Lee A. Ernst

Lee A. Ernst

Senior Consultant



Experience as a successful major gift officer at a large university has given Lee Ernst a unique understanding of major gift work and donor dynamics. As a Senior Consultant at JGA, Lee uses this experience to assist clients in achieving their strategic and philanthropic goals.

Lee worked as a Major Gift Officer at the University of Chicago in advancement during the institution’s $2 billion campaign. She worked closely with the boards and giving councils at the University of Chicago to create the first ever Parents Program fundraising initiative which resulted in national parent participation and an increase in annual and major gifts to the University. Following her work at the University of Chicago, she worked as a Development Officer Consultant with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She began her career at The Salvation Army Chicago with a focus on major gift donors.

Lee volunteers her time to help advance the field of philanthropy as a mentor and committee member with the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter, the Miami University MUDEC Alumni Advisory Board, and The Oaks Academy Task Force. She has also served on the Education Committee of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis and as an Annual Fellow with the Development Leadership Consortium.

Previous Experience

  • Development Officer Consultant, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University
  • Associate Director, Parents Program, Development, University of Chicago
  • Assistant Director, Parents Fund, University of Chicago
  • Major Gifts Advisor, The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division


  • Master’s degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University
  • Bachelor’s of Science degree in Speech Communications from Miami University

Meet another member of the JGA Team: Timothy W. Krull