjunct law professor. Steven received his B.S. from Cal Poly Pomona and his J.D. from Loyola Law School.

Education Chair
Francine Lis

Development Director
American Jewish Committee

Francine is the Development Director at American Jewish Committee (AJC) LA. Prior to joining AJC in March 2020, she has held leadership positions in a variety of nonprofits including as Director of Planned Giving, Legacy and Endowments for Anti-Defamation League (ADL) LA; the Director of Annual Giving for USC Law; Associate Director of Development and Public Affairs at Hebrew Union College and Director of Member Services at Southern California Grantmakers. Francine received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA and earned a certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College and participated in the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies at Cal State Long Beach.

Marketing & Communications Chair

Andy Ragone

Integrated Marketing – West Coast Region U.S.A
Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

Making connections and building trust best describes Andy’s passion as a writer, speaker, leader, husband, and father. Andy comes to us with an executive, pastoral and digital-marketing background in the nonprofit arena. Upon earning his M.Div. (Master of Divinity) from Phoenix Seminary, Andy ventured out to learn the ins and outs of pastoring. This required finding the right people for the right roles, creating pathways to greater involvement and volunteerism, and developing future leaders for future expansion. As one of the champions of Integrated Marketing for Crescendo Interactive, Andy partners with clients to identify best practices which can move their efforts forward.

Marketing & Communications Co-Chair
Kimberly Jetton, MNM, CFRE

Orange Catholic Foundation

Kimberly serves as President of the Orange Catholic Foundation, located at the Christ Cathedral Campus in Garden Grove, California. Previous to her position in Orange County, she served as the Director of Planned Giving for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 5 years. She has worked in various roles in philanthropy over the years but finds Planned Gifts are the key to sustainability for nonprofits. Kimberly was named Planned Giving eMarketer of the Year in 2019 by Crescendo Interactive, and enjoys being a frequent presenter on advanced gift planning. She has a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.

Membership Chair
Grace L. Russak, CTFA

Senior Vice President, Regional Director
Northern Trust

Grace Russak is a Senior Vice President/Regional Director with Northern Trust’s dedicated Foundations & Institutional Advisors group. She advises Southern California and Nevada tax exempt organizations including foundations, endowments, nonprofit organizations and boards. Grace works with them to develop comprehensive, customized and innovative solutions; services include planned giving, education, training, investment management, performance reporting and custody services. Grace received an A.B. in History from Smith College and an M.B.A in Strategy from the Claremont Graduate University. She frequently speaks on topics related to wealth management, philanthropy and on topics relating to women.

Membership Co-Chair
Barbara Turman, CSPG

Director, Gift Planning
Academy Museum of Motion Picture

Barbara Turman is currently launching a gift planning program for the new Academy Museum - slated to open September 2021 - and the broader Academy. With more than twenty-two years of experience in fundraising, Barbara has expertise in gift planning, annual giving, leadership giving and membership, primarily in the field of education, including nine years at Cornell University. Prior to joining the Academy Museum, Barbara worked for Bill Nye at The Planetary Society in Pasadena. Barbara attended Emerson College and earned a BA at Temple University in Philadelphia, and she is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving.

Legislative Chair
Cynthia Hizami, JD

Director of Planned Giving, West Coast
Jewish National Fund

Cynthia Hizami is the Director of Planned Giving for the West Coast for Jewish National Fund, a non-profit which raises money in America for programs, projects and infrastructure in Israel. Over the course of her career, she has practiced as an attorney in many areas, including: estate and tax planning, business litigation, and civil litigation. Cynthia received her B.A. at Tulane University and her J.D. from Tulane Law School.

National Liaison
Janice Burrill, JD, CAP

Philanthropic Consultant
JB Consulting

Janice has served on the boards of many nonprofits both nationally and locally, including the Board of Directors of the National Committee on Planned Giving (now CGP) where she chaired the Public Affairs Committee which oversaw the “Leave a Legacy” national initiative. She is also past president of LACGP and former Chair of the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference. She is also a member of the Gift Planning Councils of Loyola Marymount University, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Catholic Education Foundation. She is an active volunteer and speaker within the philanthropic sector and participated in the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy.

