John Davis Bidwell
John Davis Bidwell is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) with a 20-year record of accomplishments in creating and directing strategies that increase engagement and achieve business goals. I am a creative coach, mentor, and advocate with success in business development, expansion, brand awareness, fundraising, and marketing.
My super strengths include strategy, communications, and building strong relationships. I drive operational improvements and resolve seemingly intractable problems. These include leading a merger, expanding programs, increasing donations, navigating a pandemic, implementing novel digital solutions, and creating impactful marketing garnering over 50 awards. I’ve co-authored and edited two award-winning books about remarkable, inspirational women.
My leadership roles include serving as Executive Director of United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region, Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy at Baystate Health, and President of Bidwell ID, a marketing firm I founded and ran for 12 years.
My passion is helping businesses and organizations be their best, communicate their value, and inspire others.
In my free time, you will find me outdoors, traveling or exercising with family and friends.
Michael DeChiara is a Rainmaker with a strong commitment to social justice and provided volunteer guidance on local and statewide political initiatives involving such issues as the environment, gender identity, education, broadband, library support and progressive taxation. He uses his knowledge of communications, organizing and political systems to activate people and mobilize communities.
Michael has a breadth and depth of non-profit experience after working in the non-profit sector for 37 years. He worked for national, statewide and regional organizations. He served as Executive Director of two statewide Massachusetts organizations and worked in the field of environment, public health, food systems and homelessness. Michael understands the world of nonprofit funding, having been a program officer for the United Way and for the regional community foundation. Michael developed and coordinated a nonprofit capacity building program for non-profits that provided training and grants to organizations seeking to initiate organizational change. Michael has provided consulting to non-profits on a full and part-time basis since 2008.
Michael had a parallel career in the public sector, serving as a local elected official for 16 years. He was elected to his town’s Select Board and School Committee, and currently serves on the Planning Board and is Chair of the Energy and Climate Action committee. He has been engaged in various multi-town and regional initiatives and is familiar with the workings of small sized municipal governments.
Michael has a strong commitment to social justice and provided volunteer guidance on local and statewide political initiatives involving such issues as the environment, gender identity, education, broadband, library support and progressive taxation. He uses his knowledge of communications, organizing and political systems to activate people and mobilize communities.
Michael is recognized for his strong strategic sensibility, his understanding of community work, his knowledge of program design, and the strategic use of technology and communications. Michael’s consulting is driven by a desire to help organizations be as effective as possible to advance their missions to improve the world.
Laurie Herrick has a passion for the nonprofit world that began with activism around ending hunger and poverty and led to excellence in coaching and training leadership teams. She’s an adept listener and in her leisure time, a lover of outdoor adventures and sports.
I am committed to spreading the word that mindset is our superpower and if we embrace it we have the power to heal the world. I founded Rainmaker in 2002 to help nonprofit organizations build a Culture of Philanthropy and to cause breakthroughs in the ways they think, plan, collaborate, relate to supporters, lead, and fundraise.
fundraising consultant and entrepreneur I have over twenty years experience in the not-for-profit sector. The emphasis of my work is creating fundraising breakthroughs by empowering leaders to build a healthy Culture of Philanthropy within their organizations. It is through fostering this culture shift that I fulfill my personal mission to make positive social change.
Before founding Rainmaker, I ran a multimillion-dollar wholesale distribution company, and my involvement with the not-for-profit world was focused primarily on activism dedicated to ending the root causes of hunger and poverty. I’m now a veteran fundraiser and organizational development consultant, and I believe deeply in the power of coaching. I’ve provided fundraising training for boards and development professionals, coaching on capital campaigns and planned giving programs, and executive coaching and strategic planning. My work has helped raise tens of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations across the country.
For the last 10 years, my portfolio has also included providing similar services to Jewish overnight and day camps through my role as a mentor with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s JCamp180 program. One aspect of that work includes leading a program called GIFT, a year-long class for development professionals. GIFT evolved when we saw that a team of professionals and board members could cause a quantum leap forward in establishing a Culture of Philanthropy if they collaborated and intentionally built it together. We named GIFT’s new iteration GIFT Leadership Institute for teams committed to this transformational experience.
