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About Me

There is no "traditional" path to becoming a fundraiser. I was in my third year of a PhD program in cellular and molecular biology when I decided that wasn't the right path for me. Inspired by an appreciation for the impact of philanthropy on my undergraduate and graduate education, I finished my masters degree and took a fundraising-related position at a higher education non-profit. I expected to eventually get a "real job" and pursue a research career. That was 25 years ago, and I have never looked back.


Trained as a scientist, I bring an analytical approach to advancement work which, when combined with an empathy for people, ability to ask good questions and to listen for understanding, formed the foundation for my successful advancement career. I have a passion for mission-focused education and research organizations and a heart for coaching professionals to unlock their potential as leaders. 

picture of Kathi Dantley Warren

Career Highlights

  • Led Rice University to back-to-back record fundraising years in 2021 and 2022, breaking the $250M mark for the first time

  • Launched Rice's $2B Be Bold Campaign in 2021, the largest fundraising campaign at a private institution in Texas

  • Instituted Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program for Rice's development and alumni relations division

  • Named one of Houston's 50 Most Influential Women 2021-22

  • Received CASE 2020 Educational Fundraising Award for Overall Improvement for Private Doctoral Research Institutions

  • CASE 50 Leadership Steering Committee Member

  • Chaired CASE Conference on Leadership in Development

  • Grew annual fundraising revenues at Duke Cancer Institute from $18M to $30M and completed $200M campaign

  • Secured largest gift ever ($31M) to Cornell University's College of Engineering and increased annual revenues by 254%


I have 25 years of advancement leadership experience at higher education and academic medical institutions in $1B+ campaigns. Most recently, I served as vice president for development and alumni relations at Rice University where I launched a $2B campaign, the largest at a private institution in TX. I led a team of 150 with responsibility for principal and major gifts, gift planning, alumni relations, corporate and foundation relations, presidential events, donor relations, annual giving, marketing and communications, and advancement services. 


Under my leadership, Rice set new fundraising records in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, and also broke a record for giving to the Rice Annual Fund, while steadily growing annual fund participation. In 2020, I led Rice to securing its first nine-figure gift, followed by a second in 2021. I established new standards for organizational excellence within the development and alumni relations division by implementing a division-wide annual planning process and instituting a slate of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. 


Prior to Rice, I served as senior executive director of development at the Duke University Cancer Institute, where we successfully completed a $200 million campaign. From 2010 to 2014, I served as assistant dean for alumni affairs and development at Cornell University’s College of Engineering, where I developed and implemented the college’s first alumni affairs and development strategic plan and alumni engagement plan and increased annual revenues from $22.7 million to more than $56 million. 


I spent eight years at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, ultimately serving as campaign director, and was a major gift officer at The Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.


I earned a masters degree in cellular and molecular biology from Duke University and a bachelors in biology from Hampton University. I am originally from Northern Virginia, and am an avid sports enthusiast and dog-rescue advocate who also enjoys travel, cooking and painting.

Contact Me

If you’d like to discuss how we could work together to exceed expectations, book a free consultation session here or contact me today.

Mobile 240-462-1388

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