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The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is a leader in the fight against cancer, and our Philanthropy division plays an essential supporting role in many of the institution's achievements. By joining our experienced team, you can play a vital part in our progress toward ending cancer while securing broad support for patient care, research, education and prevention.

The scope of our efforts

Led by Darrow Zeidenstein, our Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, we're an award-winning, highly successful team of professional fundraisers who specialize in donor cultivation, board engagement, major gifts, planned gifts, annual giving, digital fundraising and special events, as well as support services such as prospect research, data management and analytics, proposal writing and related collateral, stewardship and reporting, faculty programs, gift processing, finance, professional philanthropy and training.

What it's like to work with us

  • You'll have the opportunity to share your talents in relationship-based, high-caliber fundraising for one of the world's most respected organizations.

  • You'll be part of a widely experienced team, sharing a fulfilling mission and funding life-saving research.

  • We have comprehensive training and onboarding processes, and you'll work within a collaborative framework that provides the support you need to achieve your goals.

  • We offer both onsite and remote work options.

Our commitment to your talent

The most valuable asset of any organization is its people. Our talent management philosophy is built on recruiting, developing and engaging a talented and diverse team of experienced professionals.

  • We actively engage in professional networks serving as mentors, ambassadors and examples of the talent we seek to attract.

  • We're committed to helping you reach full potential by providing access to training, mentoring and other opportunities aimed toward achieving your professional and career growth goals.

  • We offer a culture of coaching which both welcomes and offers continuous feedback.

  • We seek to provide a psychologically safe and positive culture that celebrates camaraderie, commitment and connection to each other.

Let's connect.

Feel free to search our current Philanthropy careers. Or simply fill out the form below and a Philanthropy team recruiter will be in contact with you.

Your privacy is important to us. Please review our privacy policy for more information on how we collect, use, and store your personal information.

Get to know our Senior Leadership Team

  • Dr. Zeidenstein, Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, was recruited in July 2019 to lead philanthropy resources fundraising efforts following an extensive national search. Motivated by the loss of close family members to cancer, he came to MD Anderson to help make a difference for others who face the devastation wrought by the disease. A proven leader in his field, Dr. Zeidenstein earned the 2019 Byron Welch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Fundraising from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Houston Chapter. He channels more than 25 years of philanthropy expertise as he drives MD Anderson's fundraising strategy and execution.

    Darrow Zeidenstein, Ph.D.

    Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer

  • Natalia (Nati) McWilliams, Associate Vice President for Individual Giving, leads the division's gift officers who are focused on individual donors, including teams for Principal Gifts, Major Gifts, Leadership Giving and Planned Giving. She has been a member of MD Anderson's Philanthropy team since 2007. The former executive director served previously on the principal gifts, regional and transformational initiatives teams. Prior to joining the institution, Nati was interim executive director of the Nashville State Community College Foundation in Nashville, Tennessee, leading fundraising and public relations for the college. She holds a bachelor of business administration in marketing from the University of Mississippi, where she graduated with honors from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

    Nati McWilliams, CFRE

    Associate Vice President for Individual Giving

  • Adelina (Adi) Espat, Associate Vice President for Philanthropic Engagement, oversees multiple teams essential to building donor engagement across all giving levels. She previously led the Corporate and Community Alliances team, developing strategy for corporate fundraising campaigns and peer-to-peer programs, which under her leadership raised more than $20 million. She joined MD Anderson more than 17 years ago, working for a decade in Strategic Communications to promote cancer prevention initiatives.

    Adi Espat

    Associate Vice President for Philanthropic Engagement

  • Mary Kathryn Cooper, associate vice president for Special Programs and Events

    Mary Kathryn Cooper, Associate Vice President for Special Programs and Events, joined MD Anderson as a program coordinator in 1990. Today, her team annually coordinates more than 100 fundraising, cultivation, educational and donor-appreciation events nationwide and advises on nearly 100 third-party events each year. She was part of the leadership team that raised $50 million over 5 years for the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research. Among the signature events she oversees is A Conversation with a Living Legend, a series that has raised more than $46 million to date. Since 1995, she also has coordinated the Board of Visitors Annual Meeting.

    Mary Kathryn Cooper

    AVP, Special Programs and Events

  • Sushmita Gupta, Associate Vice President of Foundation and Corporate Relations, works with faculty and administrators across MD Anderson to connect MD Anderson's research programs to foundation and corporate donors. Her team aims to expand and strengthen Philanthropy's support of the faculty's basic, translational and clinical research activities and to increase grant funding for the institution. She joined Philanthropy in 2008 as a proposal writer.

    Sushmita Gupta

    Associate Vice President, Foundation and Corporate Relations

  • Florence McKelvey, Executive Director of Finance and Gift Operations, guides the finance, gift operations, risk management and gift compliance teams. She plays a pivotal role in developing strategies and processes to carry out the division's objectives, including overseeing budget, revenue and expense management. Florence holds a Ph.D. from the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health and an M.B.A. from Texas Woman's University. She also is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Texas. Florence joined MD Anderson more than 20 years ago, working in General Accounting, Pharmacy Financial Services and the Division of Cancer Medicine.