I hold a bachelor’s degree from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, and learned much from early fundraising mentors Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, and Terry Axelrod, who created Benevon. I am honored to have been trained by two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates: Al Gore in climate change, and Muhammad Yunus in the Grameen Bank micro-lending model.
When I’m not working as a Rainmaker, I like to blow glass, run, hike, swim, and spend time with my family. I also practice what I preach, working with a coach of my own to stay fit and compete in sports.
Ruby Maddox (she/her) is a Purpose Coach, strategic consultant, and facilitator, dedicated to helping individuals cultivate their potential for meaningful contributions to society. In her eighteen years of nonprofit strategy and community engagement experience, Ruby founded three successful initiatives: Gardening the Community, a BIPOC led food security and environmental justice organization in Springfield, MA, Leaders of the Free World, an international experiential learning and leadership development program for Black men, and Direct Your Purpose, a practice that helps individuals and organizations move from aspiration to action toward their goals.
Ruby is the former director of LEEP Projects; a student innovation and entrepreneurship program at Clark University and she served as a business mentor at Valley Venture Mentors, a business accelerator program in her hometown of Springfield, MA. Ruby has a Masters in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University and Bachelors in Public Policy and Urban Communities from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. She served as a consultant to the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts and Multicultural BRIDGE, a “Berkshire-based grassroots organization dedicated to catalyzing change and integration through promoting mutual respect and understanding”.
Maya Paley served as a thoughtful and effective leader on equity and social justice in the nonprofit sector for two decades. Her skills include organizational development, strategic planning, and visioning, program development and evaluation, fund development, facilitation, and leadership coaching. Maya is also a speaker, panelist, and trainer on sexual violence prevention, gender equity, economic justice, and equity in the workplace.
Before becoming a Rainmaker, Maya served as the Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement for the National Council of Jewish Women of Los Angeles for 8.5 years. There she founded and launched the Advocacy Training Project, which trained hundreds of community members in how to advocate for legislation, and Change the Talk, a peer-to-peer sexual violence prevention program that reached thousands of teens throughout LA County. Maya was on the Executive Committee for the LA Coalition for Reproductive Justice and on the Steering Committee for the CA Work and Family Coalition for several years. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of California, serving as the Co-Chair of the Development Committee and as a member of the DEI and Finance Committees. She also trains on volunteer engagement, policy advocacy, and coalition-building for the Center for Nonprofit Management.
Maya has BoardSource’s Certificate of Nonprofit Consulting and is a Certified Coach through the Goldvarg Consulting Group. Maya earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University with a concentration on economic and political development and a focus on gender and migration. She received the Outstanding Woman Leader Award from the City of Santa Monica in 2018 and the Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood in 2019. Maya is also a mom to two little ones, a home bath product maker, a lifelong new language learner, and a lover of good tea and chocolate.
Eric Phelps is a Rainmaker who can crack a joke or turn a phrase, but his heart and mind are committed to the intricacies of executive leadership. His experience includes work with numerous nonprofits, foundations, and businesses across a wide variety of sectors.
I like to say I’m committed to putting the “zing” in “fundraising.” My ability to do so comes from my more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit management – in executive leadership, fundraising, human resources, program development, conference planning, and strategic oversight.
Prior to joining Rainmaker, I served as Vice President of Development for VentureWell of Hadley, Massachusetts. During my tenure, I was part of a team that increased annual revenue from $4-$12 million. And I collaborated with senior leadership to help secure more than $30 million, including new funding from the National Science Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Intel Foundation, and USAID.
