Who we are

//Who we are
Who we are 2018-09-05T18:41:38+00:00

iGiftFund (Independent Charitable Gift Fund) is an IRS-recognized 501 (c)(3) public charity. Our offices are located in Hudson, Ohio (between Akron and Cleveland). We serve individuals, families, companies, and foundations who value flexibility and true independence.

Phil Tobin, Chairman and President/CEO

Phil Tobin co-founded iGiftFund with his son John Tobin.  He is one of the true pioneers in the development of donor-advised funds. His work in donor-advised funds began in 1986, as the CFO of The Cleveland Foundation (America’s first community foundation). Following this, he founded the American Endowment Foundation, which has grown to become the country’s 30th-largest charity within the Philanthropy 400.

Owing to his 30+ years with donor-advised funds, Phil has a unique approach to explaining philanthropy and his love of donor-advised funds in family philanthropy. As a result, prospective donors come away from their conversations with creative solutions, new ideas and, often, a feeling of: “Wow … I didn’t think that was possible.” Donors and their advisors describe him as “passionate,” “inspiring,” “helpful,” and—perhaps our favorite—“unstuffy.”

While serving as the CFO of The Cleveland Foundation, Phil co-founded The Investment Fund for Foundations (TIFF) to serve the investment needs of endowed charitable organizations including education-related institutions, cultural institutions and foundations. Today, the TIFF has about 700 nonprofit members, with member assets of over $9 billion.

Phil is also the co-founder of the Hudson Community Foundation, established in 2000.

John Tobin, Former Chairman and Co-Founder

John Tobin, is former Chairman and the co-founder of iGiftFund, a uniquely independent donor-advised fund platform.  He has over 25 years of experience in donor-advised funds and previously served as the Executive Vice President of the American Endowment Foundation growing the organization to $1 billion in assets under administration.

Throughout his work in the Microgiving Division at AEF, John brought donor-advised funds to 130 of the largest companies in America (Google, Coke, Apple… to name a few) enabling more than 2 million employees to grant more than $750 million to over 80,000 charities.

His vision was to create a truly independent donor-advised fund that would enable donors to learn the joys and opportunities in family philanthropy.

April 2018 update:   John is currently VP of Development for the Harrington Discovery Institute of University Hospitals. 

William A. Payne, Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Bill is an attorney who brings 30+ years of experience to iGiftFund in areas to include estate planning (preparing wills, trust and related planning documents); probate and trust administration; and restating retirement plan documents. He excels at really listening to what a client wants to accomplish then finding ways to help them do it.

After graduating from John Carroll University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bill received his law degree from the Claude W. Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University.  He is admitted to practice in the Ohio Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and all Ohio municipal courts.

It was at Payne & Payne, a law firm of some 50 years duration founded by his father and uncle, that Bill began his legal career.  The firm became known as Payne Payne & Cook and Bill was made a full partner.  Later, Bill left private practice and worked in the public sector for nine years before returning to the private sector to establish his own law practice.

Bill is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland and the Northern Ohio Charitable Gift Planners.  An active member of the community, Bill has been involved with the Cub Scouts, Single Volunteers of Lake County, Leave a Legacy, Women’s West Housing Corporation as a board member and was a Planned Giving Advisory Committee member to Ursuline College, John Carroll University and St. Gabriel Church.

A Mentor resident, Bill and his wife Susanne are blessed with two wonderful teenage sons.  He enjoys traveling and has been to nearly every state as well as to Canada, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, England, Ireland, France, India and backpacked the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal.

Melissa Durst, Senior Gifts Administrator

Focused, efficient, and delightfully supportive, Melissa is a natural fit for gift acceptance. Regardless of project scope, Melissa has an uncanny knack for finding the best way to take on difficult projects and arrange them into manageable bites. With Melissa on your account, you never have to walk around with that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something. (She won’t let you!) She considers her understanding of the donor and advisor mindsets to be one of her greatest strengths.

Melissa uses her well-honed communication skills and keen attention to detail to nurture genuine relationships with her clients, listening closely and translating their needs into powerful giving funds. From the East Coast to the West Coast, clients and advisors trust Melissa. Why? Because professionalism and passion drive every decision that she makes.

Melissa views her work as a reflection of herself, so whether she’s answering donor questions, helping advisors with charitable investments, or simply listening, she dives in wholeheartedly. If Melissa seems quiet, it’s only because she’s listening intently. And if you need something done in record time, Melissa is your go-to. She’s that rare, dream-come-true mix of fast and awesome.

When she’s not working, Melissa devotes her hours to spending time with her partner Jim, snuggling with her fur baby Sophie (a 6-year-old Papillion mix), spending time with family and friends, traveling, and serving on the committee for the Parkinson Foundation’s Moving Day,® held in Cleveland. Parkinson’s is personal to Melissa, as her partner Jim was diagnosed in 2013. She supports the Parkinson Foundation’s mission to every help person diagnosed with Parkinson’s live their best possible life now.

Sheilah E. Villanueva, Senior Grants Administrator

Sheilah excels at big-picture donor support and is especially skilled at striking the right balance between industry knowledge and genuine service. She loves helping donors and embodies the guiding light of service. She also supports the professional development of our team.

Prior to iGiftFund, she was responsible for over half a million grants to more than 80,000 charities. It should come as no surprise, then, why she’s referred to as “Wonder Woman” around the office. Like any superhero, she knows that with great power comes great responsibility, and that’s why Sheilah is tireless in her support of donors’ unique grant-making needs. Whether she’s helping donors understand the possibilities or fulfilling grants, she rocks the service and partners with the account team to identify solutions.

When Sheilah’s not saving the world one grant at a time, she thoroughly enjoys her alter-ego existence as a wonderful wife and mother of two. She enjoys spending time with her family, attending church, singing, and binge-watching Netflix.

If Sheilah ever takes on an additional role at iGiftFund, she hopes it’s as the Executive Company Baker! She has a passion for baking, and is an expert at cooking and all-round magic-making in the kitchen. Sheilah’s grant administration is stellar, but her cupcakes and macarons remain the stuff that legends are made of.