BOARD OF DIRECTORS

KIMBERLY O. DENNIS, CHAIRMAN
President & CEO, Searle Freedom Trust
Kim Dennis has served as president and CEO of the Searle Freedom Trust, a grantmaking foundation established by the late Daniel C. Searle to support public policy research, since 1996. For five of those years, she also directed the National Research Initiative, a Searle-funded program of AEI. Kim first began working in the grantmaking arena in 1980 as a staffer for the John M. Olin Foundation, and later became the first executive director of the Philanthropy Roundtable. She co-founded and serves as chairman of the board of DonorsTrust. She has also served on the boards of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the W. H. Brady Foundation, the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Property and Environment Research Center, and George Mason University.
JAMES PIERESON, VICE CHAIRMAN
President, William E. Simon Foundation
James Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation located in New York City. The foundation has broad charitable interests in education, religion, and problems of youth. Jim is also a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute in New York where he is director of the Center for the American University. Jim was executive director and trustee of the John M. Olin Foundation from 1985 until the end of 2005 when, following longstanding plans, the foundation disbursed its remaining assets and closed its doors. Jim is the author of several book including Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter Books, 2007). He serves on the boards of several other tax exempt institutions, including: The Pinkerton Foundation, the TWS Foundation, the Center for Individual Rights, The Philanthropy Roundtable, the Foundation for Cultural Review, and Donors Trust. Jim earned a B.A. degree (1968) and a Ph.D. degree (1973) in Political Science from Michigan State University. He lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with his wife, Patricia, and son.
LAWSON R. BADER
President and CEO, DonorsTrust
Since 2015, Lawson Bader serves as president and CEO of DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. Before coming to DonorsTrust, he amassed twenty years’ experience leading free-market research and advocacy groups including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He began his career in DC in as special assistant at the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, then worked as a legislative analyst/paralegal with Pierson, Semmes & Finley, and managed government relations at SRI International. He is a former weekly columnist with Human Events, and is a current member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council and is a Kiplinger contributor. He serves on the governing boards of Atlas Network, State Policy Network, and Oakseed Ministries International. Lawson earned a BA in political science from Wheaton College (IL) and an MA in public policy from The Johns Hopkins University.
THOMAS E. BEACH
Founder & Managing Director, Beach Investment Council

Tom Beach is the founder and Managing Director of Beach Investment Counsel, which manages the financial assets of high net worth families and foundations. Prior to forming Beach Investment Counsel he held various portfolio management and executive positions with a major institutional investment management firm. He served as chief executive officer of its mutual funds and as a member of its three person management committee. Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He currently serves as Chairman of Reason Foundation and also of The Property and Environment Research Center. He is a director of Pennsylvania Lumberman’s Mutual Insurance Company and previously was a Director or Trustee of the Haverford School, Eisenhower Fellowships, Philadelphia Youth Tennis, the Laurentian Capital Corporation and The International Lawn Tennis Club of the United States.

GEORGE G. H. COATES, JR.
Chairman of the Board, The Commonwealth Foundation
George G. H. Coates, Jr is a 25-year veteran of the fine wine and beverage alcohol industry, where he held executive roles on the distribution side of the industry with Southern Wine & Spirits (now Southern/Glaziers) and on the supply side with W. J. Deutsch & Sons (now Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits). In 2012, he and a partner launched an importing company focused on supply chain efficiencies allowing high quality wine to be delivered to the consumer at a lower cost than traditional shipping and packaging would allow, which was subsequently sold to investors. George serves as board chair for The Commonwealth Foundation, a Harrisburg-based state-level free-market think tank. He serves as a board member of Americans for Fair Treatment, an advocacy group focused on educating, equipping and empowering public servants to receive fair treatment and transparency from public sector unions; the Chestnut Hill Conservancy and Historical Society, a local open space and architectural conservancy protecting the nation’s first urban accredited land trust; and the Henry Foundation for Botanical Research, the first research botanical garden founded by a woman, Mary Gibson Henry. A Philadelphia native, George studied at The Haverford School in Haverford, PA and Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He resides in both Philadelphia and Washington, the latter where his wife Dr. Victoria C. G. Coates serves as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Middle Eastern Affairs on the National Security Council staff. They have two children and one dog, all three of which migrate with them occasionally.