I have also served as Director of the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy (JCamp 180), a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in western Massachusetts. Other roles have included Executive Director of the New Art Center of Newton, Massachusetts; Executive Director of VSA arts of Georgia, and Development Director of IMAGE Film & Video Center/Atlanta Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
I’ve consulted with numerous nonprofits in organizational development, board development, fundraising strategy, capital campaign and major donor campaign management, and strategic planning in sectors that include arts, environment, land use and conservation, education, the Deaf community, the Jewish community, and social services. I have conducted trainings for the Community Foundation of Western MA, Mass Nonprofit Network, Essex Community Foundation, and Women in Philanthropy.
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a degree in American Sign Language from Georgia Perimeter College. I enjoy songwriting, reading, cycling, and spending time with my family.
Cathy Samuels provides development counsel, executive coaching, and strategic advising with Rainmaker. She has extensive experience in the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors in business development and fundraising. During her tenure as Chief Development Officer of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center she increased the annual fundraising total from $2M to $10M (a 500% increase) and created a successful annual fundraising event, “The Big Night.” In this role she had responsibility for managing a team of 6 development staff and 5 marketing staff.
Prior to the JCC, Cathy worked at the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital Foundation as a Development Specialist where she was taught the fundamentals and tools of development as part of one of the nation’s largest and most successful hospital systems. In her career Cathy utilized her extensive experience as a department store buyer to open her own gift and toy retail store. She holds a BA in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.
David Sharken is a Rainmaker with a diverse background in nonprofit leadership. He’s steady, thorough, and leads with clear vision, skill, and experience. David relishes being outdoors in all seasons and loves being a grandparent.
I led a variety of organizations in roles including executive director, development and program director, organizational development consultant, and executive coach. Additionally, I’ve served as senior director for two private national foundations as well as an active board member for a number of nonprofits.
Prior to joining Rainmaker, I was the director of partnerships for a national foundation, The Proteus Fund in Amherst, Massachusetts, and director of the Camp Legacy Initiative and mentor for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s JCamp180. As executive director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts for 12 years, the organization grew from a staff of 12 and a $1 million budget to a 45-member team with an $8 million budget, and I helped create The Food Bank Farm and other innovative programs that received national acclaim.
After providing strategic guidance to successful major donor campaigns ranging from $500,000 to $18 million, I believe that fundraising campaigns can not only raise necessary dollars, but can elevate organizations to new heights through clear vision, effective leaders, and developing strong relationships with donors.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational development from the University of Michigan and hold a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate School in Public Policy Analysis.
I live in Amherst with my partner, acupuncturist Verena Smith. We have seven adult children and I am “babu” for six grandkids. My hobbies include cross-country skiing, biking, and foraging for wild mushrooms and other edibles.
Beth Spong is a well-regarded catalyst for change with an extensive history as a nonprofit leader, entrepreneur, and trainer. She is witty, insightful, and accomplished in all her pursuits.
I’ve been a leader in the nonprofit domain for 30 years, first as a board member and volunteer, and then as a professional, in roles that include founder, development director, chief operating officer, executive director, leadership coach, and consultant. Experience in the trenches and on the mountaintops of nonprofit management allow me to consult and coach others from an informed point of view.
Before becoming a Rainmaker consultant, I owned a successful complementary health care business and was a respected national trainer of medical professionals. As executive director of MotherWoman in Hadley, Massachusetts, from 2008 to 2013, I launched a fundraising program, tripled annual revenue, and led the organization into national recognition in maternal mental health. At The Care Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in the director of donor relations seat, I had the opportunity to partner with my colleague, Laurie Herrick, in managing a year-round donor engagement program and legendary annual event.
My ongoing work with Treehouse in Easthampton, Massachusetts, has been a catalyst to triple the donor base, double organizational revenue, and increase impact and visibility from the local to national level.
I bring passion and insight to my coaching, and wit and wisdom as a presenter. I believe in nonprofit excellence to change the world, and the power of joyful philanthropy to make that possible. These qualities, combined with expertise and vision, have been central to increasing regional and national profiles and significantly expanding revenue.
A proud graduate of Mount Holyoke College, I’m an avid cyclist, a novice triathlete, and a lover of art, singing, and gardening. And I’m madly in love with my awesome, kind, and quirky husband, David Burton.