The company now known as Ashley | Rountree is the result of a friendship forged in fundraising and has its roots in early campaigns for a private university, an addiction recovery center, and one of the region’s top grant-makers.
Jeff Ashley and Mark Rountree first met in the 1990s while working together for the University of Louisville’s Challenge for Excellence campaign. Jeff came to U of L as the Director of Major Gifts after successfully leading fundraising for his alma mater Trinity High School. Mark came to U of L as the Director of Development for the College of Arts & Sciences after a 15-year career in campaign consulting and development posts in the arts and higher education. The Challenge for Excellence topped $340 million on its $200 million goal and, even though they each pursued new paths, Jeff and Mark remained in close touch in the years that followed.
Jeff left U of L in 1998 to become Vice President for Advancement at Spalding University, where led the staff and board to plan and launch a $10 million capital campaign, the most ambitious in the University’s history. Meanwhile, Mark left U of L that same year to become Vice President for Iowa-based RuffaloCODY, the nation’s leading provider of nonprofit consulting and software services for annual giving offices in universities and large nonprofits. Mark kept his home and office in Kentucky, and he and Jeff regularly found time to share stories about their new careers.
In 2002, as Jeff saw Spalding’s campaign successfully top $15 million on its $10 million goal, he moved into a new career as a fundraising and management consultant to nonprofits. In addition to aiding Spalding’s major gifts program, Jeff’s other new client was The Healing Place, a nationally renowned addiction recovery center and Kosair Charities, one of the region’s top grant-makers to children’s healthcare needs. Calling his company Ashley & Associates, Jeff declared his mission to provide “nonprofit consulting services in comprehensive community fund development, organizational strategic planning, and corporate philanthropy.” His particular strength would be his ability to identify practical ways to boost fundraising results and help his clients tap into a dynamic network of donors, volunteer leaders and nonprofit managers. In addition to continuing to aid Spalding’s major gifts program, Jeff’s first new client was The Healing Place, a nationally renown addiction recovery center whose motto is “Where Hope Is Found.”
As the first client of Ashley & Associates, The Healing Place fit perfectly with Jeff’s personal commitment to community service and helping others to become self-sufficient. The program was open to all, regardless of their ability to pay, and it was unlike most any other recovery program in the country because its treatment protocol was based on a social model that’s about empowerment rather than entitlement. As a result, The Healing Place had proven five times more effective than the national average at keeping its clients clean and sober.
Ashley & Associates quickly grew to accommodate a thriving nonprofit community in the Louisville Metro area, serving over 150 clients in the 8 years that followed. Today, in addition to full-time consultants, independent contractors with a variety of skill sets and experiences are a part of the Ashley | Rountree team of professionals providing specialized areas of expertise to best serve our clients.
In the winter of 2010, Mark had completed 12 years of service as Vice President of RuffaloCODY, guiding a six-fold increase in business in the Midwestern region, where he had focused his efforts on assisting major universities and other large nonprofits with their annual giving campaigns. In 2010, 15 years after first meeting at the University of Louisville, Mark and Jeff decided to finally come back together as partners in Ashley & Associates. Mark’s first project was assisting the advancement program at Hosparus, the Louisville region’s leading provider of hospice end-of-life care. (By coincidence, the CEO of Hosparus, Phil Marshall, was Jeff’s first client when Marshall was President and CEO at The Healing Place, Jeff’s first client.)
Ashley & Associates officially re-launched as Ashley | Rountree and Associates in May 2011. The core mission of the company remains aligned with the original inspiration for Jeff’s vision of service to community and helping nonprofit organizations achieve sustainable growth.