STAFF MEMBERS

LAWSON R. BADER
President and CEO
Since 2015, Lawson Bader serves as president and CEO of DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. Before coming to DonorsTrust, he amassed twenty years’ experience leading free-market research and advocacy groups including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He began his career in DC in as special assistant at the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, then worked as a legislative analyst/paralegal with Pierson, Semmes & Finley, and managed government relations at SRI International. He is a former weekly columnist with Human Events, and is a current member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council and is a Kiplinger contributor. He serves on the governing boards of Atlas Network, State Policy Network, and Oakseed Ministries International. Lawson earned a BA in political science from Wheaton College (IL) and an MA in public policy from The Johns Hopkins University.
CHRIS BOHN
Senior Accountant
Chris Bohn joined DonorsTrust in March 2021 as senior accountant. Prior to joining DonorsTrust, he managed accounting operations at the Leadership Institute as assistant controller. Chris also worked at Just Facts, The Heritage Foundation, and as a staffer for the late Jack Kemp at Empower America. Introduced to politics at a young age, he served in Congress as a House page and saw Communism up close on a trip behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin. A graduate of The Hill School in Pennsylvania, Chris earned a BA from Emory University and an MSc from The London School of Economics. In 2020, he received a Certificate in Data Analytics from Springboard in San Francisco. An admirer of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr., Chris enjoys spending time with his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, reading savvy political commentary, and learning more about American exceptionalism.
CAROLYN BOLTON
Marketing and Communications Manager
Carolyn Bolton is the communications and marketing manager at DonorsTrust. Before joining DonorsTrust, Carolyn was a senior content specialist for a public-affairs firm in northern Virginia. She is an alumna of the writing fellows program at America's Future Foundation and, prior to her foray into content creation for corporate and nonprofit clients, Carolyn was a general-assignment reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press and a content editor for Cox Media Group. She is a graduate of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor's degree in political communications. After graduating early, she interned for the National Journalism Center and The Washington Times. She lives in northern Virginia.
GREGORY CONKO
Senior Director of Programs
Gregory Conko is the senior director of programs at DonorsTrust, where he supervises the grants disbursement process and develops relationships with new grantees. He has nearly thirty years of experience in the non-profit sector as a scholar, fundraiser, and senior executive. Before joining DonorsTrust, Gregory was a senior fellow and then executive director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and he served as deputy director of the George Mason University Law & Economics Center. Gregory has broad expertise in health and environmental policy, as well as in administrative and regulatory law, and he has authored or co-authored dozens of books, studies, and articles, published in both the popular press and scholarly journals. He earned a J.D. degree magna cum laude from the George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from American University. He lives in Virginia with his wife and son.
STEPHANIE GIOVANETTI LIPS
Philanthropic Advisor
Stephanie Giovanetti Lips joined DonorsTrust in 2018 as a philanthropy advisor with a general focus on planned giving. Before joining DonorsTrust, Stephanie led the events department at Atlas Network, leading its international expansion to organize annual events in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. She also took on major gift officer responsibilities and headed up its planned giving program. Stephanie has consulted on events and fundraising for organizations such as The American Spectator, the Future of Freedom Foundation, National Association of Chemical Distributors and Johnson and Johnson. Stephanie attended Marymount University and has a B.A. in English Literature. When not working for DonorsTrust or mentoring think tank leaders from within the Atlas Network or speaking on topics close to her heart, like planned giving, Stephanie loves listening to the giggles of her children and the panting of her dog, Scooby Doo.
PETER A. LIPSETT
Vice President
