Lisa Acker, Partner
Lisa brings extraordinary depth and breadth of experience to her clients through her background directing development efforts for both prominent politicians and leading nonprofit institutions. She is results-oriented and excels at understanding what motivates donors.
During her six years with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Lisa worked with staff, individual donors, corporations and foundations to raise over $7 million annually for the highly acclaimed institution. She identified and developed key Chicago leadership and played a central role in the Museum’s 20th Anniversary national endowment campaign and corporate giving program in Chicago. Lisa also served as Midwest Political Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She established leadership boards in Chicago and other major Midwest cities, managed legislative mobilizations, organized and presented at briefings, and grew membership while expanding the scope of influence to reach more legislators.
On the political front, Lisa worked in both Chicago and Washington, DC, providing fundraising and advice to prominent Senate candidates and incumbents. She began her career as a development associate for Voters for Choice in Washington, DC, where she organized fundraising events and benefit concerts by artists Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. She has been trying to have that much fun ever since. Lisa holds a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives in Wilmette, Illinois, with her husband and three children.
Nancy Kohn, Partner
Nancy Kohn, Partner, is a passionate advocate for social change, and has distinguished herself through her work with nonprofits, political candidates and progressive organizations.
She is often sought after for her creative and critical skills for developing strategies that bring together resources – both human and capital – to addressing some of the challenging issues that face society today. She has cultivated an extensive network of people and organizations that include innovative business leaders, policy experts, elected officials, thought leaders, investors and donors.
Well-known for her work with Senator Dick Durbin, Nancy has served as a senior staff advisor for two decades. In the fall of 2013 she led fundraising and strategy efforts for the successful campaign to bring marriage equality to Illinois through the Illinois Unites for Marriage Coalition. Since 2003, Nancy and her firm, Nancy Kohn Consulting, LLC have provided strategic counsel and fundraising assistance to many Democratic Senate candidates, progressive candidates and organizations including: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Natural Resources Defense Council, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, Senators Al Franken, Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Tammy Baldwin and Sherrod Brown.
A world traveler who has a commitment to life-long learning, Nancy is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, and in recent years has seen the political and economic challenges first hand though sponsored travel to Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Israel. She is Chair of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership. Nancy has a B. Phil. from Miami University and a M.Sc. from London School of Economics and Political Science. She and her husband live in Lakeview, and enjoy spending time with their four adorable grandchildren.
Matea Varvodic, Project Partner
Matea has built a career in a variety of public engagement, development, and operational roles in the nonprofit sector. With a background in design and strategy, she has expertise in creating results-oriented communication and developing or improving processes for clients to meet their goals.
After stints at Teach For America and Planned Parenthood, where she focused on community partnerships and organizing for action, Matea became a nonprofit consultant in 2015, expanding her portfolio to work with nonprofits in education, healthcare, and athletics. With her design background, Matea has helped clients move from simple graphics and descriptions to captivating displays of their success and impact. She excels at spearheading development & fundraising efforts, external relations, and community engagement. She is a proud Board Member and Vice Chair of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, where she leads strategic planning and Board development.
Matea earned her Bachelors degree in Graphic Design, Communication, and Art History from Carthage College, and a Masters degree in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she focused on social justice advocacy through community based art. Matea also holds a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son, and a Chow Chow that bears a striking resemblance to David Bowie.
Art Friedson, Writer
Art brings our clients creative writing skills tempered by a long career as a Human Resources executive at organizations including CDW and Amoco. Throughout his career, Art has been recognized for his ability to address complex issues in clear, compelling, compact prose. He now applies the skills he honed writing policy manuals, personnel manuals, and benefits communications to the work of Just Cause Consulting. Art holds a B.A. in Psychology from The City College, City University of New York, and an M.S. in Industrial Relations from Loyola University of Chicago.