Mary Carlson, CFRE

Mary Carlson ( is Major Gift Advisor for Pilot Light. As part of the organization’s evolving fundraising strategy, Mary oversees the cultivation, stewardship and recognition for Pilot Light’s most generous donors. She works with the Executive Director, Board of Directors, staff, and other Pilot Light champions to identify and engage new donors and oversees the organization’s Recognition Circles that encompasses donor recognition, events, communications, and dedications.

Mary is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has worked in nonprofit management and fundraising for over 25 years. She earned a B.A. in Film from Columbia College and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Northpark University. She has experience in strategic partnerships, individual giving and membership, board development and governance, marketing, public relations, and communications.

She loves connecting with donors and continues to be inspired by their stories, generosity, and passion for the mission. Long-time resident of Chicago, Mary and her husband recently moved to Michigan with two very old, cranky cats, where they enjoy hiking, biking, cooking, and eating.

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