Our Development Team

Major Gifts

MARK ABNER, Director of Major and Planned Giving
mabner@mpr.org

Mark Abner came to MPR I APM in 2016 with more than 20 years of experience as a nonprofit executive and development professional, working primarily in environmental conservation and higher education. He was most recently vice president for development for Trout Unlimited, a national trout and salmon habitat conservation organization with 400 chapters and 154,000 members. There Mark grew the development program, re-established a planned giving program, and helped complete a $175 million campaign. He has also held development leadership positions with The Nature Conservancy, the University of Minnesota Foundation, the University of Minnesota’s College of Natural Resources and the Trust for Public Land. Mark was appointed by Governor Dayton as a member of the Minnesota Clean Water Council that advises on spending of the $100 million/year Clean Water Fund. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University, a master’s from Evergreen State College, and lives in St. Paul with his wife Gabe.

KATIE BLOOME, Leadership and President’s Circle Manager
kbloome@mpr.org

Katie Bloome joined the Major Gifts team in early 2016. She brings with her more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit operations, management and fundraising. Prior to joining MPR I APM, Katie served as the co-executive director of the Audubon Center of the North Woods and program director for YMCA Camp St. Croix. Most recently, she managed capital campaigns for Camp St. Croix and Summit Academy. Katie has a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and a master’s certificate from Hamline University. She grew up in Northfield, Minn., and spends her free time outside with her husband, son and dog.

STEVE CRANDALL, Senior Development Officer
scrandall@mpr.org

Steve Crandall has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraising professional working with nationally recognized nonprofit organizations like the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the American Cancer Society. He also has worked as a senior development officer with the College of Saint Benedict, St. Cloud State University and St. Bonaventure University. He joined the major gifts team in 2011, and is an active member with the Minnesota Planned Giving Council. Steve enjoys engaging and building relationships with APM | MPR members to learn their philanthropic interests and connect them to the mission and goals of the organization. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

DEBORAH HANSON, Principal Gift Officer
dhanson@americanpublicmedia.org

Deborah Hanson works with friends of American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio whose generosity significantly advances our mission. Deborah has been deeply involved in the growth of our major giving program since 2007, serving in multiple capacities. Prior to joining MPR | APM, Deborah served as a senior development leader at Twin Cities Public Television and the Minnesota Orchestra. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in history. Deborah is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, and a board member of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation.

SUSAN HWANG, Development Officer
shwang@marketplace.org

Susan Hwang works with supporters of American Public Media’s Marketplace program, and is based in the Los Angeles Bureau. Prior to joining the Marketplace team, Susan was the director of development at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, and led regional development efforts at mothers2mothers (an HIV relief NGO working in Africa) and at the national education organization Facing History and Ourselves.

Susan grew up in Los Angeles, received her bachelor’s degree from Scripps College and graduate degrees from the University of Iowa. She started her nonprofit career with fellowships at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C. and at the Huntington Library in San Marino.

PAUL ODEGAARD, Planned Giving Officer
podegaard@americanpublicmedia.org

Paul Odegaard has been with American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio since 2011. In his current role, Paul works closely with enthusiastic donors to ensure the programs and stations they love are vibrant for the next generation of audiences through planned giving. He also partners the visions of individual donors and APM | MPR to enhance current and future operations through outright gifts. Prior to his current position, Paul was an associate director of Macalester College’s annual fund, and before that, he learned the world of branding and strategic communications at Yamamoto Moss. Paul was a communications and media studies major and a music minor at Macalester College. In his free time, you can find him playing trumpet professionally, running an amateur baseball team, or canvassing Minneapolis with his wife and daughter.

JEFF SMITH, Development Officer
jeff.smith@mpr.org

Jeff Smith joined the Major Gifts team in 2015. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years. Prior to joining American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, Jeff designed and implemented the major gifts program at Common Hope, a St. Paul-based non-governmental organization that provides educational, health and housing support to students and their families in Guatemala. Jeff was director of the AmeriCorps Program at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for nine years, and led several international mission trips of Twin Cities volunteers to places like Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Mexico on behalf of Habitat. Jeff was raised in St. Paul and graduated from St. John’s University, Collegeville.

