Stephen H. Whisnant is the founder and managing director of Stephen Whisnant Strategies, LLC. He previously served as director of philanthropy at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and a managing director for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), where he assisted with a number of special projects, including work with the U.S. Paralympics and the U.S. Olympic Foundation Trustee group. Prior to joining the USOC, Steve served as the campaign director for the "Building for Peace Campaign" of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The headquarters project, a $186,000,000 campaign, provided a permanent home for USIP that includes an expansive Global Peacebuilding Center on the northwest corner of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Steve has an extensive background in fund development and general management in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining USIP he served as vice president of development and investor relations at Venture Philanthropy Partners. He also has consulted with a number of national and international organizations, advising them on their development plans and operations. He served as senior director of development and nonprofit initiatives, and then as a consultant to Paul Allen, Jody Patton and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in Seattle, Wash. He developed long-term fundraising strategies for the Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Documentary Film division of Vulcan Productions, and the Microcomputer Gallery in Albuquerque, N.M.
Steve spent 14 years in higher education as a senior development officer and advisor, including 10 years at Harvard University and three years at Davidson College; his tenure included work in alumni relations, major gifts and two capital campaigns. He gained political fundraising experience during his tenure as the first-ever executive director of the Presidential and Democratic Party Victory Fund in support of the 1988 presidential race.
During his tenure at Harvard, Steve became actively involved in the community service movement, especially among athletes, and in 1993, he opened the doors of World T.E.A.M. Sports, an international sports nonprofit committed to offering rich and dynamic programs to all levels of athletes, especially persons with disabilities. He served as the organization’s first executive director for 11 years. The organization received international recognition for its work in advancing educational and medical initiatives through sports events. Steve oversaw the production of four documentary films and numerous award-winning educational curricula. He is a recipient of an Emmy Award, serving as an executive producer of Vietnam, Long Time Coming.
He holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina and a master’s in education from Harvard University. In addition to serving as chair of Kartemquin Films’ board of directors, he serves as a trustee, director or advisor, respectively, for the Women's Sports Foundation, World T.E.A.M. Sports, Outward Bound USA, PeacePlayers International and American HigherEducation.com. He has presented frequently at national conferences, contributes to regional and national publications, and he was awarded a Lyndhurst Prize by the Lyndhurst Foundation for his work and commitment to community service.
Steve and his wife and son reside in Washington, D.C. His wife, Liz, is principal of the Horace Mann School and his son, Max, is a high schooler with a passion for baseball.
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