Major Gifts Officer
Cindy Harris serves as major gifts officer for Mercy For Animals, identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major gifts while creating and sustaining long-term relationships with major donors. Philanthropy began early in Cindy’s life. Raised by her maternal grandparents, values such as patience, justice, hard work, and kindness for all beings were always first and foremost in her life. Cindy’s grandmother was an elder in the local church and her grandfather was one of the first union leaders for a large auto parts manufacturer, fighting for humane working conditions and fair pay for all workers. Such an upbringing helped instill in Cindy an affinity for work in the nonprofit community.
Cindy grew up on a small farm in southern Ohio. She remembers farm life fondly, but it never felt right eating animals she considered her companions. Cindy’s journey toward veganism began when she saw documentary footage of cruelty to animals on modern-day factory farms. She was shocked to learn about the horribly inhumane conditions animals are subjected to in the production of meat, dairy, and eggs. She quickly made the connection between abusive factory farming practices and the food on her plate and adopted a compassionate vegan diet. Cindy now grows most of her own food and finds that she is much happier knowing where it comes from. She has truly returned to her roots.
Since 1985, Cindy has worked with various nonprofit organizations, building successful fundraising campaigns. She is accomplished in all areas of business management, including strategic planning, board development, staff development, and fundraising methods. Her fundraising expertise encompasses annual giving; major gifts; planned giving; endowment funds; capital campaigns; and corporate, foundation, and government grants.
Committed to ongoing learning, in addition to executive management, nonprofit training, and best practices, Cindy continues to study all areas of transformational information, including metaphysics, theosophy, and spiritual awareness. She holds a certificate in fundraising from UCLA and in planned giving from California State University, Long Beach. Cindy also continues as an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Planned Giving Round Table.