Charity Magazine

RPR Fundraising Relaunches as Ascend Partners Group, LLC

Posted on the 03 March 2015 by Paullanning @paullanning

Consulting firm to non-profits merges with The Richard Mahan Group; New associates join professional team.

RPR Fundraising, LLC has merged with the Richard Mahan Group effective March 1, 2015.  The newly combined consulting agency has been renamed Ascend Partners Group, LLC, reflecting the firm’s professional expertise in assisting non-profit organizations in growing and expanding their business to the “next level” of performance.  The newly merged firm, which has relocated its headquarters to Sacramento, CA, will continue to provide critical services that include fund development, strategic planning, human resources management, and financial management while adding an expanded menu of marketing and public relations services for its clients.

Ascend Partners Group was launched as RPR Fundraising in 2011 by three non-profit professionals including Richard Mahan, founder and president of The Richard Mahan Group.  RPR initially focused its consulting for educational institutions.  Within its first year of operation, however, the demand for its services stretched across a broad array of non-profit organizations.  Ascend offers experience in all facets of non-profit organization management and capacity-building. The principals have served as chief executives, board members, consultants, and front-line fundraisers for a wide variety of non-profit organizations, raising tens of millions of dollars for those causes in the process.

The Richard Mahan Group (originally established in 1989 as Mahan & Nash) specialized in providing marketing, public relations and fund development services to publicly held corporations, private companies and non-profit organizations.  Its clients have included Packard Bell, Lorber Industries, Shapell Industries, D.A.R.E. International, The State of Israel, the California Department of Insurance, and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

“The merger with The Richard Mahan Group and re-launch of our firm as Ascend Partners Group was the natural next phase in our evolution as demand for our services has grown at more than twenty percent annually.  We are now better positioned to provide expanded services for our clients,” stated Paul Lanning, Managing Partner of APG.

“We are also thrilled at this time to announce the addition of two new professionals to our team, Elinor Tappé and Sarah Higgins,” added Lanning.

Elinor Tappé is Senior Director of Development, University Relations at the University of California, Berkeley following nearly two years with the Cal Alumni Association, where she was Director of The Berkeley Network & Leadership Engagement. In addition to her work in alumni relations and development, Elinor has experience in establishing best practices and protocol for start-up organizations, including the world’s only traveling high school, THINK Global School.  Before working in academia, Tappé spent 20 years in the communications industry, specifically in strategic business development and facilitation. She has extensive experience designing strategies for client engagement, particularly with c-suite executives in a multitude of business sectors. Tappé has served on a myriad of boards and has volunteered for both national and international non-profit organizations.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Speech and Drama from Marymount College of Fordham University.

Sarah Higgins specializes in crafting communication strategies and messaging that support the vision and mission of an organization while also resonating with diverse constituencies by identifying and segmenting audiences, developing appropriate communication campaigns and leveraging content across media and audiences.

In her role as Director of Marketing, Communications and Continuing Education for the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at University of the Pacific, Higgins is responsible for developing and managing a broad range of strategic initiatives including print and electronic communications and publications, social media campaigns, alumni relations, donor stewardship and recognition, continuing education, and most recently, recruiting.

Higgins’ professional background includes more than 10 years of experience, with the majority of that time spent in the education and nonprofit fields, as well as time spent with professional service organizations.

Higgins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University and her Master of Business Administration from the University of North Alabama. She is currently a candidate for her Doctorate in Education Administration and Leadership from the University of the Pacific. Additionally she holds a Certificate in Philanthropy and Fundraising in Education, also from University of the Pacific.

Ascend Partners Group offers a wide variety of services, ranging from full-service virtual office and loaned executive leadership to counsel on improving your annual giving program, maximizing efficiency and profitability of events, and cultivating major gift prospects. We will step in and assist you with hands-on development of funding proposals, establishment of donor relationships, and recruitment of board members, staff, and volunteers.  For further information, please visit

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