2019-2020 LACGP Officers

Mary O'Hare

Philanthropy Advisor
(818) 414-6565

Mary O’Hare serves as a philanthropy advisor to nonprofits, allied industries and high net worth donors providing strategic planning and plan implementation, one-to-one counseling and educational programs to promote effective fundraising and giving. She joined the planned giving community in 2004 as an outgrowth of her passion for nonprofits. Prior to that she enjoyed a career emphasizing strategic counseling and education in the government and private sectors, including as Senior Vice President, heading up the Business and Legal Affairs group that she formed for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s five-company Digital Studios Division. Mary received her A.B. in communications from Stanford University and her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

She has taught extensively at the undergraduate and graduate level, including Estate Planning at UCLA’s School of Law; has served as a speaker for professional and education groups concerning philanthropy, and testified at U.S. executive branch hearings. Mary has served as cochair twice of LACGP’s Western Regional Planned Giving Conference. She serves as a speaker, volunteer and docent for the Autry National Center. Her past volunteer activities have included chair or president roles on the Intellectual Property Section Executive Committee of the California State Bar and on the Los Angeles Copyright Society Board as well as involvement in initiatives to preserve cultural sites, to improve local libraries, to improve neighborhood quality and to provide for the hungry.


Patience Boudreaux

Planned Giving Officer
Loma Linda University Health
11175 Mountain View Avenue, Suite #B
Loma Linda, CA 92346

Patience Boudreaux is a Planned Giving Officer at Loma Linda University Health, a role which allows her to manage a portfolio of planned giving donors as well as support major gifts officers in their prospect management for planned gifts. Prior to Loma Linda, her career has been focused on higher education, particularly private liberal arts institutions. Patience earned her BA at Johns Hopkins University, her MBA from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, and is a certified specialist in planned giving.



Immediate Past President
Allyson Simpson

Director of Development
Catholic Education Foundation
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 271-0288 Office

Allyson joined the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as the Director of Development for the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) in February 2019. Prior to joining CEF, she served as Vice President of Development and Communications at Huntington Medical Research Institutes in Pasadena for two and a half years, Senior Director of Gift Planning at Caltech for six years, Associate Director of Gift Planning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the Director of Planned Giving at Scripps College in Claremont, California. Allyson was born in Pasadena, grew up in Southern California and received both her bachelor’s degree and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California (USC). She is a member of the California State Bar Association and the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners, where she served as President during the 2018-2019 term. Allyson practiced corporate and regulatory law in the Los Angeles area for several years before transitioning nineteen years ago into development with a focus on planned, major and leadership giving.

Allyson and her husband Roland, an attorney, live in Pasadena, and are the parents of three adult children and proud grandparents of a granddaughter. She has previously served on the Board of Trustees of both Mayfield Junior School in Pasadena and the South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project (SC LAMP), as well as on the Board of Directors of St. Anne’s in Los Angeles. She currently serves on the Advisory/Development Board of Nativity School in Los Angeles.



Debbie P. Bills

Senior Executive Director, Planned Giving Administration
City of Hope
1500 East Duarte Road
Duarte, CA  91010-3000

Debbie is the Senior Executive Director of Planned Giving Administration at City of Hope.  She provides oversight for the operational aspects of a sophisticated Planned Giving program, including estate and trust administration, life income gifts, marketing, data management & reporting.  With over 20 years of planned giving experience, Debbie has worked in various facets of Advancement.  She served as the AVP for Advancement Services at Harvey Mudd College, overseeing Research & Prospect Management, Gift Processing, Reporting & Database Management.  At the California Institute of Technology, she became the Functional Lead for the database conversion after serving five years as the Assistant Director of Gift Planning & Manager of Trusts and Bequests.  She also directed the Gift Planning programs at The Webb Schools and Claremont Graduate University.  Debbie earned her Bachelor’s degree at Pomona College and is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving.  She is a current board member, past president and former conference chair for the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners. 


Katherine Gfeller

Katherine Gfeller is Senior Major & Planned Giving Officer at Southern California Public Radio, and has worked in planned giving since 2005.

Katherine earned her BA at Grinnell College, her MBA from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, and is a certified specialist in planned giving.


Education Co-Chair
Cynthia Hizami

Director of Planned Giving, West Coast
Jewish National Fund
323-964-1400 ext.962

Cynthia Hizami is the Director of Planned Giving for the West Coast for Jewish National Fund, a non-profit which raises money in America for programs, projects and infrastructure in Israel.  Over the course of her career, she has practiced as an attorney in many areas, including: estate and tax planning, business litigation, and civil litigation.  Cynthia received her B.A. at Tulane University and her J.D. from Tulane Law School.


