J. Steven Covington, CFRE, CAP
Senior Project Director
One of the most profound comments ever shared with me was from a donor who described the sacred relationship she had with the select group of charities that were especially dear to her. So important were these organizations that she elevated them to the level of family when creating her estate plan. Her substantial philanthropy—both during her lifetime and after—was reflective of the great value these organizations had in her life.
It is humbling and gratifying to enter into that sacred space with people who are arriving at a vision of their philanthropy as an extension of themselves, most especially the institutions and activities that bring meaning and joy to their lives.
When I reflect on what continues to motivate me in my work, it is the opportunity to engage with people like the above donor: men and women who have arrived at a place—financially, intellectually, and spiritually—where they can begin creating gifts of significance and even transcendence for organizations that allow their values to endure. Hearing about the individuals, events, and institutions that shaped these people’s lives, not to mention the hard work it took to build the wealth now enabling their philanthropy, delights and inspires me.
Steve’s 30-year career as a fundraiser and nonprofit executive includes capital campaign and planned giving roles.
In the early 1990s, he launched a planned giving program for a Wisconsin social service agency, then established a consulting firm focused on planned giving and endowment-building with clients throughout the Midwest.
In 2006, Steve and his family returned to his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., where he led Louisiana State University through two capital campaigns, both of which resulted in the construction of landmark buildings on campus: The LSU Tiger Band Hall and the College of Engineering’s Patrick F. Taylor Hall. While in the College of Engineering, he mentored a cadre of highly professional major gift officers who became adept at integrating planned giving concepts into donor solicitation strategies.
Steve has served as the CEO of several organizations and on numerous nonprofit boards, including the planned giving councils in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Houston. Among his proudest accomplishments was serving as the founding president of the Baton Rouge High School Foundation board, an organization he helped start in support of his alma mater which is among the top-performing public high schools in the United States. The BRHS Foundation was named the 2014 Philanthropic Organization of the Year by the Baton Rouge chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Summary of Experience
- Coordinated the efforts of volunteers and senior staff to generate deferred and current gifts for a world-class orchestra’s endowment.
- Trained and empowered a team of college development officers to solicit planned and blended gift arrangements in the six and seven figures.
- Founded a consulting company that provided endowment-building and planned giving resources to congregations and nonprofits. Services included writing promotional materials, hosting on-site seminars, and direct interaction with donors and their advisors.
- Earned the designations of Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP) and Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
- Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University; Masters from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.