Rainbow at Devil's Kettle Falls. photo © 2014 Ross Willits
Rainbow at Devil’s Kettle Falls. photo © 2014 Ross Willits


At SteppingStone Theatre, Ross oversaw massive changes in terms of growth and facilities. This required orchestrating many parts to function to its potential to pull it all off.

The new facility is beautiful and I was really impressed with how successful they were with their capital campaign.

— Don Eitel, fmr. Managing Director, Theatre Mu

I wrote my first grant application about 20 years ago, and I was hooked.

There’s nothing I like better than writing about things that I am passionate about, and working to convince the readers that they should be passionate about it too.

I have had success raising funds from sources at all levels of government, large foundations, small foundations, corporate foundations, small businesses and individuals.

I have written grants that have raised over $10 million for small to mid-sized arts organizations. I led the capital campaign that enabled SteppingStone Theatre to purchase, renovate and restore its home at 55 Victoria Street North in St. Paul. And I led efforts to increase individual giving to SteppingStone by 800% in just three years.

I am a clear and concise writer with the ability to make cogent arguments even in today’s highly-restrictive online grant applications. I am able to use data to support a broader story, not simply as raw statistics.

I understand that fundraising is the art of matching goals—the donor’s goals are every bit as important as the donee’s. It is where the two sets of goals overlap that lasting relationships are made.

And now more than ever, comprehensive measurement and evaluation of outcomes must be built into every step of the process: from a program’s conception, to its description, implementation and reporting on its conclusion.

Ross Willits brings a wide array of skills and knowledge to every project he gets involved with.
Whether it’s strategic planning, leading a team, fundraising, or consensus building, he simply knows how to get the job done.
– Peter E. Leggett, executive director of Walker West Music Academy

I can help with every aspect of your fundraising needs.

  • Project planning to better ensure fundability
  • Individual giving plans
  • Board training on effective fund raising
  • Grant writing
  • Meetings with grant makers and donors

Sample of grant proposal successes:

  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Minnesota State Arts Board (including Legacy Amendment programs)
  • City of St. Paul Cultural STAR and Neighborhood STAR programs
  • McKnight Foundation
  • Bush Foundation
  • Minnesota Philanthropy Partners Foundations
  • Target
  • General Mills
  • 3M
  • Ecolab

I have also been a grants review panelist for:

  • Minnesota State Arts Board
  • Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
  • United Arts

Contact me to discuss your fundraising needs.