Gary Baker helped grow the capacity and impact of hundreds of nonprofit organizations by facilitating strategy and planning processes and programs, and thousands of individual nonprofit leaders through his mentoring and one-on-one coaching sessions – and his work benefitted the community as he helped develop several new generations of nonprofit and community leaders. Gary taught many popular courses and workshops as a complement to his community building work. Among the most popular was “Strategic Boards with Impact,” a special course Gary team-taught with Beth Smith and, later, with Leawood Mayor and community leader, Peggy Dunn, both seasoned nonprofit board leaders. In these courses Gary would present from the perspective of the nonprofit executive or CEO, while Beth and Peggy would speak from the perspective of the board leader. The lively give-and-take as the instructors challenged each other and the students made for an exceptionally engaging learning experience! There is absolutely no question that Gary Baker’s legacy of excellence has left an indelible imprint on the work and impact of the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and the community it serves!
Matt holds a bachelor of journalism in news editorial from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master of public administration in nonprofit management and doctor of philosophy in organizational behavior and higher education administration from UMKC’s Bloch School of Management and School of Education.
Brewster has been Executive Director and is currently on the board of, the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise, whose mission is to help nonprofits make wise economic decisions. For eight years, he developed and delivered trainings across the US for the Foundation Center in nonprofit sustainability, social enterprise and fundraising.
Before arriving in the US, in 2003, Brewster held leadership positions in the nonprofit sector in the UK. For eight years, he was chief executive of Scope, a national disability charity and one of the UK’s largest nonprofits, with revenues of $160 million, 4000 staff and 270 affiliates. As CEO, he oversaw major changes in governance and the development and then renewal of the leadership and staff structure of the organization. Prior to this, he was Director of Marketing at Scope, responsible for all aspects of fundraising and substantial public relations and advocacy activity.
Known for thinking outside the box, Gene is committed to staff development and fund development, to the importance of collaborations and strategic alliances, and to providing management services to mission driven organizations. Gene brings communities together for the common good of service. During his tenure with the YMCA, community partners placed into operation over $35 million dollars in facilities managed by the YMCA.
Gene’s leadership in Kansas City began in 1987 with an operating budget of $3.1 million dollars and an endowment of $2.3 million. The YMCA of Greater Kansas City had six membership facilities serving five Missouri counties, 18,900 members and 41,230 program participants, and in 1987 provided no child care. When Gene retired in August 2010, the annual operating budget was $47 million and the Y had expanded to include
- 19 membership facilities across ten counties in both Missouri and Kansas,
- five early learning centers,
- 98 before & after school program sites serving six school districts,
- six Head Start centers,
- 92,321 members and
- 347,000 program participants.
The YMCA of Greater Kansas City’s endowment realized a significant increase during Gene’s tenure, which led to the establishment of the YMCA Foundation of Mid America; it now holds a portfolio of $12 million.
While in Kansas City Gene also shared his expertise in nonprofit management. He served as an Adjunct Professor at Rockhurst University for 13 years and a guest presenter for the Masters of Public Administration program at University Missouri-Kansas City and the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership.
Currently Jim leads performance improvement teams at Truman Medical Centers where he teaches Six Sigma as change management and successfully implements strategic projects. In addition, Jim teaches Strategic Management and Six Sigma in the Avila University Graduate Professional Studies program, and recently embarked on a Public Administration Doctoral program focused on applications of complex system science.
Throughout a career of over 30 years, Ms. Gioia has been active in several community service organizations. She is a long-time United Way volunteer and serves as a finance volunteer to the United Way of Greater Kansas City Certification Committee. In addition, Ms. Gioia has served as Treasurer of the Board and Finance Committee Chair of the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, as a member of the Finance Council of St. Therese Parish, Parkville, as a member of the Board of Directors of Parkway Montessori School and as a member of the Board of Directors of Arts Alive.
Ms. Gioia is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants. She has served as chair of the Missouri Society of CPAs Not-for-Profit Committee and is licensed in the states of Missouri and New Jersey.
Ms. Gioia graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, French and International Management from Avila College. She has a Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Mel has held visiting or adjunct appointments at Washington University, Macalester College, Central Michigan University, the Universities of Minnesota, North Carolina, British Columbia, and Oslo, and the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business and Eastman School of Music. Prior to joining St. Thomas, he was an instructor at Transylvania University, research economist at two different Federal Reserve Banks, co-CEO of a nonprofit community development agency, and staff economist for a Minnesota state agency.
He is coauthor of The Economics of Art and Culture (3rd ed. forthcoming), editor and author of The Costs of Crime, and author of Turning On and Tuning In: Media Participation in the Arts, in addition to his numerous articles, book chapters, and cases. He is editor emeritus of Nonprofit Management and Leadership and is working on a book-length manuscript with the working title, Creating Social Value: Theory, Identification, and Measurement.
