LAURIE HERRICK, Founder and President

Laurie launched RAINMAKER Consulting in 2002. RAINMAKER's fundamental commitment is to creating a culture of philanthropy that leads to breakthroughs in fundraising and resource development. Over the past 30 years, she and the RAINMAKER team have provided services to hundreds of not-for-profit organizations.


Early in her career, Laurie was a successful business owner, running a multimillion-dollar wholesale distribution company. Her involvement in the not-for-profit world was initially focused on activism dedicated to ending the root causes of hunger and poverty.


Laurie Herrick is a veteran fundraiser and organizational development consultant. In this role she has provided fundraising training for boards and development professionals, coaching on capital campaigns and planned giving programs, executive coaching and strategic planning. Laurie has been responsible for raising tens of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S.


Laurie has her B.S. from Hartwick College in Oneonta NY and has learned much from her early fundraising mentors Lynne Twist and Terry Axelrod of Benevon. Additionally, she was trained by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Al Gore in climate change and Muhammad Yunus in the Grameen Bank microlending model. She established Syracuse, New York's first microlending program.


In her spare time Laurie likes to blow glass, run and hike wherever she goes, and spend time with her family.



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BETH SPONG, Vice President

Beth Spong, RAINMAKER Consulting Vice President, has been generating fundraising breakthroughs in the nonprofit domain for 30 years. She has led in a variety of roles: founder, development director, chief operating officer, executive director, leadership coach and consultant.


Beth has served in the fields of political advocacy, education, women's wellness and foster care innovation, so she leads from experience in the trenches. As Executive Director of MotherWoman, Beth tripled annual revenue and led the organization’s growth from local impact to a national force for maternal mental health. Additionally, 
she served as Interim Development Director for National Priorities Project, and Chief Operating Officer of the Treehouse Foundation. In every case, Beth’s expertise and vision have been central to increasing regional and national profile and significantly expanding revenue. Beth has a proven record of both raising millions of dollars and coaching nonprofit leaders and boards to successfully reach their fundraising goals.


Prior to becoming a consultant, Beth was a very successful business owner in complementary health care and a highly respected national trainer of medical professionals. Beth brings passion, and insight to her work. Known for her wit and wisdom as a presenter, Beth is committed to the power of joyful philanthropy.


She is an avid cyclist, a novice tri-athlete, a lover of art and gardening, and madly in love with her awesome, quirky husband.



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ERIC PHELPS, Principal

A Principal in RAINMAKER Consulting, Eric brings more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit management, encompassing executive leadership, fundraising, human resources, program development, conference planning and strategic oversight.


Prior to joining RAINMAKER, Eric served as Vice President of Development for VentureWell, a national nonprofit supporting university inventors and innovators throughout the country. During his tenure Eric was part of a team that increased annual revenue from $4 million to $10 million. Eric collaborated with the senior leadership more than $30 million, including new funding from the National Science Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Intel Foundation and USAID. Prior to VentureWell, Eric was Director of the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy (JCamp 180), a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in Western Massachusetts.


Eric has also served as Executive Director of the New Art Center, Executive Director of VSA arts of Georgia and Development Director of IMAGE Film & Video Center. Eric has consulted with numerous nonprofits in organizational development, board development, fundraising strategy and strategic planning. Eric is the author of "If Money Can Fix it (It's Not The Problem)" due to be published in spring of 2017.


Eric holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a degree in American Sign Language from Georgia Perimeter College. Eric enjoys writing music, reading, cycling and spending time with his family. Known for his extraordinary results, kindness and creative wit, Eric puts the "zing!" in fundraising!



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DAVID SHARKEN, Principal

For nearly thirty years David Sharken has served as a leader in a variety of organizational settings in roles such senior executive, organizational development consultant, executive coach, senior director for two private national foundations as well as active board member for a number of nonprofits.


Before joining RAINMAKER Consulting, David was Director of Partnerships for The Proteus Fund, leading a team to raise $12 Million annually for grants to fund progressive social action. From 2006-2013, David was the director of the Camp Legacy Initiative and mentor for the Grinspoon Foundation's JCAMP 180. Before his foundation work, David served for thirteen years as Executive Director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. He has consulted with nonprofits and small businesses and provided strategic guidance to successful major donor campaigns ranging from $500,000 to $18 million. He has been a keynote speaker, trainer and presenter on topics of nonprofit management, diversified fundraising, board governance, strategic planning and program development.


David earned a BA in Organizational Development from the University of Michigan and holds a master's degree from Claremont Graduate School in Public Policy Analysis. He lives in Amherst with his partner, Acupuncturist Verena Smith, has two young adult children and is the proud "Babu" of a spunky granddaughter.



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