Mary M. Barden, J.D.

Mary Barden has been working in fundraising/nonprofit administration for 25+ years.  She started her career at University of Detroit Mercy’s law school as Assistant Dean for Career Services and Alumni Relations.   She then went on to run several small nonprofit organizations, provided development expertise to two foundations and then worked as Director of Major Gifts at U of D Jesuit High School & Academy for seven years.  Most recently, Mary has become Director of Philanthropy for the College of Education and the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Mary was a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Detroit Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) from 2009 – 2015 and served as its president for two years.  While president, the Chapter won their Member Chapter Grouping category for highest member growth at 24%.  The Greater Detroit Chapter also increased sponsorship by 52% the same year.  Mary is still active in AFP as serves on the Committee on Directorship and the National Philanthropy Day Selection Committee and received the AFP’s Greater Detroit Chapter’s Distinguished Volunteer award I 2017.  Mary’s spends much of her volunteer time these days on informal and formal mentoring activies with early career fundraising professionals.

Mary received her B.S. degree in Public Affairs from Indian University and her Juris Doctor from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  She also completed extensive fund raising training at Indiana University’s Fund Raising School and via the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She is a frequent presenter on major gift fund raising and the board of director’s role in fundraising. She has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan since 1983. Mary is a former member of the Advisory Board of Sweet Dreamzzz Detroit and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation.


Paula Brown, CFRE

Paula Brown, CFRE has been a nonprofit professional for 30 years.  After college, Brown taught elementary music in the Roseville and Mt. Clemens school districts, then began building her nonprofit career in the New York/New Jersey market where she worked for 19 years before returning to her home state of Michigan.  She has worked in events, annual and major giving, and board development for organizations such as Covenant House, Planned Parenthood, Brandeis University, Children's Specialized Hospital and the YMCA.  Since returning to Michigan, she served as Chief Development Officer for Starfish Family Services and Executive Director for Reading Works.  She served as President of the AFP-Greater Detroit Chapter board and twice chaired the AFPGDC National Philanthropy Day Dinner.  As a member of the AFP New Jersey Chapter board, Brown twice chaired their two-day Conference on Philanthropy.  Brown has also served on volunteer boards for the YMCA, Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, and OAR in Newark, New Jersey.  Brown recently opened her own consulting business, For-Impact Solutions.  She is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a degree in music education, earned graduate credits in early childhood education from Sagniaw Valley State University, and resides in Plymouth.