Susan worked closely with me as we built our first philanthropy program for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Her trusted counsel to me as a leader and physician-scientist was invaluable as I was learning my way around the fundraising world. With her support, I was able to become comfortable and effective in telling our stories to donors and raising the private resources needed to help make our programs preeminent.
— - Harold L. Moses, M.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, Director Emeritus, Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center

Susan Holt

President and Senior Consultant

Susan is a highly experienced and innovative fundraising and development communications specialist with 30 years of experience in leadership positions and as a consultant to academic medical research centers, hospitals, higher education institutions and arts organizations.  She founded Vision Philanthropy Group in 2009.  She is a thought leader in creating a culture of philanthropy and specialist in campaigns, transformational and mega-gifts development  and philanthropic strategic planning.  Susan is a sought after coach for board members, executives and development staff in the process of inspiring and securing transformational gifts. 

Susan has held senior development positions at some of the nation's premiere institutions, Susan’s leadership roles include:

  • Chief Development Officer Weill-Cornell Medical College, Cornell University (NY, NY)
  • Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (Cleveland, OH)
  • VP for Development, National Jewish Health (Denver, CO)
  • Executive Director of Development, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
  • Senior Director of Development, Principal Gifts, Vanderbilt University Medical School (Nashville, TN)

She was responsible for organizing the first Office of Institutional Advancement at Weill Cornell Medical College where she managed the $700 million nucleus fund for the College’s historic $1.3 Billion “Discoveries that Make a Difference” campaign.  At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Susan established the advancement program for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and led the Center’s “Imagine a World Without Cancer” $150 million campaign, which exceeded the goal at $180 million in four years as well as providing development leadership to the nursing school and the medical school’s basic sciences programs.  While at Vanderbilt, she also staffed the medical center’s Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and the campaign chair as the principal gifts officer (gifts of $1 million +) in the university’s $1.25 billion campaign.  At National Jewish Health, she led major gift and event staff located in offices throughout the United States with the principal office located in Denver.

Recent clients include: American Cancer Society, Mid-South Division (Nashville, TN), Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), BrightStone (Franklin, TN), Chilton Medical Center (Pompton Plains, NJ), MGH Institute of Health Professions (Boston, MA), Partners In Health (Boston, MA), New England Baptist Hospital (Boston, MA), University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (Buffalo, NY), Williamson Medical Center Foundation (Franklin, TN), affiliate of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Centerstone Research Institute (Nashville, TN) and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (Athens, OH),Project Renaissance (Nashville, TN).

Susan is a frequent national and international presenter.  Recent speaking engagements include:

  • Upcoming: Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, International Conference, New Orleans, LA, October 2017, "Creating million dollar gifts with physician partners: Strategy to Tactics:  Big Vision = Big Gifts".
  • Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Webinar, February 14, 2017, “The Psychology of Giving: What Neuroscience Tells Us”.
  •  Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, International Conference, Chicago, IL, October 2016, “Creating Million Dollar Gifts and a New Era of Philanthropy with Physician Partners”.
  •  Planned Giving Council of Middle Tennessee Summit Conference Speaker, Nashville TN, August 2016, “The Psychology of Giving:  Why Me?”
  •  Hospital Fundraising Summit, sponsored by Hospital Fundraising Today, April 6 – 10, 2015.  Topics: “Bold plans/Bold asking:  Coaching your Board and physicians in capital campaigns for bold results” and “Are we there yet?  Where is your culture of philanthropy today?”
  •  Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Big Ideas Conference, New Orleans, June 26, 2014, “The Art of Bold Asking”.
  •   Mercilhacy and Boulan Associates Health Care Professionals Seminar, Paris, France,  June, 2012, “The Essential Elements of Executing Successful Hospital Campaigns”
  •  Foro Mundial de Fundraising (World Fundraising Forum), Monterrey, Mexico, October, 2012, "Developing a Successful Fundraising Campaign".
  • University of San Andres, Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 2012, “The Building Blocks of Successful Fundraising Campaigns in Health Care Organizations”.
  •  Siro Libanes Hospital, Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 2012, “The Fundamentals of a Successful Hospital Campaign”.
  •  AHP 2011 International Conference presenter, Boston, MA, October 2011, “Campaign Readiness: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy for Success”.
  •  New York City Fundraising Day Conference, Senior Management Track 2010, "Rebooting your non-profit after a campaign".

Susan is a member of The Association of Fundraising Professionals, The Association of Healthcare Philanthropy, and Partnership for Philanthropic Planning.  She serves on the Boards of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and the Planned Giving Council of Middle Tennessee in Nashville, where she resides.

“Susan Holt successfully transformed the development program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.  Having observed her training and supervision, I did not hesitate to recommend her talent to Partners in Health, a complex global health organization”. - Diane E. Kaneb, Mass. Eye and Ear Board member and former Board Chair, Board member, Partners in Health

“For Partners in Health, VPG produced an extraordinary perceptive overview of development history, shortcomings and opportunities of an extremely complex organization and its struggling development staff.  This was the best analysis and recommendations I have seen in my 40 years of engagement in philanthropy”. - Al Kaneb, Chairman and CEO, Barnstable Broadcasting, Inc., and Board member, Partners in Health