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Leslie Bernard

Leslie Bernard is the Chief Development Officer of The Fuller Project, where she oversees the organization’s fundraising program with a focus on growing and diversifying its community of individual and institutional supporters. In partnership with the Board, Chief Executive Officer, staff, and donors, she nurtures a culture of philanthropy that supports organizational and newsroom priorities. 

Leslie brings over 20 years of experience working in the field of philanthropy, as a fundraiser, foundation program officer and philanthropic consultant. She is a philanthropic strategist experienced in managing the design and implementation of fundraising and programmatic strategies to achieving impact at the local, national, and international level.

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Leslie served as a Senior Director of Strategy and Strategic Implementation for Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting firm.  In this role she managed a team of specialists providing advisory services to major national foundations in the areas of strategy, grantmaking, impact investing and donor collaboration.

As Senior Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Johns Hopkins University, Leslie was the primary strategist overseeing foundation relations for the School of Medicine.  In this role she achieved a four-fold increase in foundation revenues through the implementation of a new strategic approach and collaborated with academic leadership, faculty, and development staff to close major six, seven and eight-figure philanthropic gifts.

Working with regional and local and nonprofits in the Baltimore region, Leslie served as Director of Special Projects for Associated Black Charities (ABC), and Director of Development at East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI).  At ABC, she advised the President and CEO on special projects in health and grants and created and implemented a fundraising plan that diversified revenue and increased giving from individual, corporate and foundation donors.  At EBDI she collaborated with key staff and stakeholders to secure over $28 million in funding partnerships to support initial community revitalization efforts in East Baltimore.

Prior to her work in the Baltimore region, Leslie served as a Program Officer for The Kresge Foundation.

In this capacity she advised nonprofits, evaluated grant proposals, and made funding recommendations from $100,000 to $2M for capital grants to nonprofit organizations operating in the fields of higher education, health, arts and humanities, environment, human service, science, and public affairs.   

Before joining The Kresge Foundation, Leslie was a Development Officer for The Philadelphia Foundation where she successfully developed strategies to increase awareness of the Foundation as a vehicle for charitable giving in African-American, Asian-American and Latino communities, resulting in new donor-advised funds, organizational endowments, and scholarship funds.  

Leslie’s early career was in the field of international development, working for Oxfam America monitoring and evaluating small-scale development projects in West Africa. This early work experience led her to the field of philanthropy and work with foundations, and nonprofit organizations to bring greater resources and strategic innovations to serve the needs of communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Leslie holds an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.S. in International Politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.   She lives in Maryland with her husband and enjoys running and traveling.

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