24th Annual Building Blocks Planned Giving Conference – Speakers


Friday September 17, 2021
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center

Keynote & Breakout Speakers

Bryan Clontz, PhD, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, CAP®, AEP®, RICP®, CBP, ChSNC®

Founder and President Charitable Solutions, LLC

Bryan Clontz is the founder and president of Charitable Solutions, LLC, specializing in non-cash
asset receipt and liquidation, gift annuity reinsurance brokerage, actuarial gift annuity risk
management consulting, emergency assistance funds, as well as virtual currency and life insurance
appraisals/audits. He also serves as Senior Partner of Ekstrom Alley Clontz & Associates – a
community foundation consulting firm in Tuscon, AZ.

Bryan is the founder of the Dechomai Foundation, Inc. and the Dechomai Asset Trust – two
national donor advised funds focusing on non-cash assets generally and S-corp transactions,
respectively. He is also the founder and president of The Emergency Assistance Foundation, Inc.–
a global charity that allows employers to create emergency assistance and disaster relief funds for
their employees. As of 2020, EAF works with more than 300 employers and 10 million employees.
Finally, Bryan created the National Gift Annuity Foundation, the largest national independent gift annuity platform.

Lani McCollar


10 AM Breakout Speakers

Pat Smithson – Director of Development at University of Central Missouri

The majority of Pat’s career has been working in the nonprofit sector in fundraising, where she has worked locally, regionally and nationally, serving in senior management roles in fund development. Her focus area for many years was in healthcare recently she moved into education, where she works as Director of Development at UCM., assigned to the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Pat holds degrees from UMKC and Webster University. Pat is immediate past president of MACGP.

Stuart Hoffman – Executive Director at Charlie’s House

Stuart has spent more than 20 years in non-profit management in development and marketing operations. Currently, Stuart serves as Executive Director of Charlie’s House, He is a CFRE and holds degrees from Baker and Webster University. He is a Past President of the AFP Mid-America Chapter, is an adjunct professor at Rockhurst University teaching Annual Fund Sustainability as well as an adjunct professor in the UMKC Center for Nonprofit Management, teaching direct mail and marketing concepts.

Monica Tiffany – Creative Director/Principal at M&C

Monica Tiffany specializes in developing effective communications strategy for companies and organizations. She has written for Shriners Hospitals for Children, National Geographic, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Red Cross, to name a few. Monica served as VP of Marketing and Communications for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Kansas City Chapter. She currently serves as Marketing Consultant on the CASA of Jackson County board and is a member of the Reach Out and Read KC Community Council. A Mizzou graduate, Monica also serves on the MU English Leaders Development Board helping to promote the university’s English Department and connect recent graduates with career opportunities. She joined the Mid America Planned Giving Council board in 2018. Monica is also a member of the Women’s Foundation Inner Circle and The Nelle.

Merritt Neil – President/Principal at M&C  

Merritt Neil is a direct marketing strategist, copywriter and trainer. She specializes in providing measurable results for clients through a range of marketing channels, print and digital. She regularly consults and writes for both for-profit and nonprofit national organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the University of Kansas Physicians Group and Hospital.

Merritt serves on the faculty at Rockhurst University, where she developed and teaches the Marketing and Technology Trends course. She is past president of the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association. KCDMA named Merritt “Direct Marketer of the Year” in 2012. She was recently honored as a member of the 2016 40 Under Forty class by Ingram’s Magazine

Casey Connealy – Estate Planning Attorney at Gaughan & Connealy

As partner in the law firm of Gaughan & Connealy, Casey Connealy works with families to avoid probate and create estate plans that continue their legacies for generations to come. Casey is a devoted parishioner at Holy Trinity Church and has raised millions of dollars for his church’s legacy society. Helping families who care for someone with special needs is also close to Casey’s heart as his daughter, Olivia, is disabled due to an anoxic brain injury.

11 AM Breakout Speakers

Matt Syverson, CFP®, CAP®, CKA® – Senior Wealth Advisor at Sound Stewardship, LLC

Matt Syverson specializes in helping donors and advisors make an impact on their favorite charities through effective giving strategies. As Senior Wealth Advisor at Sound Stewardship, LLC, he has focused on serving generous families since 2000. Matt is a Certified Financial Planner PractitionerTM, a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and Certified Kingdom Advisor®. He served on the board of the Mid-America Charitable Gift Planners from 2006-2014 and is currently the Treasurer for New Horizon Ranch. In addition, he is a Fellow with the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program and involved with the Unconventional Business Network.

