March 28, 2024

Get to Know Nancy Herman

We are pleased to welcome Nancy Herman, who has recently joined the TWB team as Senior Counsel. We asked Nancy a few questions to learn more about her expertise, serving as an introduction for anyone seeking a seasoned development professional to partner with.

You have a development background largely within healthcare and higher education organizations. Tell us how you got started in fundraising work!

My career path has been one of bridges and transitions, you might say, where one opportunity led the way to the next, where I ultimately found my passion in fundraising.


I began as an attorney, going to law school with the conviction to make the world a better place. I loved law school but not practicing law, though I have never lost my desire to create meaningful change. Fortunately, a former law school professor encouraged me to apply for the assistant dean of admissions position at Chicago-Kent College of Law which I accepted. This opportunity offered a bridge for me to transition between the legal world and academia.


After ten years, I left and became the program manager of a small research center in the Department of Neurology at the University of Chicago. I had no background in medicine but I was captivated with the world of scientific research and healthcare as pathways to making the world a better place and providing greater access to health and wellness.


This experience led to my first full-time, professional fundraising responsibility when I accepted the position as director of advancement for the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing, working closely with faculty, students, and alumni. After six years, that, in turn, led me to a regional major-gifts position with the national ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association during the Ice Bucket Challenge, a grassroots social media campaign that raised more than $220M worldwide for ALS research. That experience led to my becoming the interim director of planned giving with Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation.


Most recently I was vice-president of philanthropy with Humboldt Park Health, an under-resourced community hospital serving a low-income and predominantly minority population on the west side of Chicago. In that role, I built relationships with individuals, foundations, and corporations to address health disparities in the community, support behavioral health and substance use programs, fund a pediatric mobile dental unit, renovate the Intensive Care Unit waiting room, and purchase much-needed medical equipment.


What unique experiences do you bring to consulting?

My background and experience bring a unique blend of legal expertise, strategic thinking, and fundraising to consulting. The heart of lawyering is about advocacy for a cause which translates very well into fundraising. Law school also provides essential training in research, critical and analytical thinking, negotiation, and communicationvaluable skills when meeting with donors, discussing planned giving opportunities, reviewing gift agreements, and navigating government and tax regulations.

Along the way, I’ve also developed expertise in data analytics, uncovering patterns and seeing opportunities where others may not. This skill is crucial for building successful major gift programs and laying the groundwork for strategic plans. 

How do your development experience and past work as a chief philanthropy officer inform your consulting practice?

During my career, I’ve held senior leadership and fundraising positions in public research universities; private, tuition-driven colleges; medical research and advocacy organizations; professional associations; academic medical centers; arts organizations; and independent safety-net hospitals. I’ve worked in large and small development offices, often with a very small staff, so I understand the challenges and concerns faced by front-line fundraisers, executive directors, and board members.

I’ve also been an active volunteer, founding member, and board member of nonprofit advocacy and arts organizations where fundraising is a constant concern and ‘rolling up your sleeves’ is part of the job description.

What is your approach to working with clients?

I bring experience and passion to my work with each client. I value collaboration and helping clients develop effective strategies to identify, engage, and retain major and longtime donors, while also cultivating a culture of philanthropy within the organization.

What made you interested in joining the TWB team?

It’s an honor to join the TWB team. I know several team members and have been impressed by the firm’s reputation and growth. What’s especially appealing is the team-based, collaborative approach to working with clients. I’m excited to join a community based on trust, purpose, and collaboration.

Read Nancy's full bio or contact her about fundraising counsel at

Written by

TWB Fundraising

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