Education Chair
Francine Lis

Development Director
American Jewish Committee
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Francine Lis is the Director of Planned Giving, Legacy and Endowments for the Anti-Defamation League in the Pacific Southwest Region. She has broad development and nonprofit management experience. Prior to joining ADL in 2011, Francine served as the Director of Annual Giving for USC Law and Director of Development for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. Earlier in her career she held positions of Assistant Director of Development and Public Affairs at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Director of Member Services at the Southern California Association for Philanthropy (now Southern California Grantmakers) and Assistant Director of Education/Program Coordinator - Tools for Tolerance for Educators at the Museum of Tolerance. Francine has also consulted with a variety of grantmaking organizations and nonprofits including Southern California Edison, San Diego Grantmakers, Jewish Community Foundation, First Five LA, ArtsCorp LA, Optimist Youth Home and the Dubnoff Center. She is currently pursuing a certified specialist in planned giving certificate through the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies at Cal State Long Beach. Francine received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA and earned a certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College. Francine is a native Los Angelino, has a son and daughter and an adorable Pomeranian.


Marketing & Communication Chair

Andy Ragone

110 Camino Ruiz
Camarillo, CA 93012
800-858-9154 Office

Making connections and building trust best describes Andy’s passion as a writer, speaker, leader, husband and father.

Andy comes to us with an executive, pastoral and digital-marketing background in the nonprofit arena. Having worked with three larger churches over the past 20+ years, Andy has appreciated the challenges of growing organizations—including the development of staff and culture, fund raising, volunteer coordination and marketing systems. Andy brings a big-picture perspective that brings vision, volunteerism and fund development together.

Upon earning his M.Div. (Master of Divinity) from Phoenix Seminary, Andy ventured out to learn the ins and outs of pastoring—leading people forward in their connection with God and helping them develop in their capacity to care. This required finding the right people for the right roles, creating pathways to greater involvement and volunteerism, and developing future leaders for future expansion.

Andy loves spending his downtime with family, writing and further developing his podcast, and is ever in search of the ultimate espresso shot.


Membership Chair
Bob Fass

Senior Director of Development
Leadership and Planned Giving
The Webb Schools
1175 West Baseline Road
Claremont, CA 91711-2199
(909) 445-8252

Bob has served The Webb Schools since 2007 as a senior member of the development office responsible for day-to-day management of all leadership giving and planned giving initiatives as well as campaign management.  He is President of the Claremont Educational Foundation and is on the advisory board of Ophelia's Jump Productions.  Prior to The Webb Schools, Bob worked as an Executive Director of professional regional theatres in Fort Worth, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in the works of William Shakespeare. He also served as the Founding Program Director of the Master of Fine Arts program in arts administration at Southern Utah University where he taught and directed professional internships in conjunction with the Tony Award-Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival.  He has been a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and produced events for the Olympic Arts Festivals in Atlanta (1996) and Salt Lake City (2002). He holds a bachelors degree in directing for theatre and a masters degree in arts administration.  He is also a certified specialist in planned giving.


Membership Co-Chair
Hugh Ralston

Founder & CEO
Laurel Oak Consulting
PO Box 51014
Pasadena, CA 91105

Hugh Ralston’s career includes 16 years in private and corporate banking with J.P. Morgan in Los Angeles and Security Pacific in New York, as well as a partner in a third-generation farming business in Santa Barbara. He served 14 years as a foundation CEO as Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation in Los Angeles and as President/CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation and the Central Valley Community Foundation.

Hugh has an extensive record of leadership on a wide variety of nonprofit boards from art museums to a research institute to a women’s college, including organizations promoting effective philanthropy, stronger workforce and accountable practices for community foundations. He has taught nonprofit leadership, endowments and planned giving strategies to numerous board and nonprofit groups.

An honors graduate of Amherst College, he has a degree in international law and diplomatic history from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He is an ordained elder at the San Marino Community Church.

In addition to his nonprofit consulting business, he recently launched several online businesses including DudleysDash.com (a men’s haberdashery business) and HughRalstonVOX, a voiceover business, as well as a social entrepreneurship venture focused on raising local capital to invest in community change. He produces two weekly shows for the LA Radio Reading Service, including LA Arts Connects about the arts in the LA basin and one on gardening. He lives in Pasadena.


National Liaison & Legislative Chair
Janice Burrill 

Philanthropic Consultant
JB Consulting

7554 Trask Avenue

Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

Ms. Burrill has served on the boards of many nonprofits both nationally and locally, including the Board of Directors of the National Committee on Planned Giving (now PPP) where she chaired NCPG’s Public Affairs Committee which oversaw the “Leave a Legacy” national initiative. She is also past president of the Planned Giving Roundtable of Southern California and former Chair of the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference. Janice is currently a board member of WISE & Healthy Aging, the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (Southern California), and Ramona Convent Secondary School. She is also a member of the Gift Planning Councils of Loyola Marymount University, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Catholic Education Foundation. Ms. Burrill has also participated on the Boards of the Los Angeles Women’s Foundation, St. Anastasia School, the Serra Project and Holy Family Services. She is an active volunteer and speaker within the philanthropic sector and participated in the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy.  Janice currently resides in Playa Del Rey, California. In addition to volunteering, her personal interests include travel, horseback riding, calligraphy, and spending time with her daughter, family, and friends.