JOE THIEGS, Senior Planned Giving Officer
jthiegs@americanpublicmedia.org

Joe Thiegs joined the organization in 2012 to help donors make gifts as part of their estate and financial plans. Prior to joining APM | MPR, Joe was associate director of advancement at the University of Minnesota Law School, planned giving officer at the University of Minnesota Foundation, and a trusts and estates attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Minneapolis. He serves or has served on several boards, including the board of directors of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, the governing council and the legislation committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Probate & Trust Law Section, and the board of directors of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Crescendo Project. Joe was named a “Rising Star” of Minnesota law by Minnesota Law & Politics magazine in each of his last three years of private practice and again in 2009. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was a managing editor for Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice. Joe received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

JAMIE ZIEMANN, Development Officer
jziemann@americanpublicmedia.org

Jamie Ziemann grew up in Wisconsin, and moved to the Twin Cities in 1999 to work for Minnesota Public Radio. She spent her first three years in the MPR Traffic department, transitioning to the Development division in 2003. Jamie managed MPR’s Leadership Circle program for eight years, and became a development officer in 2011. She enjoys being part of the APM | MPR Major Gifts team, and finds great joy in her daily interactions with donors who share her passion for public radio. Jamie currently works with major donors for annual membership support and raises vital designated funds through major gifts to support specific areas of programming for American Public Media, MPR News, Classical MPR and The Current. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Institutional Giving

KRISTEN WESLOH, Director of Institutional Giving
kristen.wesloh@americanpublicmedia.org

Kristen Wesloh has 25 years of development and nonprofit experience, having worked for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Massachusetts League of Women Voters, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She is responsible for leading the Institutional Giving team in cultivating and stewarding relationships with regional and national foundations and growing philanthropic support for American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio. Prior to joining APM in 2012, Kristen was director of development for Community Thread in Stillwater, Minn., and deputy director and chief operating officer for Acre Family Child Care in Massachusetts. She holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and the University of Massachusetts.

HILARY SMITH, Development Officer
hsmith@mpr.org

Hilary Smith is responsible for managing the multi-year Legacy Amendment appropriation from the State of Minnesota for Arts and Cultural Heritage as well as managing relationships for other arts and culturally-focused foundations. She has held institutional giving positions at The Trust for Public Land, Guthrie Theater, American Red Cross – Twin Cities, and Children’s Theatre Company. Hilary earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and her master’s from the University of Minnesota. She is a long-time volunteer with Jawaahir Dance Company, as an Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grant review panelist, and at her children’s Minneapolis Public Schools. Hilary has also served on the board of directors for Theatre in the Round and Southside Family Charter School, as well as the Development Committee for Circus Juventas.

RACHEL SMOKA-RICHARDSON, Senior Development Officer
rsmoka-richardson@americanpublicmedia.org

Rachel Smoka-Richardson is responsible for securing and managing grants for APM Reports, MPR News, and on demand programming. Prior to joining American Public Media, Rachel held institutional giving positions at the Guthrie Theater, Girl Scouts River Valleys, and Children’s Theatre Company. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota, as well as an MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She received an individual artist grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and is working on a middle grade novel.

MEGAN UEBELACKER, Senior Development Officer
muebelacker@americanpublicmedia.org

Megan Uebelacker serves as senior development officer for American Public Media’s Marketplace, where she solicits and manages foundation funding for all Marketplace programs. Prior to this position, she worked as a fundraiser and administrator for KIPP Austin Public Schools, WNYC New York Public Radio, the New Orleans Ballet Association, Southern Rep, and Classic Stage Company (NY). Megan holds degrees from Wellesley College, the University of New Orleans, and the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.