Michael Downing

Senior Consultant


Michael offers our clients extensive experience as a senior consultant, working with nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, management, development, and marketing.

Michael has built professional advancement programs from the ground up developing policies, protocol, and plans; instituting processes based on best practices; introducing donor management systems; and hiring and mentoring staff.

He also has deep experience in membership programs; national, state, and private foundation relations; corporate giving and sponsorship programs; and sustainable major gifts and planned giving processes. A firm believer in public-private partnerships, Michael was instrumental in helping to shape tax levy initiatives for the Toledo and Cheyenne Mountain zoos.

Prior Experience

After teaching for ten years, Michael has devoted nearly 35 years to nonprofit management as vice president for advancement, vice president of public programs, and COO. The institutions he has served include private, secondary, and graduate schools (Franciscan School of Theology [CA], and Toledo’s St. John’s Jesuit High School and Notre Dame Academy); zoos (Toledo Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo), and museums (Tacoma Art Museum).

Specifically, he led an assessment of the donor processing for the Toledo Diocese, an enrollment plan for a public school, and strategic planning and management consulting for a small business. In addition, Michael has broad organizational experience, supervising areas in finance, facilities and construction, signage, volunteers, visitor services, education, and political action.

Michael was an active AFP member for more than 20 years, helping to establish two chapters. He has served on national committees for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums; has been a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Colorado Historical Society and has served on numerous community development and cultural alliances.

Client Experience

  • Toledo Zoo
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • John’s Jesuit High School


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Literature – University of Toledo
  • Secondary Education Certification – University of WI, Whitewater