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Stepping in Faith - Interview with Liz Schriner

In this episode, Andrew visits with Liz Schriner, Director of Market Engagement & Special Gifts at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  They discuss how to approach fundraising in new ways. From innovation and extension to Catholic impact investing and donor advice funds. They will also discuss how to step forward into this new era of current and post pandemic philanthropy.

Show Notes:

Liz Schriner is the Director of Market Engagement and Special Gifts at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is originally from New Zealand. She earned a degree in agriculture science and entered into public relations in that field. Her journey led her to America in her late 20s where she met and married her American husband. For the next 15 years they entered apostolate and pro-life work, traveling with their three children, living the camper life. Living the faith life. This led to grassroots work. After 15 years on the road, with their children growing too big for the camper, they settled in Northwest Ohio. Liz home-schooled her children while re-entering the workforce. She started a franchise in the publishing world but desired to take her missionary heart and meld it with her business head. Entering the advancement field at Franciscan was a new field but enabled her to combine the two. 

Liz grew up Catholic in New Zealand, but during her teen years, her parents decided to focus on good citizenship rather than being involved in Vatican II. But her Nanna, an Irish Catholic, continued to pray for the family. When Liz was in her late 20s she was involved in a severe car accident, one which she should not have survived. She believes her Nanna's prayers and faith, played a role in saving her life that day. After the accident, Liz continued to live in her business head but now had a daily question of "what is the purpose of my life?" One year after her car accident, she found herself at the local evangelical church where she was brought back to her faith and it was this that led her to America. When God speaks to us, it will be in unexpected times. 

During her 15 years on the road, they devoted themselves to serving the homeless, disenfranchised, immigrants, etc. They realized it was very personable, person to person work. 

Her husband ran for President as an independent beginning in 1998. Due to this and him also being a reporter they were able to discuss social justice, catholic teachings, family life, average citizens doing more, with the media. 

Franciscan University

 Liz works in the spirituality of fundraising. In her role, she is there to process and facilitate gateways of fear and burst those fear bubbles. To build trust and ask for a call to prayer. It is then given to the Holy Spirit and benefactor. 

She engages with new benefactors and through the Franciscan innovation and extension, looks five years down the road. So Liz finds benefactors for projects that are five years down the road. 

Catholic Impact Investing

Matches men and women in their 30s-40s who are generous and have prosperity/wealth with ways to create ROI in their giving, launch apostolates and create sustainable funds for their philanthropic work. 

Donor Advice Fund

Creating what is an excellent, philanthropic management tool. They have been working closely with the Knights of Columbus in this capacity. 

Step in Faith Initiative

To help with those affected by the pandemic, especially financially, Franciscan University will be offering free tuition to all incoming freshmen students this Fall semester, helping online students with funding and flying all graduating seniors to the school for their graduation ceremony rescheduled for August. Fr. Dave says that you must step in faith with a boldness. While Franciscan University is doing this without expecting a return on investment. 

Liz would give two pieces of advice to new development officers. The first is to be yourself. To carry the love of Jesus and to share the messy parts with those you're building relationships with. And second, to know your objective and to be mindful of that. Whether your objective is to build relationships, to make an ask or discuss a project. Be mindful of that when you're stepping into a meeting. And bonus, be all about trust, address the fear bubbles and build trust. 


Liz is a mother, a walker and a gardener. She has made a garden in every home she's had. And she find comfort in silence. She'll use a quiet drive to pray a rosary and to be still in silence. 

Lightening Round

  1. If you could fund-raise for any organization at any time, what would it be?
    • Franciscan University or for the earthquake in Christ Church, New Zealand
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anybody dead or alive, who would it be
    • Whoever God puts in front of me
  3. Is there enough money out there for everybody?
    • Yes, because God is not put in a box. There is enough for whatever God desires
  4. Who are three people who have influenced you the most in the fundraising world?
    • Edith Stein, Pope John Paul II, Bernadette Hays and her team at Franciscan University
  5. If you could go back in time, would you do it all over again?
    • Absolutely, for the right cause

If you would like to connect with Liz, she can be found at [email protected] or 419-792-9059

Andrew's Take-Aways:

  1. Liz's explanation of the art of fundraising, don't be like anyone else but yourself. 
  2. The interesting idea of Catholic Impact Investing which treat grants as investments or loans. Very interested in seeing how that works.
  3. Step in Faith initiative, courage to do the right thing even if we don't know how or if it will benefit us.

Action Item:

Write down or type 15 radical ideas for shifts or changes that you can make during this pandemic. Basically, 15 ways that you can step in faith. These can be institutional or personal. Write down 15 because the first 5 will be pretty obvious, it's once you get beyond the ones that are staring you in the face that you get to the good stuff. 

If you have questions, or want to share a success story, email me at [email protected] or send us a Facebook message. We’re always happy to help. God bless.

Be bold and the Lord will provide. #thistooshallpass


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