Dawn Handwerker possesses a skillset that blends corporate, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit experience. Her thoughtful and comprehensive approach to leadership and counsel, based on the diversity of her expertise, offers clients creative pathways of advancement.
After twelve years in corporate marketing and project management, she chose a new path. Starting and running a successful retail business for the next fifteen years afforded her the opportunity to become involved in the nonprofit arena, sparking her passion for fundraising.
In 2015, Dawn turned that passion into her career serving as the Assistant Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut. Her advancement career continued at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut as the Special Events Manager during their $60 million campaign.
Through these combined positions she honed her abilities in donor relations and volunteer management. Significantly increasing both giving, raising over $2 million, and participation, increasing engagement by 30%, while gaining critical capital campaign experience. She also gained experience in annual funds, board stewardship, and major gift solicitation. By restructuring signature annual fundraising events, Dawn also exceeded two separate goals by over 30%.
As an integral part of the Ruotolo Associates team, Dawn has served clients in both the RA Nonprofit and Church Divisions, while contributing to the industry as a noted speaker and panelist. Through current and completed projects, her counsel for multiple significant capital campaigns has goals totaling over $100 million. Her experience ranges from conducting pre-campaign studies and development assessments to comprehensive development and campaign counsel. While Dawn’s current focus is serving clients in our Church division, her work at RA includes clients from religious orders, parishes, schools, and diocese, as well as healthcare and social service.
Through RA’s unique comprehensive approach of mentoring the advancement team while helping to raise needed capital funds, Dawn’s work provides her the opportunity to enhance and empower her clients’ advancement capacity.
Dawn earned her Bachelor of Science in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University and currently serves on the Alumni Admission Council for Northwestern. She is Vice President of the Board of Directors for Reading to be Ready, Palm Beach, Florida, and as a member of the Advisory Board of St. Rose of Lima School in Newtown, Connecticut, she chairs their marketing and fundraising committee. Dawn is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in Palm Beach County, Florida. She resides in Boynton Beach, Florida and has two grown sons.