Collaboration Lab

Drafting the Future: Applying Findings from the 2019 Summit on Philanthropy and Dementia

Robert Hofmann and Stu Silberman

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.


Nonprofit organizations are at risk of litigation and loss of reputation if they don’t have written policies and procedures for working with adults who are suffering cognitive impairment due the onset of dementia and its common form - Alzheimer's Disease. A panel of charitable gift planning professionals who led a summit on philanthropy and dementia will present findings from this summit. Together, we will explore issues that arise as dementia is increasing among a growing population of active elderly philanthropist who are retaining their wealth for philanthropic purposes. Attendees will form teams to review summit findings and draft policy statements that answer the question: How does our institution balance the risks and rewards of seeking philanthropic support from a population that is at risk of cognitive impairment?

Learning Objectives

  1. Attendees will learn from research that shows elderly Americans are retaining more wealth while engaging in active philanthropy well into their eighties and longer.  As dementia increasingly impacts this population, the dangers of unintended consequences that may result in litigation also increase.
  2. Attendees will understand the clear need for industry-wide policies, procedures and best practices to protect vulnerable adults as well as professional fundraisers and the institutions they represent
  3. Attendees will apply the findings a 2019 Summit on Philanthropy and Dementia for their institutions. Copies of the Summit draft policy, along with an example of an existing institutional policy, will provide a framework for the exercise.


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Robert Hofmann

Senior Development Officer, University of Minnesota Duluth School of Fine Arts

Robert Hofmann is a native of the Twin Cities. For the past twelve years, Mr. Hofmann has worked at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) as Senior Development Officer with the UMD School of Fine Arts. At UMD, he has helped to raise more than $20 M for student scholarships and programs. He is one of only 5,000 worldwide Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFRE), an internationally recognized credential within the fundraising profession. Mr. Hofmann serves on the board of directors of the Depot Foundation in Duluth, MN, a six million dollar grant making charitable organization, where he is immediate past chair. Before coming to UMD, Mr. Hofmann was involved in tall ships maritime education from 1997 through 2006 as executive director of the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation that operated the tall ship Continental Sloop Providence. Hofmann was pivotal in spearheading the Foundations development and delivery of exceptional shipboard education programs that were recognized as a model partnership with Providence, RI, Public Schools by Cambridge, MA based Abt Associates in 2002. While executive director he successfully negotiated with the Walt Disney Co. to have his vessel and crew appear in two of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hofmann worked in Boston, Minneapolis and elsewhere as a professional actor appearing on stage and screen. He remains a proud member of Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. He appeared as a guest Equity artist in Duluth Playhouse production of Good People in January of 2014.

Stu Silberman

Senior Donor Advisor, Alzheimer’s Association

Stu Silberman is Senior Donor Advisor for the Alzheimer’s Association, the global leader in Alzheimer's and dementia education, advocacy, research, and support. In this role, he leads major gift and planned gift activities for a six-state region. Prior to joining the Association, Stu served as CEO of two Jewish Federations: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Louisville, Kentucky, where he also ran a Jewish Community Center. In each location he also oversaw foundations and administered donor-advised funds. Stu began his career in information technology with PaineWebber (now UBS), then spent thirteen years with Ford Motor Company in a variety of leadership positions in marketing, international product development with a foreign assignment in Hiroshima, Japan, mergers and acquisitions and information technology. Following his time with Ford, he served as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for two technology companies. Stu received his B.S. in in Computer Engineering from Lehigh University and MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Stu and his wife, Alison, live in a suburb of Minneapolis with their two daughters.