About Us2020-06-10T10:39:04-05:00

About Us and Our Fundraising Consulting Experience

Meet Our Team of Fundraising Consultants

Leslie Biggins Mollsen
Leslie Biggins MollsenCEO
Leslie has served hundreds of nonprofit clients with her major gift expertise. She is accomplished in the field of fundraising communication, having managed our Communication Services Division prior to becoming CEO. A graduate of Marquette University, Leslie is a recognized speaker and published author. An independent survey by Michael Chatman, the Ambassador of Giving and creator of #WhyiGive, ranked Leslie as the #3 Most Effective Fundraising Consultant in the nation. She is a long-standing member and past board member of the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) and currently serves on the National Catholic Community Foundation’s (NCCF) Network Council and the Edmundite Missions of Selma, Alabama, Board of Directors. For Leslie, working as a fundraising consultant in the nonprofit sector is a life-affirming experience – best when shared with clients.
John M. Biggins
John M. BigginsPresident
John has counseled hundreds of campaigns and provides fund development consulting to YMCAs, healthcare, social service, educational, religious and cultural organizations. A frequent presenter, John has conducted workshops for organizations including Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Giving Institute, Boys and Girls Club Regional Conferences, North American YMCA Development Officers (NAYDO), Center for Nonprofit Success Regional Summits and National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC). Here to ensure your organization’s future, results matter to John.
Daniel C. Mollsen
Daniel C. MollsenExecutive Vice President
Dan leads our planning, accounting, budgeting and administration as well as our marketing. He also provides fundraising consulting to clients and is a frequent presenter. Dan received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University and MBA from Loyola University and completed both programs with honors. Community service and building relationships are important to Dan and he gives generously of his time to St. Edward Central Catholic High School Foundation, St. Catherine of Siena School, Cub Scouts and Ducks Unlimited.
Maureen V. Egan, PhD
Maureen V. Egan, PhDSenior Consultant
Maureen came to ACB with 25 years of fundraising experience – 20 of which were dedicated to higher education. Serving in the capacity of Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Marketing for 13 years, Maureen oversaw the development, marketing/communications, alumni and parent relations, enrollment management, event services and bookstore operations of the college. Her wealth and breadth of experience is an asset to clients seeking one who sees not only the “big picture,” but also all of the finer details that comprise simple and complex organizations. Helping you thrive is her primary goal. Maureen is the youngest of 7 children and was drawn to the “family” atmosphere of ACB – genuine and caring relationships at the heart of service to clients.
Jennifer Higa
Jennifer HigaExecutive Assistant
Jennifer has been the Executive Assistant since 2007, handling a wide range of tasks including maintaining multiple administrative calendars, conference preparations and assisting both the executives and consultants with client materials for site visits and services. Prior to ACB, Jennifer worked in New Jersey with construction safety consultants and bridges the two work experiences with a common goal of designing and building for client success. You’ll be made to feel welcome from her very first “hello” on the phone.
Robert V. Hotz
Robert V. HotzVice President and Senior Consultant
Bob joined ACB, drawn by the firm’s experienced fundraising consultant team and its ability and commitment to adapt proven donor relations and fundraising strategies to the unique history and culture of clients. Bob is an educator at heart. He taught high school right out of college and led a Catholic high school, as president, through a comprehensive long range planning process and $16 million capital campaign. He earned his advanced degree in nonprofit management and strategic planning from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. Consulting to him is an opportunity to help organizations find ways to live their mission more perfectly.
Kristen Ziese
Kristen ZieseSenior Consultant
Kristen came to ACB from the Jasper Foundation – a two county community foundation that achieved increased assets of more than $5 million in 24 months while expertly executing the recertification of national standards and best practices with the Council of Foundations. Before transitioning into community foundation work, Kristen participated in a $304 million campaign at Purdue University with a $54 million campaign in the College of Technology and worked with the Dean and his team to develop, plan and execute opportunities for faculty, constituents and students to expand diversity in funding streams including private donors and industry strategic planning. Kristen was attracted to ACB because it’s a team of professionals who are providing the purest form of philanthropy – helping organizations enhance communities.
