Robert E. Wahlers, MS, CFRE, is the coauthor of two books for CharityChannel Press: Getting Started in Charitable Gift Planning: Your Guide to Planned Giving and Getting Started in Charitable Gift Planning: The Resource Book.

Robert is the Vice President of Development for Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations, where he oversees the gift planning, annual giving and grants development program for the eight hospitals in the Meridian Health System. During his tenure, he has also served as the Executive Director for Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. Over his more than twenty-five-year-career, Robert has worked in the financial and estate planning field and in the nonprofit sector with the Boy Scouts of America, the American Cancer Society, Virtua Foundation, and now Meridian Health. Robert learned early on the value of developing relationships with professional advisors and honed those skills while with the American Cancer Society, where he saw how philanthropic planning can be an asset for the donor and the charity.

A speaker to audiences of five to five thousand, Robert has presented at such conferences as the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, the National Conference on Planned Giving, the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference, the Boy Scouts of America All Hands Conference, and the American Cancer Society Distinguished Gifts Conference, as well as several regional and local conferences.

Robert is an honors graduate with a master of science degree in human development and leadership with a concentration in nonprofit management from Murray State University and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Muhlenberg College. Robert coauthored their first book, The Philanthropic Companion—The Fundraisers’ and Professional Advisors’ Guide to Charitable Gift Planning, which was published by Wiley in 2012 and is the 2013 winner of the AFP–Skystone Partners Research Award. He has also been published in Advancing Philanthropy, CharityChannel, and Planned Giving Today and has been cited in the Nonprofit Times, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Advancing Philanthropy, among others. Robert serves on the faculty at Columbia University in its masters of fundraising management program.

He is a former national board member with the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP) and is active on several AFP committees. Robert also served on the boards of the Gift Planning Council of New Jersey and the Association of Fundraising Professionals–New Jersey Chapter, where he is a past president. Robert is also active as a 32nd degree York Rite and Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner.

When not working, Robert spends time with his wife and two children at their home at the Jersey Shore or on the Inner Banks of North Carolina. He also enjoys racing wooden sailboats as part of the Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association and maintains a studio for illustration and oil painting.

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