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“My immense desire to understand foreign cultures led me to resign my job on my 30th birthday, pack a 50-lb. backpack and head on a trek around the world. I purposefully spent time working and living in developing countries. In Brazil, I lived on a small island and taught yoga, kayaking, rock climbing, and surfing. Later I moved to a Hare Krishna ashram, studied with the Dalai Lama in Northern India, and survived the Tsunami in Thailand. Along the way, I volunteered at several non-profit organizations as well as founded an orphanage in Tanzania (after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro).”

Laura Richardson
CEO

 

An award-winning 25-year veteran in the world of philanthropy, Ms. Richardson has served as a visionary leader at the executive level of many respected non-profit organizations. She is known for quickly growing financial resources, volunteerism and advocacy.  She is a change agent adept at directing key stakeholders in the development of strategies, plans and processes that fuel systematic and sustainable growth. 

Ms. Richardson’s experience spans the full spectrum of financial development, from grass-roots fundraising to multimillion dollar campaigns, with an ability to repeatedly meet and exceed fundraising targets in record time. Her unparalleled ability to cultivate and manage major donors has allowed her to raise more than $60 million dollars to date.

Prior to joining OHorizons, Ms. Richardson was Vice President of Development at the Michigan Science Center where her fundraising responsibilities included overseeing a $700,000 annual black-tie gala, managing institutional and individual giving, as well as management of departmental personnel and board member recruitment, onboarding and commitment fulfillment. She also secured her highest one-time gift to date of $1.7 million.

As Executive Director at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Michigan, she exceeded the $4 million annual fundraising goal while stewarding $18 million in research, therapy, and patient aid grants across the state. Her efforts as State Director at the Michigan March of Dimes resulted in exceeding fundraising goals by 65% while cutting expenses by 20%. Laura also served with distinction and high levels of success as the Chief Development Officer at the American Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Chapter, and Director of Development of the Cranbrook Educational Community. She began her non-profit career at the American Heart Association, Greater Midwest Affiliate, where she served as Executive Director of Major Gifts and not only exceeded fundraising goals each of the years she was there, she also established the association’s first endowment at $1 million. 

Ms. Richardson has been recognized numerous times for her passionate commitment to her work, including numerous commendations for exceeding fundraising goals. She has been named one of Michigan’s Most Remarkable Woman and featured as 40 Under 40 awardee, as well as a Woman to Watch nominee. She sits on the President’s Advisory Council at Wayne State University and is a Leadership Detroit Graduate, Class of XXXI. 

Ms. Richardson is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and earned certificates from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.