Kerry Watterson co-founded Fundraising Well in 2015 with a mission to build nonprofit leadership capacity and philanthropic partnerships to maximize positive impact for social good. Throughout his 24-year career securing more than $450,000,000 for nonprofits, political campaigns, and commercial ventures, Kerry learned that small enhancements to leadership and team skills were the best catalysts for explosive success. This idea drives the work of Fundraising Well and its focus on equipping nonprofits with stronger leadership and teams through coaching, search, and change management.
Kerry honed his fundraising and leadership prowess through years of inhouse service to leading nonprofit organizations. He was the Senior Director of Philanthropy with Year Up, where he worked with a nationwide principal gifts team that launched and successfully closed a $245,000,000 three-year capital campaign. At the New York Civil Liberties, Kerry piloted a collaborative portfolio management program with the ACLU to double the major gifts revenue raised in the state of NY by the two sister organizations over a two year period. He developed an international corporate partnership and major gifts portfolio with Kaplan Educational Foundation - with donors in the US, UK, Australia, and Singapore. Other inhouse posts include leadership roles with Thrive Scholars, The Barrow Group Theatre & School, York Theatre Company, and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Through Fundraising Well, Kerry has helped organizations increase revenue by doubling their number of six- and seven-figure donors, establishing successful partnership programs with Fortune 500 companies, and managing executive leadership transitions. He has also helped philanthropic families direct more than $25,000,000 in investments for the nonprofit and social enterprise sector.
In addition to his career in fundraising and philanthropy, Kerry has been a classroom educator and built training programs and education sites around the world. He has also produced, directed, and cast musicals and plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and around the country, and has, himself, graced the stage and screen a few times.
Kerry teaches Fundraising Models and Resource Development with University of California-Irvine and continues to lecture regularly on public-private partnerships, impact investing, leadership behaviors and development, and ethical fundraising. He serves on the Board of Directors for A Call To Men, and formerly held board positions with New York Theatre Barn, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) NYC, and AFP USA Political Action Committee, leading lobbying and advocacy efforts for the fundraising profession and field of philanthropy in New York and throughout the United States. Additionally, Kerry holds the distinction of being a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
The Mortar Board Alumni Association honored Kerry in 2018 with the National Service Award for his leadership and impact in the nonprofit sector, raising the funds that brought about federal recognition of same sex marriages via the historic SCOTUS case, United States v Windsor, and advancing economic and racial justice through dozens of causes.
Kerry received his B.A. from Texas Wesleyan University and earned two master’s degrees: M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Arizona, and M.S. in Financial Planning and Analysis. He is also a two-time champion with the New York Gay Football League. You can connect with Kerry on LinkedIn.