Stephen J. Taylor, CFRE
Stephen J. Taylor, CFRESenior Consultant
Steve has over 40 years of development experience, specializing in youth organizations and social service nonprofits. His understanding of the business of nonprofits allows him an ability to help clients focus on development, while complementing other operational areas including strategic planning, capital campaign management, major gift development, grant writing, and foundation research. As an Eagle Scout and active member of his church, Steve understands the importance of nonprofits and his role in helping them prosper.
Erik Anderson
Erik AndersonSenior Consultant
Erik has worked with hundreds of organizations in his capacity as both an internal consultant at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and as an external consultant. His 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector covers everything from front line mission-focused programming to the CEO suite, including coaching, facilitating, planning, and training. Erik received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois and earned his Certified Business Coaching Specialist (CBCS) credentials from GTC Institute. Erik’s love of resource development springs from his personal experience in helping donors realize their dreams through philanthropy.
Nick Zimmer
Nick ZimmerSenior Consultant
Nick is an advocate of relationship building, which is evident throughout his 30 years of service to YMCAs in Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Texas. Nick was the founding Executive Director of the YMCA of Montgomery County in Red Oak, Iowa where he transformed a storefront Y to a state-of-the-art 70,000 sq.ft. facility, built an impressive $3.4 million endowment, and earned the prestigious North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO) Excellence in Fundraising Eagle Award; the highest award within the movement. Nick is a current member of the NAYDO Council.
Vernon Delpesce
Vernon DelpesceSenior Consultant
Vernon comes to ACB with 40+ years of experience within the YMCA movement from entry level positions to the C-Suite; from Branch Y’s to entire Y systems, and with the YMCA of the USA. While serving in various roles with the YMCA of Greater Houston, National Field Consultant for YUSA, Chief Operating Officer for the Toledo, Ohio YMCA, and as President/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, Vernon is well-versed in annual fund development and capital campaigns and serves on several local boards including Des Moines University’s Advisory Committee for Masters of Public Health, Simpson College’s Advisory Committee for Health Care Administration and the Above and Beyond Cancer Board.
Gary Schuyler
Gary SchuylerSenior Consultant
Gary Schuyler began his career with the Hockomock Area YMCA’s summer camp to help pay for college. Little did he know at that time he would meet his future wife there and then go on to a rewarding career serving 5 different Ys in the Northeast spanning 4 decades. Most notably, Gary served 28 years as the CEO of YMCA Southcoast in Southeast Massachusetts where he conducted 8 capital campaigns that helped grow a single facility with one summer camp to an association with 6 full-year branches. Nationally, Gary led YUSA’s nationwide membership reciprocity initiative which now has over 96% of all eligible Ys throughout the country participating.
Wess Audsley
Wess AudsleySenior Consultant
Wess comes to ACB with 35+ years of experience within the YMCA movement, international sport, higher education and college athletics. Following a successful 16-year career as a YMCA CEO Wess served as the Senior Vice President of Association Resources for the YMCA of the USA. He is a nationally respected executive with proven leadership and relationship-building skills. Wess is experienced working with aligned staff and volunteer teams, collaborative partners and high-profile funders. At the local and national levels Wess has broad experience navigating complex legal, political and public relations situations. As a CEO Wess led collaboration and fundraising efforts that brought about the merger of two associations, the renovation of two branch facilities, the building of a new YMCA branch and the complete renovation a residence camp. As a Sr. VP at Y-USA Wess led a staff team that oversaw hundreds of capital planning and development projects; facilitated the strategic planning efforts for the majority of the Movement’s YMCA’s and provided expertise and resources in support of hundreds of Y+Y and Y + Community collaborations. Wess and the staff team he oversaw were responsible for the development and application of the Pathway to Capital Planning and Development, the Movement’s definitive resource for identifying, planning for and moving through the integrated phases that make up a successful development project and capital campaign.

