Over the course of her career, Sarah has created and steered multifaceted development programs, raising tens of millions of dollars from local state and national foundations, government grant programs, and individuals. Her ability to integrate brand-building and storytelling with development—and design programs as well as proposals—have helped her achieve results on multiple worthwhile projects.
Fresh Energy Fundraising Leadership
As Deputy Executive Director of Fresh Energy, Sarah played a leading role in helping this energy policy organization double in size, growing from a $2 million budget in 2013 to over $5 million in 2022.
She was responsible for all revenue and fundraising strategy, with a special focus on institutional fundraising, which made up 85% of the organization budget.
Her specific development activities included: long- and short-term development planning; supervising and managing the growth of the development team, programmatic funder/foundation relationships including funder identification, approach strategy, pitch preparation, proposal and report development; donor communications including fundraising letters, annual reports, and slide decks; interface between fundraising and finance and accounting; and use of revenue for staffing, programmatic expansion, and achievement of overall organizational vision.
Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Trail System
As contract staff director for Lower Phalen Creek Project, Sarah worked with partner organizations to raise more than $4 million to transform a contaminated rail yard with unique ecology and deep Dakota significance into a vibrant City of Saint Paul park that is widely recognized as a model for innovative community-driven redevelopment.
She played a leading role in securing federal, state, regional, and private philanthropic funds to conduct soil remediation, ecosystem restoration, cultural and ecological interpretation, and public education. She launched the organization's individual giving program, which included print and online appeals, major donor focus groups, and capital campaign design.
In related work, Sarah led acquisition of federal and state funds for a bicycle and pedestrian trail link connecting the sanctuary and adjacent regional trail systems into the downtown district, greatly enhancing its value as a commuting corridor.
Contract Development Work
Sarah has helped nonprofits with an array of development needs, from individual fundraising projects, program expansions, and capital campaigns to contracting over multiple years to fill an ongoing development role.
Her current and past clients include Community Homestead, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Osceola Medical Center, Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, and St. Croix River Association.