Presenter Bios


Nevin Kessler, President of the Rutgers University Foundation

Nevin E. Kessler is president of the Rutgers University Foundation and executive vice president for development and alumni relations.

Kessler comes from North Carolina State University where, since 2007, he served as vice chancellor for university advancement and president of the NC State University Foundation.

During his tenure at NC State, Kessler successfully launched a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign; helped secure a $40 million gift – the largest in the history of the university – to endow and name the College of Management; identified more than 15,000 new potential major donors; and implemented the university’s first development and alumni relations initiative in Asia.

Prior to his position at NC State, Kessler served as associate dean for development and alumni relations at the Yale School of Management. Under his leadership, gifts and new commitments rose from $4 million in fiscal year 2003 to more than $32 million in fiscal year 2006.

Kessler’s background also includes senior positions in development and foundation relations at the University of Connecticut and Virginia Tech. He holds a bachelor of arts from Dickinson College and a master of arts from Bowling Green State University.

Meet the Funders of our Meet the Funders Panels!

The Mid-Atlantic Grants Conference will include *two* Meet the Funders panels – don’t miss the opportunity to hear about trends in grantmaking, what funders look for in applications and have the opportunity to ask questions and network directly with some of the most influential grantmakers in New Jersey!

  • William V. Engel, Esq., EJ Grassman Trust, Union Foundation, and Hyde and Watson Foundation.

William V. (Bill) Engel, a partner in the law firm of Engel & Devlin, P.C., graduated from Princeton University in 1971 with an A.B. with honors in History and a concentration in Afro-American Studies, and from the University of Virginia Law School in 1974.

After law school, Bill initially worked as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and then returned to New Jersey to go into law practice. His firm, located in Warren Township, New Jersey, specializes in trusts and estates and private foundation law.

Bill has cumulatively served for over 200 years as a Trustee of five private foundations and one charitable trust, for most of which he is the chief executive and operating officer. He has also cumulatively served for a total of close to 100 years as a Trustee of numerous non-profit organizations, including seven years as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Pingry School. He has been a co-Founder and Trustee of New Jersey SEEDS and has served two separate times as a Trustee of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, where he is First Vice-Chair of the Board and Co-Chair of the Leadership and Policy Committee

  • Jeremy Grunin, Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation – The Grunin Foundation focuses its work on the arts, healthcare and education, and has donated over $14 million in the past five years to projects benefiting Central Jersey and New York City.

Jeremy Grunin has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the private sector where he managed teams of 1000+ employees responsible for over half a billion dollars in revenue.  Since 2013, Jeremy has been actively engaged throughout the community as President of the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, a proactive grantmaker focused on economic growth at the Central Jersey Shore. Jeremy is a Partner of Grunin Holdings, LLC., a New Jersey Partnership specializing in the development and management of commercial real estate, as well as investing in third party commercial ventures. In addition, Jeremy is the host of Topic A talk radio show every Sunday morning on 92.7 WOBM from 7AM to 11AM.  Jeremy resides in Toms River with his wife, Laura, and three children, Joshua, Rebecca and Emma.

  • Bill Byrnes, FM Kirby Foundation – The FM Kirby Foundation is a long-established family foundation $30-40 million annually to a wide array of education, health, environmental, arts, religious, public affairs and human services organizations mostly serving the Mid-Atlantic region.

Bill is the Vice President of Grants at the F.M. Kirby Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey. He received his BA in Liberal Arts from St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA in 1975 and a Masters in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ in 1999.

Bill has worked for several not-for-profit organizations, including the March of Dimes, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Trenton, and Morristown Medical Center during which time he earned the credential of Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

In 1989, Bill joined the Morris County Department of Human Services serving as its Coordinator of Contract Monitoring and Evaluation and became the County’s Substance Abuse Planner and liaison to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in 1996.

Following a four-month consultancy with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in 1999, Bill joined the staff of the F.M. Kirby Foundation in January 2000. As Vice President of Grants, Bill manages a multi-million dollar grants program that supports a wide range of nonprofit organizations in education, health and medicine, the arts and humanities, the environment, civic and public affairs, as well as religious, welfare and youth organizations.