Program Chair
Michele A. Bignardi, CFRE, CSPG

Senior Vice President
Netzel Grigsby Associates, Inc.
310-836-7624, ext. 113

Michele joined the staff of Netzel Grigsby Associates, inc. having worked as a consultant to nonprofit organizations and institutions. Her experience includes working with senior management, volunteer boards, and special task forces. She has more than 25 years of experience recruiting and training volunteer committees.

As a senior vice president with Netzel Grigsby Associates, inc., Michele’s accomplishments include successful multi-million dollar capital campaigns, fundraising development studies, planning and implementing annual and major giving programs and membership development campaigns, planning, and volunteer/staff training. 

Michele and her husband live in San Pedro where they both are involved in several volunteer and civic organizations. She is the former board chair of the local YMCA where she also provided volunteer leadership to two successful capital campaigns in San Pedro and Wilmington.  She currently chairs the Y’s Financial Development Committee. 

Michele is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals–Orange County Chapter. In addition she has been an instructor with the UCLA Extension Certificate Program in Fundraising since 2008.

Michele earned her Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University.


Program Chair
Barbara Gunning

Regional Director of Advancement
Southern California and Arizona

Jesuits West Province of the Society of Jesus
11500 West Olympic Blvd., #400
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310-444-3017 Office

For over 5 1/2 years, Barbara has worked at Jesuits West in advancement, first as a Senior Philanthropy Officer, Southern California and Arizona and since June 2019 as the Regional Director of Advancement, Southern California and Arizona, responsible for major gifts and some planned gifts in her territory. Her first two years at Jesuits West was spent working on a capital campaign which raised $27 million for renovations and expansion of the Jesuit Novitiate in Culver City and the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center and Regis Infirmary in Los Gatos. Formerly, Barbara worked as the Sr. Director of Advancement for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles, and she spent 6 ½ years working at Loyola High School as Director of Advancement, Major and Planned Giving. Barbara also was a Sr. Financial Advisor for 14 years at Merrill Lynch in Beverly Hills, UBS Financial Services in Century City, and Dean Witter in downtown LA. She also had a career in entertainment producing TV and cable movies. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Barbara holds a B.A. degree from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York (which merged in 2003 with Fordham University) and is a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving since 2007.


Sponsorship Chair
Linda Mazur

Senior Director
Pomona College
550 North College Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
909-621-8143 Office

Linda Mazur directs the Pomona Plan of Pomona College, her alma mater. Before joining Pomona’s planned giving team in 2010, she worked as an estate-planning attorney in private practice, chairing the Probate, Trust, and Estate Planning Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association in 1995. She is a graduate of UCLA Law School.

Sponsorship Chair
Kimberley Valentine

Valentine Trust Management
600 Lincoln Avenue, #94952
Pasadena, CA 91109


Volunteer & Mentor Chair
Conference Chair
James A. Jacobs

Associate Director, Planned Giving
Claremont McKenna College
400 N. Claremont Blvd.
Claremont,  CA 91711-4015

In his role at Claremont McKenna College Jim is responsible for identifying new alumni estate gifts, working with donors on life income gifts, managing special events for the legacy society, and serving as a liaison each year to the 50th class reunion committee. Prior to joining CMC’s Office of Planned Giving in 2013, Jim held a variety of positions in alumni relations at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, Claremont McKenna College (1999-2001), and Occidental College. He studied at Northwestern University as an undergraduate and earned his Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin.

In addition to his volunteer work with the LACGP, Jim volunteers with the Big Ten Club of Southern California (where he is a past president), the American Red Cross as a platelet donor (226 units and counting), La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church, and the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission.

When not volunteering (or working), Jim is often bicycling in the mountains north of Azusa, where he lives with his wife, Jackie, and dog, Jenny, or cheering on the greatest team ever (in his mind, at least) the Green Bay Packers.


Deb Johnson

320 Pine Avenue, Suite #1050
Long Beach, CA 90802
(949) 715-5400

Deb Johnson is a high-performance senior leader with over 20 years of experience managing non-profit organizations. She has the ability to drive change to improve organizational performance and management. Deb has a strong track record of success in motivating and developing volunteers while optimizing operational results. She is a self-directed professional that takes pride in the transformation of a vision into reality while building a sustainable foundation for continued success. When not in the office, you can find Deb traveling, dancing, kayaking or gardening.