Peter Lipsett fosters DonorsTrust’s continued growth by overseeing its marketing, client outreach, and prospect cultivation efforts. He also leads the Novus Society, DonorsTrust’s unique program for donors under 40 committed to growing their philanthropic network and know-how. Prior to joining DonorsTrust in 2014, Peter spent nearly a decade within the Koch organizations helping build a unique donor network. Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Peter graduated from Davidson College and has an MBA from George Mason University.
LYDIA PITEA
Marketing and Events Manager
Lydia Pitea is the Marketing and Events Manager at DonorsTrust. Her primary responsibilities include coordinating events, digital marketing, and assisting with content creation and donor communications. With Novus Society, a program of DonorsTrust for givers under 40, Lydia serves as the Program Coordinator. Lydia joined DonorsTrust in 2016 as a participant in the Koch Associate Program. Previously, she worked for PSEG, the major utility company of New Jersey, with the Project Public Affairs team and the Customer Technologies team. Lydia is a graduate of Montclair State University in New Jersey, where she received her B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Political Science. Lydia is an avid reader and traveler, an excellent petter of cats, and a believer in all things magical (and yes, that means unicorns).
ROSEMARY PURPLE
Grants Administrator
Rosemary Purple joined DonorsTrust in February 2018. She is assisting in the grants administration and general office management areas at DonorsTrust. Rosemary is a native of Alexandria and has extensive office administration experience having worked as the Assistant to the CEO and President /office & security manager at a local bank; assistant and paralegal at several law firms with many areas of interest, and other corporate environments. Rosemary most recently spent over three years as the office and facilities manager at the Charles Koch Institute.
CHRIS RENNER
Controller
Chris Renner is a CPA in Virginia and has been in various roles at DonorsTrust since December of 2012. As controller, he oversees DonorsTrust’s accounting and reviews grants and contributions. Prior to joining DonorsTrust, he was a project accountant for a large construction company and was the sole proprietor of a small car electronics business. He received his BS in Economics and Business from the University of Pittsburgh and Certificate in Accounting from the University of Virginia. He was in the US Marine Corps Reserve for seven years, deploying to Iraq twice. Chris is a Pittsburgh native and a life-long Penguins fan. He is a classic car enthusiast and has traveled to 41 of the 50 states. Chris, his wife, and their young son live in Fairfax, Virginia.
JEFFREY A. SELLAZZO
Executive Assistant
Jeffrey Sellazzo joined DonorsTrust in February 2018. His responsibilities include executive assistant duties to the CEO and aiding with contribution and grant filing. Prior to joining DonorsTrust, Jeffrey worked for Rare as office manager for their international headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Before that he worked for the Department of Natural Resources in South Carolina and Georgia performing near-shore fisheries surveys. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.
JEFFREY C. ZYSIK
Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Zysik is an attorney and accountant with fifteen years of tax planning experience, focusing primarily on sophisticated estate and income tax concepts. Before joining DonorsTrust, he was managing-director and co-founder of Charitable Entity Administration, LLC (CEA). Before launching CEA, Jeff served as Director-in-Charge of strategy development at myCFO’s national tax group. He also spent five years with KPMG LLP–one year in a tax practice office, three years with the firm’s Washington National Tax Personal Financial Planning practice and a final year serving as Director-in-Charge of the firm’s South Florida Personal Financial Planning practice. Admitted to the New York State Bar, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from George Washington University, a Master in Public Accounting-Tax degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and a JD degree from George Mason University.

FOUNDING PRESIDENT

WHITNEY L. BALL
President & CEO, 1999-2015

Ms. Ball served as founding President and Chief Executive Officer of DonorsTrust from 1999 until August, 2015. Before launching DonorsTrust, Ms. Ball served as Executive Director of The Philanthropy Roundtable, as well as Director of Development at the Cato Institute. She was also Director of Finance for the Education and Research Institute and Circulation Manager of Consumers’ Research Magazine. Additionally, Whitney consulted with a number of nonprofit organizations and served on governing boards and committees of local volunteer organizations, including Donors Capital Fund, the Foundation for Teaching Economics, and the State Policy Network.  After a long battle with cancer, Whitney passed away August 17, 2015.  For more on her life and work, please see Remembering Whitney Ball.