Meet the Team
Founder and Managing Director
Stephen H. Whisnant founded Stephen Whisnant Strategies, LLC in early 2014. He currently serves as managing director of this boutique consulting firm that provides philanthropic services to individuals, organizations and charitable foundations. Prior to establishing his own firm, he served as Director of Philanthropy and Advisor to the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C. and as an independent consultant to nonprofit organizations and initiatives, nationwide. Prior to serving this international NGO which promotes democracy building around the globe he was a Managing Director for the United States Olympic Committee, based in their Washington, D. C. office. He assisted with a number of special projects, helping the design of their first capital campaign and including work with the US Paralympics and the US Olympic Foundation Trustee program. Prior to joining the US Olympic Committee, he served as the Campaign Director for the "Building for Peace Campaign" of the United States Institute of Peace. The headquarters’ project, a $186,000,000 campaign, provided a permanent home for the Institute and it includes an expansive Global Peacebuilding Center on the northwest corner of the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Whisnant has an extensive background in fund development and general management and senior leadership positions in nonprofit work. Prior to joining USIP he served as Vice President of Development and Investor Relations at Venture Philanthropy Partners. He has also provided consulting services to both national and international organizations, advising them on their development plans, strategic planning, board development, capital campaign planning and general operations. He served full-time as Senior Director of Development and Non-Profit Initiatives, and then as a consultant to Paul Allen, Jody Patton and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in Seattle, Washington. He developed long-term fundraising and operations 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, New Mexico.
Whisnant spent fourteen years in higher education as a senior development officer and advisor, including ten years at Harvard University and three years at Davidson College; his tenure included work in alumni relations, major and leadership gifts and three 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 he 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/CEO for eleven years. The organization received international recognition for its work in advancing educational and medical initiatives through sports events and programming. Whisnant 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. He serves as a trustee, director or advisor, respectively, for the World T.E.A.M. Sports, PeacePlayers International, The Doug Coombs Foundation, Fencing in Schools, The Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, Collegiate Directions, Classroom Champions, EverWalk, and Kartemquin Films. 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.
He and his wife, and son, reside in Washington, D.C. His wife, Liz, is Head of the Horace Mann School and Max is an undergraduate at Connecticut College with a passion for politics, and baseball.
Michael Edmonson is passionate about traveling the world and using his skills to engage with different people, cultures, and pressing issues. He is fluent in Spanish and has had the opportunity to live, study, and volunteer in locations around the globe. Born and raised in Louisiana, Michael graduated top of his class from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. One of his proudest accomplishments at LSU was starting a fundraising effort to directly benefit children seeking assistance at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals all around the nation. Due to their hard work, Michael and his team set a record for the most money ever raised by a first-year university fundraising campaign. Dance Marathon is the name of the effort, and Michael helped create a sustainable strategy and team so that it continues to grow and help children in need every single year. Through his life experiences, Michael has discovered his passion for service and determination to do everything he can to better communities and hopefully inspire change on a grand scale.