He is an active member of the American Economic Association and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, and he is past president of the Association for Cultural Economics, International.
Mel’s areas of applied expertise include program planning and evaluation, strategic planning, organizational architecture and governance, and nonprofit pricing.
Gray holds a B.A. from Hendrix College and an A.M. and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.
He is currently the chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Lifetime and Testamentary Charitable Gift Planning (Section of Probate and Trust) and serves on the editorial board of Trusts and Estates magazine. He is a frequent speaker at legal and educational programs and has been quoted in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, MONEY Magazine and The Washington Post.
Prior to coming to KCU Jane was Managing Director of Planned Giving at Children’s Mercy Hospital. She first came to Children’s Mercy in 1994 as Director of Planned Giving, and over a period of 18 years she helped build the planned giving program to one of the largest among children’s hospitals. At Children’s Mercy, Jane also served as Senior Director of Leadership Gifts and had the responsibility for the major gift program in addition to planned giving program. She also served two years as Vice President of Advancement at Rockhurst University.
A Certified Fund Raising Executive, Jane is an adjunct professor in the UMKC’s Nonprofit Leadership Program teaching classes on major gift and planned gift solicitation. She is an active member and former board member of AFP, the Mid-America Planned Giving Council (recently renamed Mid-America Charitable Gift Planners), CGP (national association of Charitable Gift Planners) and the Kansas City Estate Planning Society. She also serves on the Kansas City Estate Planning Society Symposium committee.
Jane earned a B.A. in French and Education from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and an EdD in
Higher Education Administration, with a focus on philanthropy, from the University of Kansas.
Prof. Luppino’s scholarship and conference presentations focus primarily on legal and policy issues significantly affecting entrepreneurs, and on entrepreneurship education. He was the principal organizer of the Law & Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), and has served for several years as lead editor of the Entrepreneurship Law (EshipLaw) website (http://www.EshipLaw.org) powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. As outgrowths of his work in urban innovation and civic entrepreneurship through the interdisciplinary Law, Technology & Public Policy course, he has become one of UMKC’s principal contacts with the MetroLab Network, and a founder and leader of the Legal Technology Laboratory (see http://www.thelegaltechlab.com).
Before joining the faculty on a full-time basis in 2001, Prof. Luppino practiced law with firms in Boston and in the Kansas City region. His practice included a wide variety of business, tax planning, and transactional work, involving multiple disciplines within the law. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1979. In 1982, he received his J.D. from Stanford Law School where he served as an associate editor of the Stanford Law Review. While in private practice in Boston early in his practice career, he earned his LL.M. degree in Taxation from Boston University, and in 1986 was articles editor of the Boston University Journal of Tax Law.
Dr. McCarther teaches courses in educational administration, foundations, and diversity. Her research agenda focuses on equity and access and embraces narrative studies, ethnography, documentary, and historiography; all giving voice to those long silenced across race, class, and gender boundaries. Dr. McCarther has been published in numerous scholarly journals and presented at national conferences including the American Educational Research Association, American Educational Studies Association, Organization of Educational Historians, and the National Association of Multicultural Education.
David tried one of the few class action lawsuits that have been tried in Missouri. That trial involved taking issues to the Missouri Court of Appeals as well as the Missouri Supreme Court. He regularly handles temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction matters in both state and federal court in the Kansas City area.
David understands that clients do not relish the time, expense, and unpredictability involved in handling complex business disputes in the courtroom and that our clients expect efficient work. He assembles lean trial teams that know how to handle discovery issues efficiently. He deals professionally with opposing attorneys which the judges in our area appreciate and expect.
David counsels clients on how to avoid business disputes. Lawsuits are a last resort and clients should understand how to avoid them. He is certified as a mediator and serves as a special master/discovery commissioner in cases.
David invests time in the community where the firm practices law. He is known and respected in the business and civic community. His civic activities include serving as a board member of AlignED; board member of MRIGlobal; board member of William Jewell College; board member of DeLaSalle Charter High School; board member of the UMKC Trustees; board member of Teach for America – KC; advisory board member Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas; and advisory board member of the AUP+D Department at UMKC. He is on the board of The Francis Family Foundation and is a trustee of the Murphy Charitable Fund.
Jennifer is a Senior Fellow with the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at UMKC and is honored to teach each year in the fundraising series training and educating nonprofit professionals of today and tomorrow. She has a BA from Iowa State in Religious Studies and Sociology and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from UMKC.\
In 2013, he was named Volunteer of the Year by Nonprofit Connect, Kansas City’s association for philanthropy, and in 2015 was recognized with the Regional Leadership Award from the MidAmerica Regional Council. Through MARC, he has spoken frequently for the past 15 years on the implications of the demographics of the Baby Boomers, and how we can view the increasing number of these older adults as opportunities, rather than as problems.
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