Jeffrey Byrne, Co-Founder + CEO of Byrne Pelofsky + Associates, LLC

Jeffrey Byrne + Associates was founded in 2000 in Kansas City and emerged as a nationally-recognized fundraising and financial development firm specializing in building organizational capacity and conducting major gift, capital and endowment campaigns solely for nonprofit organizations. Pelofsky & Associates was founded in 2002 and is well-recognized in both public and private sectors and among community-based organizations, having worked closely with nonprofits, government agencies and legislators in grants, resource development and special events.Jeffrey is the Co-Founder + CEO of Byrne Pelofsky + Associates, LLC and has helped more than 350 organizations raise more than $1,500,000,000. Jeffrey’s fundraising experience spans nearly three decades, with expertise in spearheading major gift, capital and endowment campaigns for luminaries like the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library, Liberty Memorial National World War I Museum, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Kansas City Ballet Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, scores of YMCAs, numerous chapters of The Nature Conservancy, environmental, animal rights and health and human services organizations and his beloved alma mater, The University of Missouri. Recognized for his distinctive client-focused philosophy to fundraising, Jeffrey is a frequent guest speaker at workshops and conferences across the United States. He has been quoted in numerous publications including the New York Times, The New York Post, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and Kansas City Star, and has been interviewed on many public radio and television stations.

Lisa Pelofsky, Co-Founder + CEO of Byrne Pelofsky + Associates, LLC

Lisa founded PELOFSKY & ASSOCIATES in 2002. With 30 years’ experience with the Greater Kansas City non-profit community and a master’s degree in public administration, she personally secured more than $200 million in funding as Executive Vice-President of Swope Parkway Health Center. Pelofsky serves on the Health Care Foundation Board and chairs MAST (Metropolitan Ambulance Services Trust). Pelofsky received her Bachelor of Science degree in political science with a minor in public administration, from American University in Washington D.C.   Instead of coming directly back to Kansas City after graduation, she stayed in our nation’s Capitol for 8 years raising money for numerous non-profit organizations and learning about the federal political process as a congressional support staffer.  When she returned to Kansas City with the experience she amassed in Washington D.C. Lisa followed in her mother’s footsteps and became the Director of Development for several Kansas City area nonprofits including the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City and The Barstow School.  Lisa’s knowledge of and devotion to securing financial resources for non-profit organizations comes naturally growing up in a household committed to public service as demonstrated by her mother’s vast fundraising experience and her father’s career as a lawyer, a two-term city councilman and a former federal bankruptcy judge.  As a result, Lisa Pelofsky possesses significant insight into the local, regional and federal funding landscape.olicies, and how to pursue non-cash gifts for your organization.

Philip A. Watson – Managing Director of Philanthropic Gift Planning at Children’s Mercy Kanas City, Missouri

Phil is responsible for the management and leadership of the Gift Planning team at Children’s Mercy Kansas City as it builds and sustains a strong culture of gift planning for donors and friends in creating blended, tax-advantaged and financially meaningful gift plans to support children and families served by the hospital.

Phil has more than 35 years of experience in charitable gift planning, major gift fundraising, financial and estate planning, trust and investment administration and sales, and advancement and endowment administration. Before coming to Children’s Mercy, Phil served as Director of Planned Giving/Major Gifts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and as Vice President for Advancement at Avila University and Associate Director of Planned Giving at the Kansas University Endowment Association. Phil has also provided trust and investment services through Midwest trust departments, including his role as Senior Vice President and Manager for BANK IV Kansas City.

Carey Wilkerson Looney, Marion and Henry Bloch Family and The H & R Block Foundations, Vice President

Carey Wilkerson Looney is the vice president and secretary of The H & R Block Foundation. Carey is responsible for the Foundation’s grantmaking in the areas of arts and culture, education, and health, and provides oversight of the Henry W. Bloch Scholars Program. She represents the Foundation on collaborative grantmaking initiatives including the Early Education Funders Collaborative, the Heart of America Community AIDS Partnership, and the United Way of Greater Kansas City. Carey began her professional career in 1986 as a special education teacher at Genesis School, a former alternative school serving high-risk youth, and was the school’s deputy director prior to joining the Foundation in 1999. She graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and earned a master’s degree in behavior disorders and learning disabilities from the University of Kansas.

Schedule  |  Registration