Mentorship Chair
Robert W. Woolley

Senior Director of Development
Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association

Robert W. Woolley serves as the Senior Director of Development for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) where he connects donors with their passions for animal welfare, species conservation and education while stewarding GLAZA’s Selig Legacy Society.  During his 20 years as an advancement professional, Rob has also served as the lead fundraiser for the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, led the development of The Mirman School for Gifted Children’s professional development and communications programs, and strengthened annual giving and alumni association programs at Harvard-Westlake School and USC.  In addition to LACGP, Rob is currently the Development Committee Chair for the Tournament of Roses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association where Rob has served annually as a volunteer member since the 1996 Rose Parade.

Mentorship Co-Chair
Tanya Lopez

Director of Planned Giving

Tanya Lopez serves as the Director of Planned Giving for Cedars-Sinai Health System, where she oversees all facets of their planned giving program. She started her fundraising career in the political arena before transitioning to planned giving and has raised philanthropic support for non-profits in higher education and healthcare for more than 15 years, most of which has been in the field of planned giving. Tanya received her B.A. from the University of Houston and her J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. 

Conference Chair
Carí Jackson Lewis, JD, LL.M. (tax), CSPG, AEP, TEP

Director of Development, Gift Planning
Loyola Marymount University
Founder + Principal
California Philanthropic Consulting

Carí Jackson Lewis is the Director of Development, Gift Planning, at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and the Founder and Principal of California Philanthropic Consulting (CPC).  

Carí is a nonprofit, tax, and philanthropy strategist and a seasoned trusts and estates lawyer with over 20 years of experience in estate, tax, and charitable gift planning across diverse international, and domestic settings. At LMU, Carí manages a pipeline of individual donor prospects and serves as liaison and subject-matter expert to other development officers across campus as a critical component of University Advancement’s cross-campus collaboration and strategy development for prospects and major gift donors. Working with University leaders to implement a comprehensive development program, Carí engages and solicits planned giving prospects in order to support the University’s mission.

As Principal Advisor at CPC, Carí and her team partner with individuals and families, private foundations, businesses, and allied advisors to facilitate income, estate, and capital gains tax minimization and business exit/succession planning goals through both simple and sophisticated charitable giving vehicles; assist nonprofit staff in establishing and administering planned giving and legacy society programs, donor prospecting and stewardship programs; and use diversity, equity and social justice lenses to create connections and build relationships between nonprofits - including and especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)-led and BIPOC-serving nonprofit organizations - and donors in the private, public and philanthropic sectors. 

Carí is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (cm), an Accredited Estate Planner®, a member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners®, and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®.

Conference Co-Chair
Nancy Baxter, CIMA®

Planned Giving
Public Media Group of Southern California
Nancy Baxter is dedicated to aligning mission and vision for non-profits, families, and their financial assets.  She has over 25 years of experience structuring and managing family and philanthropic assets. Currently, she focuses on building asset-based giving including future gifts for public television in Southern California.  She holds a BA from The Colorado College, MBA from Claremont Graduate University, and the Certified Investment Management Analyst credential.

Debbie P. Bills, CSPG

Associate Vice President, Planned Giving

City of Hope

Debbie is the Associate Vice President for Planned Giving at City of Hope. She manages a team of frontline fundraisers, fostering the cultivation and solicitation of planned gifts. In addition, Debbie oversees the planned giving data management and reporting. With over 20 years of planned giving experience, Debbie has worked in various facets of Advancement. She served as the AVP for Advancement Services at Harvey Mudd College and Assistant Director of Gift Planning & Manager of Trusts and Bequests at the California Institute of Technology. She also directed the Gift Planning programs at The Webb Schools and Claremont Graduate University. Debbie holds a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving. She is a past president and former conference chair for the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners.

Tony Truong

Asst. VP for Advancement
University of Redlands

Tony is a philanthropy executive with two decades of experience across higher education, healthcare, social services, and the arts. He currently serves as Asst. VP for Advancement at the University of Redlands, overseeing major gifts, planned giving, and prospect research. He previously served at St. Jude Medical Center (Fullerton, CA), UC Riverside, and the Contemporary Austin (formerly the Austin Museum of Art). He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a past president of Charitable Gift Planners – Inland Southern California council. Tony lives in Riverside with four dogs and an indeterminate and varying number of fish.

Deb Johnson


Deb Johnson is a high-performance senior leader with over 20 years of experience managing non-profit organizations. She has the ability to drive change to improve organizational performance and management. Deb has a strong track record of success in motivating and developing volunteers while optimizing operational results. She is a self-directed professional that takes pride in the transformation of a vision into reality while building a sustainable foundation for continued success. When not in the office, you can find Deb traveling, dancing, kayaking or gardening.