Bill remains an active volunteer with the Growing Stage – The Children’s Theatre of NJ, and continues to serve on various committees of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers following seven years of service on the Council’s the Board of Trustees.

Bill lives in Wharton, New Jersey.

  • John Nolan, Harold B. and Dorothy A. Snyder Foundation – The Snyder Foundation focuses its efforts on New Jersey, with grantmaking in education, medical care and spiritual development.  The foundation recently funded the preservation and restoration of the Old First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth.

John is the Vice Chairman of The Harold B. and Dorothy A. Snyder Foundation, a family foundation that focuses its philanthropic efforts primarily in Union and Essex Counties, as well as the Director of Development for Catholic Extension, a Papal Society, that supports the 90 mission dioceses in the United States and its territories.

John has more than 35 years of successful fundraising experience, focusing mainly on faith based and healthcare institutions.  Locally, he has served as an officer of AFP and AHP, and was the Charter President of the Hospital Fundraising Executives of New Jersey. He is a past recipient of the Robert J. Smythe Award for Outstanding Fundraising Executive in New Jersey and the Presidents’ Award, AFP, New Jersey Chapter.

A graduate of Niagara University, John and his wife Kathy reside in Edison, New Jersey, and have three adult children.

  • Marsha Atkind, Executive Director/CEO, The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey – The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey donates $millions annually to health-related initiatives in New Jersey ranging from clinics and screening programs, crisis intervention, senior nutrition, autism programs, accessibility, outreach to underserved populations and much more.

Marsha Atkind has served for the past nine years as Executive Director and CEO of The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, an independent foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable, underserved populations in both Greater Newark and the Jewish community of MetroWest, NJ, elevating the quality of community healthcare, reducing disparities in access, and promoting the infusion of compassion and humanism into our healthcare system.

Ms. Atkind spent most of her career as a professional volunteer, culminating with a three-year term (2002-2005) as national President of the National Council of Jewish Women, an organization of 90,000 members and supporters with over 100 affiliates across the United States.  She served on the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University, the boards of HIPPY, USA, Essex County CASA, and the New Jersey Jewish News (President), and the Advisory Boards of the NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education at The Hebrew University and the NCJW Women & Gender Studies Program at Tel Aviv University.

In 2005 Ms. Atkind was recruited for a staff position at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ (then UJC of MetroWest), where she became founding Director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey and Manager of Philanthropic Initiatives, responsible in the latter role for soliciting major endowment gifts.   It was from that position that she was recruited for her current role at The Healthcare Foundation.

Ms. Atkind has extensive experience as a speaker and board trainer on such topics as volunteer involvement, developing effective teams, and public speaking.  She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, attended Columbia Law School, and is the recipient of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Susan Rudd Cohen Award for Outstanding Communal Service (2003) and NCJW’s Hannah G. Solomon Award (1999).

  • Eddie Laporte, NJ Office of Faith-Based Initiatives – The NJ Office of Faith-Based Initiatives provides social services and seed grants to faith-based community organizations, works to eliminate barriers to funding for faith-based community organizations, and assists them with capacity-building and being grant-ready.

Eddie LaPorte is the current Executive Director for the NJ Dept. of Community Affairs for the Governor’s Faith and Community Based Initiatives, which in 2003 was recognized by a study commissioned by the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives as one of 8 state models. Eddie was honored by the Metuchen Edison Area Branch of the NAACP’s 31st Annual Freedom Fund Award Gala where he received the W.E.B. Dubois Cultural Award

Eddie worked for the Catholic Charities of New Brunswick, was a Lead Trainer for the Puerto Rican Organization for the Community Education and Economic Development or P.R.O.C.E.E.D in Elizabeth providing HIV/AIDS/STD prevention services and Director of Human Services for the Puerto Rican Action Board in New Brunswick for three years.  He participated on the Union County Board of Social Services Division of Planning

 LaPorte graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He received his Masters in Public Administration from Kean University.