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Certificate in Nonprofit Fundraising - Instructor Bios

Amy Erekson Varga, M.A.

Amy Erekson Varga, M.A. is a seasoned professional with sixteen years experience working in higher education and nonprofit administration. Key areas of responsibility have included fundraising, large-scale event planning, strategic planning, alumni and community relations. Amy teaches graduate level courses in fundraising strategy in Portland State's Masters of Public Administration program, as well as teaches the core Fundraising Fundamentals course in the PSU/WVDO Certificate in Nonprofit Fundraising and acts as the Program Manager for the partnership.

In 2006, Amy helped create the Fundraising & Grant Management Certificate program at Portland Community College in partnership with Willamette Valley Development Officers in which she teaches the core fundraising course each term. Amy has also maintained a small consulting practice since 2008. Amy holds a masters degree from Santa Clara University and a bachelors degree from Willamette University. 


Caryl Zenker, Vice President of Development, Oregon Coast Aquarium

Caryl Zenker has an extensive professional background in development and marketing in the Pacific Northwest. Zenker’s broad career includes fund-raising for TVW, a state-of-the-art television facility in Olympia, Wash.; development director for Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center in Seattle and assistant station manager for marketing and development for Seattle’s National Public Radio station KPLU. She earned prior experience working with the Tacoma and Seattle Art Museums, City of Tacoma and the 1989 Washington Centennial Commission. 

Zenker was born in New York City, received a B.A. in liberal arts from The Evergreen State College, Olympia; completed courses at the Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington; has a Certificat de la Langue Francaise, La Sorbonne, Paris, and attended the Pushkin Institute, Moscow and Leningrad.  She has completed professional training in grant writing and fund raising management.


Tobey E. Goldfarb, J.D., LL.M.                                 
An attorney by training, Tobey has always been drawn to social justice work. Over time, she found that the structured, persuasive writing of legal briefs and memoranda could be humanized and translated into a key piece of successful non-profit fundraising strategies. As demand for this skill set continues to grow, Tobey has carved out a consulting niche helping community-based organizations tell their stories to funders and supporters in compelling ways. She has worked with local, national and international organizations – including Bridge Meadows, YWCA and Women for Women International – to communicate impact, build relationships and inspire ongoing engagement. Tobey has an LL.M. from American University's Washington College of Law, a J.D. from California Western School of Law, and a B.A. from the College of Wooster. She is also a certified Community Mediator and Domestic Violence Advocate and a member of the State Bar of California.


Lori Sweeney, Senior Director of Development, OHSU Foundation

Lori has worked in development for almost 30 years with experiences ranging from her undergraduate alma mater, Whitworth University, to a prep school in Brentwood, California to Oregon State and OHSU Foundations. Lori holds a M.Ed. from UCLA. She is a native Oregonian who knows the broad landscape of fundraising in this region and is enthusiastic about development. She is the proud (and harried) mother of a teenage boy.


Sally Dadmun Bixby, MAT

Not long after receiving her Master's in teaching degree Sally discovered her love for philanthropy, and in 1988 she began working in the nonprofit sector. Her experience over the past 20 years includes working with organizations serving children, the arts, environmental causes, social services, healthcare, housing, and more.  Sally is an experienced speaker and presenter at workshops and seminars on nonprofit fund development and management. As a consultant, she combines her skills as a teacher, manager, and proven fundraiser to help others build successful, sustainable development programs.


Amanda Jarman, Principal, Fundraising Nerd

As the Principal of Fundraising Nerd, Amanda assists nonprofits of all sizes, providing expertise in database management, prospect development (prospect research, relationship management and analytics), and custom analytics projects. Amanda honed her expertise in data management, analytics, prospect research, and relationship management during her 15 years of experience in nonprofit administration. Before launching Fundraising Nerd, Amanda served in various fundraising data-related positions at Portland State University, most recently as Assistant Vice President for Advancement Services. She was also Associate Director of Advancement Services at Lewis & Clark College. Her experience prior to higher education was with smaller non-profits, including the Safeplace domestic violence shelter and the Olympia Food Co-op. This experience ignited Amanda’s passion for scaling big shop tools and techniques to fit shops of all sizes. 

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