Advancement Advisors Group

Deb Desjardins is a seasoned leader with 30 years of fundraising experience with a variety of organizations, from small community nonprofits to large, complex health and education institutions.

Prior to joining Advancement Advisors in 2021, Deb served as Executive Director of University Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). There she provided leadership for the direction, planning and execution of fundraising activities that supported university-based programs as well as interdisciplinary academic centers including entrepreneurship, brain science and learning technology. Deb’s team at CMU built fundraising strategies from the ground up, raising more than $20 million collectively.

Deb also served as Associate Vice President and Campaign Director at Robert Morris University, where she oversaw all aspects of the quiet phase of a $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. Prior to that she was Director of Development at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, where she led fundraising efforts including individual major gifts, corporate and foundation relations, annual fund and community outreach.

Deb earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Michael’s College, a master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She has raised over $40 million during her career and speaks frequently on topics related to fundraising, specifically individual major gift strategies and professional career development in advancement. Deb has been a Pittsburgh resident and active community member for 17 years, serving on boards for Falk School, Sojourner House and Genesis of Pittsburgh.  

Contact Deb at