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Top Marketing Executive and National Fundraiser Donna Palmer named Chief External Relations Officer of Austin-based Upbring


Austin, Texas – March 21, 2016 – Upbring, the new Lutheran Social Services of the South, is delighted to announce the addition of Donna Palmer as the chief external relations officer to the Austin-based nonprofit. Now 135-years-old, the organization annually serves more than 27,500 children, families, and underprivileged people across Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

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As a direct report to the Chief Executive Officer, Palmer will serve as a key member of the leadership team and will be an active participant in the development of strategic decisions on behalf of Upbring. As Chief External Relations Officer, Palmer will oversee the planning and implementation of all external relations strategies, activities, and initiatives such as fundraising—including community and foundation-based grants—marketing and communications, advocacy, and volunteer relations.

Prior to joining Upbring, Palmer was Chief Development Officer for the LIVESTRONG Foundation overseeing individual giving, business development, corporate sponsorship and partnerships, events, major gifts, annual giving, donor relations and stewardship. In her role, she helped identify new revenue channels and crafted creative outreach to engage both current and potential supporters.

Prior to her work with the LIVESTRONG Foundation, Palmer was vice president of donor development at the American Diabetes Association where she managed a national revenue budget of $65 million. Before that, Donna was national director of donor relations at Compassion International where she worked closely with donors, created new funding opportunities, and ultimately, increased gift revenues by 48 percent. Earlier in her career, she served as senior vice president of major gifts and gift planning at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Palmer has more than twenty years of experience building teams and programs to cost-effectively raise funds, awareness, and community involvement in complex environments.

“Donna is one of the best at what she does and we’re delighted to have her on our team here at Upbring,” said Dr. Kurt Senske, chief executive officer of the organization. “In her new role as Chief External Relations Officer, Donna will help further position Upbring as one of Texas’s leading nonprofits. Through the relationships she’s already developing, the way we communicate with all of our important constituencies, and the funds she and her team will raise, we look forward to having greater resources to carry out our top agency goal—to end the cycle of child abuse.”

Palmer received her B.A. in journalism, marketing and public relations at Drake University and her J.D. at Tulane Law School. She and her daughter, Ellie, reside in Austin.

About Upbring

Upbring, the new Lutheran Social Services of the South, is a 135-year-old nonprofit organization with a rich legacy of serving vulnerable people across Texas. Its mission is to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families, and communities. Upbring serves more than 27,500 people annually and provides innovative programs and services for children including foster care, adoption, education, residential treatment, and community services. For more information, visit



Jennifer Schattle, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Upbring

(512) 545-3965 | [email protected]

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