Our Philosophy

Transformational results in building a culture of philanthropy are found through:
Personal. Meaningful. These are the kinds of relationships you need for a sustainable culture of philanthropy. Donors who have the strongest relationships with you will typically make the greatest, lasting investments in your organization. The essential ingredient to building strong relationships is a cultivation strategy, one that includes consistent, meaningful and personalized communication.
Though you encourage contributions of all sizes from all sources, successful philanthropic efforts start with targeted, well-cultivated, high-end key gifts. These are most often from individuals who have a sustained relationship with you and your volunteer and internal leaders. Success in major gift development and securing major gifts can be achieved with the right, proven steps.
Committed. Involved. That’s the right kind of volunteer leadership you need to bolster staff efforts. Projects that meet or exceed goals are volunteer-driven. Build a corps of volunteer leaders that are dedicated to your organization and motivated to inspire others to give generously.
Those within the organization must lead by example to inspire the philanthropic support of donors and volunteer leaders. Though there may be varying degrees of participation and support, all members – regardless of title – must be advocates of the effort. Taking ownership of the development function and believing in what it will accomplish starts with top leadership and is reinforced through the organization.
The road to success is paved with your Case for Support. An effective case is built on your mission and a vision for the future. Facts and researched data provide the roots, but a strong case blossoms when compelling and passionate, providing key messages that resonate with and unite everyone around a common goal.

Our History

American City Bureau was incorporated on April 22, 1913. The beginning of the company happened through a series of events that can be traced back to 1911 when two Buttenheim brothers decided to stake their future on a magazine called The American City. This small monthly magazine had just started less than two years earlier, but was quickly failing under its existing management. The Buttenheim brothers had backgrounds in successful trade and technical journals – one was a businessman, the other an aspiring editor – so they divided the task between them based on their strengths.

The growth of the magazine under the Buttenheim brothers brought them in touch with municipal officials and Chambers of Commerce throughout the country. These civic-minded individuals made it increasingly evident that there was a need for a national organization to promote philanthropic activities through campaign techniques and research services which The American City had been advocating in its articles. The brothers understood this undertaking could not be done effectively through the magazine, so in April 1913 they formed a new corporation – American City Bureau.

In the beginning, American City Bureau focused on organizing and strengthening Chambers of Commerce. Over the next few years ACB branched out to working with libraries, YMCAs and other community organizations. Today, our work spans from youth and social services to religious orders and organizations to healthcare, education, community and the arts. Our fundraising consultant team has come a long way and we credit our rich history to our continued success in helping nonprofits realize the promise of growth.



Edgar and Harold Buttenheim purchase American City Magazine


April 22: Edgar and Harold Buttenheim establish American City Bureau to “Promote the general welfare and prosperity of communities of any and all kinds, the health, safety and comfort of the citizens thereof respectively and to raise money for civic and philanthropic purposes.”


ACB conducts 3 Chamber of Commerce campaigns


ACB hosts first staff conference


ACB conducts several Summer Schools of Community Leadership to train Chamber of Commerce staff on membership and community development.


US enters World War I.  ACB staff shifts from Chambers of Commerce to raising funds for the war effort. ACB’s Warcamp Community Service campaign raised over $3.75 million.


ACB conducts its first campaign for the YMCA


ACB acquires the Town Development Company


ACB begins publishing its newsletter “Bureau News” which continues today


ACB creates Canadian City Bureau, Limited


Summer Schools end as a result of the Chamber of Commerce initiating its own Summer School


ACB moves its headquarters to Chicago


ACB directs its first hospital campaign at Wilmington Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware.


ACB begins raising money for Community Chests throughout the country


ACB conducts its first capital-specific campaign for Colorado College


ACB joins other fundraising firms to establish the American Association of Fundraising Counsel, now named The Giving Institute


ACB formalizes and implements the first Developmental / Feasibility Study process


ACB conducts capital campaign for the University of Notre Dame exceeding the $55,000 goal



In Memory of James J. Biggins

From the day he was born, Jim Biggins was destined to be a leader, particularly in the nonprofit world. Through his distinguished 43-year career with American City Bureau, he helped hundreds of nonprofits raise millions of dollars as a professional fundraising consultant and philanthropist. The footprint he leaves behind in the philanthropic community is immeasurable. The fundraising industry will remember him as a leading force in philanthropic development. His family, friends and colleagues will remember him as a caring, generous and passionate man who lived a life that was full of stories illustrating a kind, generous spirit, intelligence, business savvy and fierce loyalty. His legacy lives on through our continued pursuit of building a richer culture of philanthropy.