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Our Team

Michelle Whiting, Owner

Michelle launched Michelle Whiting & Associates (MW&A) after ten years of working in program, administrative, and development positions at nonprofits throughout Southern California. Michelle began her career as a case-worker at Skid Row Mental Health Center in the infamous region of Downtown Los Angeles where eventually Michelle established the first development department for the organization.

In 1989, the James Irvine Foundation paid her salary to launch a similar program for the Orange County Mental Health Association. Over the two-year contract position, Michelle established the organization’s first development plan: the revenue increased by 38% and the development plan became a blueprint for fundraising for homeless programs throughout Southern California.

Subsequently, the Weingart Foundation funded Michelle’s role as Vice President of Development for the Blind Children’s Learning Center to act as a “turn-around specialist.” After three and a half years of unprecedented fundraising success, Michelle opened MW&A.

Today, MW&A works with some of the largest and most prestigious organizations in the US and UK including the Joffrey Ballet, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Girls Incorporated, THINK Together, The Diana Princess of Wales Fund, Common Threads, American Friends of the Tate Britain, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the Fulfillment Fund. Michelle has a dual BA degree in English and Social Work from California State University Long Beach.


Laura Hardy

Laura Hardy, Senior Development Consultant
Having retained MW&A as consultants in her prior development roles, Laura Hardy was pleased to join our team in Fall 2018, consulting on foundation relations, grant development, planned giving, development assessments and executive searches.  Laura brings decades of sustained success exceeding goals for capital campaigns as well as annual goals for individual, planned giving, foundation, and corporate fundraising.  Before joining MW&A, Laura served as Senior Vice President of Development &  Marketing at Wayfinder Family Services (formerly Junior Blind of America), Vice President of Development at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and held senior major gift roles at The Carter Center and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Laura graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in Communication.


Carol van Ahlers, Senior Editor and Executive Search Associate
Carol joined MW&A in 2015 as the editor of the e-newsletter. She manages all candidate interviews for MW&A’s Executive Searches as well as our in-depth reference reports on finalist candidates. Additionally, she provides editing for foundation proposals, potential funder reports and development assessments. Throughout her career Carol has managed public relations programs for numerous municipalities, private firms, sporting events and nonprofit organizations, at one time owning her own public relations company. She also manages the social media and website content for several local nonprofits. Carol graduated Magna Cum Laude, from Washburn University, in Kansas, receiving a bachelor’s degree in communications.