Meet Your Co-Chairs
Robert F. Sharpe Jr.
Robert F. Sharpe, Jr. is a nationally recognized leader and authority in the field of philanthropy. During more than three decades of service to thousands of America’s nonprofits, he has consulted with educational, health, social service, arts and religious organizations and institutions in the planning and implementation of their major, planned gift and endowment development efforts. He has mentored many of the nation’s leading nonprofit executives whose efforts have raised tens of billions of dollars that have helped fuel the transformation of the American experience.
An honors graduate of Vanderbilt University and Cornell Law School, he served as a development officer for a liberal arts college prior to practicing law with a major law firm specializing in taxation and estate planning.
Robert has been a pioneer in the area of “blended gifts” beginning in 1995 when he coined the term as part of a presentation at the national conference of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGA).
Robert is chair of the philanthropy editorial board of Trusts & Estates magazine and co-author of the CGP Model Standards of Gift Valuation. He has served on the board of Giving USA and on a number of strategic task forces for the CGP. He currently serves as an Advisory Council member for the Alliance for Charitable Reform in its efforts to preserve and expand favorable tax treatment for charitable gifts.
Shannon Woodward is the senior philanthropic advisor for Tulane University. She has 11 years of corporate management experience and over a decade of major and principal gift work in higher education. Four years ago she was entrusted by Tulane's executive vice president to create, implement and manage the new Office of Gift Planning for the university, which integrated major and planned gifts and changed the development culture at Tulane. She holds a principal gift portfolio, works directly with senior university leadership and creates philanthropic plans for complex high-level gifts from donors throughout the United States.
Woodward is active with several civic and charitable organizations. She offers consulting and training for various nonprofit agencies and is a regular presenter on blended giving and the power of the three part ask to both philanthropic and financial professionals.
Woodward attended the University of Mississippi and is a graduate of Tulane University.
Ashley Buderus has worked in the field of advancement for over 15 years. Since joining the Aspen Leadership Group in 2018, she has focused her attention on executive search for leaders in higher education, arts and cultural organizations, health care, and social and community services.
Ashley most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer for Quarterly Forum, a non-partisan, not-for-profit leadership organization that educates and empowers Colorado’s most influential community leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She previously led the gift planning program for Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation, one of the nation's top children's hospitals, during their $400 million campaign. In addition, she served in a variety of major and planned giving positions for the University of Denver (DU), during their $500 million comprehensive campaign. One of her primary strengths is bringing together major, annual, planned, and corporate giving teams to enhance fundraising efforts at all levels.
Ashley has frequently presented at regional and national conferences, including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, and the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable. She is active in several local community initiatives, including serving on El Pomar Foundation’s Trustee Council and Metro Regional Council.
Shari Fox joined the University of Illinois Foundation in July 2014 and has senior responsibility for the principal gifts and gift planning programs across the three universities comprising the University of Illinois System. She also coordinates the University of Illinois System President's advancement activities.
Prior to joining the University of Illinois, she was assistant vice president for development at the University of Michigan, where she had senior responsibility for the Office of Gift Planning, Stewardship and Donor Relations, the faculty and staff campaign, and several constituent fundraising programs. She previously served as director of gift planning with the University of Cincinnati Foundation and began her career in banking and trust administration.
Fox is a past chair and former board member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and a past president of the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council. She has served on the faculty of the Planned Giving Institute at University of Richmond and on the Editorial Advisory Board for the monthly newsletter Planned Giving Today. She is also a fellow of the Advancement Leadership Academy.
She received her bachelor's degree in business administration with a major in finance from Miami University and her master's degree in business administration with a concentration in management from Xavier University.
Tia Graham is Senior Director of Philanthropy for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Her professional experience has spanned the areas of accounting, law and philanthropy. The intersection between the three disciplines has been absolutely rewarding. Graham’s work in philanthropy has touched higher education, medical research, community philanthropy and now public media.