Leadership and Mentor

Bonnie Eisner


Bonnie Eisner is a strategic planner, high-profile events manager and fundraising consultant for major nonprofits, which have included Drexel University, The Philadelphia Zoo, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and Summer Search, a national leadership development organization that works with students from low-income families. She is passionate about connecting people and causes, and creating partnerships between nonprofits for mutual benefit.

For Drexel University, Eisner oversaw all aspects of the inauguration of John Fry, the 14th President of Drexel University. She helped create, plan and execute a schedule of events that encompassed symposia, an inaugural luncheon, inaugural concert, cocktail celebration, investiture ceremony and other student and academic programming. She also has worked with the School of Engineering at Drexel University to foster a culture of giving by transforming an historically free event, the Engineering Leader of the Year dinner, to a successful fundraising event.

She successfully has run major stewardship and fundraising events for The Philadelphia Zoo and Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, such as the zoo’s Razzle Dazzle event, a picnic and silent auction for 600 donors. For Summer Search, she organized a luncheon with the Mayor of Philadelphia for forty prospective donors and board members.

From 2000-2007, Eisner was director of special projects at the University of Pennsylvania, where she planned and implemented numerous special projects focused on fundraising and alumni relations. Eisner was responsible for strategic planning, target marketing, status reporting, high profile programs and events, and staff development and training. She directed the 125th Celebration of Women at Penn, a two-day event that attracted 1,200 women from 34 states and 5 countries; developed and oversaw a national screening program to identify major and leadership gift prospects for a recently closed $4.5 billion fundraising campaign; raised $2 million for undergraduate scholarship funds for women at Penn; created and raised dollars to fund the first scholarship fund for alumni of color; and led and staffed the farewell and welcome tours for outgoing and incoming university presidents across the U.S. and London.

Eisner’s business acumen was honed in the for-profit world. She was founder and president of Advantage Display Systems, Inc., a company that contracted with major convention centers to provide direct links to advertisers through interactive kiosks. Eisner developed a sliding scale fee that allowed nonprofits to participate and maintained all systems at more than 95% of capacity.

She has served variously as a due diligence officer and private-public partnership equity fundraiser for The Dover Group, and as a property/leasing manager for Silver and Harting, where she managed contracts and leasing for an 80,000 square foot historic office building and was leasing manager for a $22 million residential and commercial development.
Eisner has long had a commitment to the communities in which she lives and works. In 2003 she created a successful partnership between WXPN, the University of Pennsylvania radio station, and local hospitals. XPN/Musicians on Call pairs volunteer musical artists with hospital patients, offering bedside performances. For more than a decade, she has volunteered in various capacities with Project H.O.M.E., an organization dedicated to the homeless of Philadelphia.  She has served as a board member at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Center City; was a board member of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and Penn Hillel, and currently serves on the board of Drexel Hillel. She is a member of the Women’s Philanthropy Council at Drexel University.

Her early professional career was in education, with an emphasis on special needs and behavioral management. Eisner worked for the Philadelphia School Board as a lead teacher and behavioral management specialist for developmentally delayed and autistic children, and also served as an instructional advisor who tested and evaluated children for placement into special needs classrooms. Before that, she was an instructor at Boston College who supervised and trained student teachers and nurses for work with multiple-handicapped children and taught behavior management coursework to undergraduate and graduate nursing and education students.

Eisner holds a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree from Lesley University and has completed graduate-level coursework in organizational dynamics at University of Pennsylvania.