    Florence McKelvey

    Executive Director, Finance and Gift Operations

  • Iska Wire, Director, Office of the CPO, joined the division in 2020. Iska serves as the Chief of Staff and leads the Talent Management team. A native Houstonian and sixth-generation Texan with nearly 20 years of professional fundraising experience, she most recently served as senior director of Talent Management and Organizational Development and director of Development for Rice University's Development and Alumni Relations Division. Prior to her time at Rice, she held fundraising positions at both the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council and the University of Houston.

    Iska G. Wire, CFRE

    Director, Office of the CPO

  • Gokul Murugesan, Executive Director, Decision Science and Analytics, joined the division in 2021. In this role, Gokul is building an end-to-end analytics solution to provide business insights, improve decision-making and provide empirical assessment of performance at the institutional, divisional and team levels with respect to constituent engagement and Development. He has more than 10 years of experience with advanced analytics, AI/machine learning, data management/governance and more than seven years of strategic leadership, product management and agile methodology experience.

    Gokul Murugesan

    Executive Director, Decision Science and Analytics

  • Melissa Brasher, Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts and Strategic Initiatives

    Melissa Brasher, Associate Vice President for Principal Gifts and Strategic Initiatives, leads the division's collaborative and dedicated efforts to secure principal and transformational gifts in support of MD Anderson Cancer Center's initiatives of highest value and priority. An integral part of her role is to serve as a thought partner to the Chief Philanthropy Officer, Senior Leadership team and MD Anderson President to guide fundraising strategy development. She additionally oversees the engagement of MD Anderson's network of committed Board of Visitors. Melissa joined Philanthropy in 2007 and has personally raised more than $60 million in principal, major and planned gifts.

    Melissa Brasher

    AVP, Philanthopic Engagement

Hear from members of our Philanthropy team

  • I am fortunate to have had the opportunity for career growth in Philanthropy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Over the past five years, I have honed in on development skills by teaming with members of the Individual Giving team, attending conferences and serving as a mentor/mentee. I look forward to the future and continued growth surrounded by a team of talented colleagues.

    Hunter Reynolds Smith, Associate Director, Major Gifts

  • Because of our resources, mission and history, there are great opportunities to experience a rich and fulfilling career path here. There are constant education opportunities in my selected specialty, as well as support for leadership and external education. It doesn't get much better than to have a noble mission and know that your team is all pushing towards it with you.

    Richard Bennett, Senior Director, Trusts, Estates and Gift Planning

  • Our work really matters. It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside so many amazing people, making such real impact in the lives of others. I find it to be the perfect blend of entrepreneurial, well-resourced, cutting-edge, driven, caring and collaborative. In every aspect and role of my life, working at MD Anderson has transformed me.

    Karim Kafray, Executive Project Director, Philanthropy

  • I have the privilege to work at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I most appreciate the mission and our patients. I enjoy working with my colleagues and having the support of my leaders in my desire to learn more to grow in this innovative and caring environment.

    Amy Kell, Senior Associate Director, Major Gifts

  • The mission of MD Anderson is second-to-none. People let us into their lives when they are often at their most vulnerable and it is a true privilege to walk with them on their journey. We get to wake up every day and help #endcancer. Different viewpoints are heard and appreciated. It is an honor to work here.

    Gina O'Neill, Director, Major Gifts

  • I moved cross-country to join this Philanthropy team and have been welcomed so well from the very start! Every day, I'm thankful to work with a team that values transparency, collaboration and innovation.

    Emily Behrens, Associate Director, Planned Giving

  • MD Anderson offers patients unparallel care backed by cutting-edge research - together these two strengths rooted in a singular mission to end cancer create and ecosystem unlike any I've seen in my career in healthcare philanthropy. Helping donors realize meaningful impact and having the privilege of hearing their personal connection to the mission is beyond rewarding.

    Tina Santana, Associate Director, Major Gifts

  • I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow my career in Philanthropy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I interned twice in Philanthropy as a college student and am now coming up on my five-year anniversary here. My colleagues and manager are very supportive of my career and continue to provide opportunities for me to learn and advance. The passion for our mission of Making Cancer History is palpable in everything we do.

    Emily Koch, Associate Director, Leadership Giving

  • Working in Philanthropy at MD Anderson means being a part of a mission that impacts so many people in my community and beyond.

    Tamara Carter, Assistant Director, Leadership Giving

  • As a member of Philanthropy at MD Anderson, I know that my work makes an impact on a goal we all share in common, that of Making Cancer History. It's a privilege to work at a place where there are always new things to learn and where I have been given the opportunity to tackle new challenges and broaden my skillset. And the culture within Philanthropy is great - fun, enthusiastic and supportive! I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with each day.

    Samantha Thorpe, Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations