The Smart Giving Strategies Team

Smart Giving Strategies relies on an open architecture to match the best possible talent with each client’s need. Our team includes:

Deborah L. Jacobs
President, Smart Giving Strategies
Copywriting and editing

A graduate of Columbia Law School and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Deborah practiced law for six years Deborah Jacobsbut has spent most of her career as a writer, "translating" complex legal and financial principles into plain English. Deborah has been a syndicated newspaper columnist, a newsletter editor, and an independent journalist. She has written for many national publications, including The New York Times, Bloomberg Personal, Inc. and BusinessWeek.

Clients benefit from Deborah’s strong foundation in tax law and broad overview of trends in charitable giving. Deborah uses this background to work as a thought partner with clients, proactively proposing cutting-edge topics and suggesting ways that they can fit within an organization’s fundraising efforts. In many years of covering this field, Deborah has also developed sources who are leading experts in philanthropy. She continues to rely on them in her work for Smart Giving Strategies.


Peter Scherer
Principal, H Plus Incorporated
Layout and design

A graduate of Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), Peter joined H Plus in 1984 and became firm principal in 1995. The firm has a 20-year track record developing print, identity, and environmental graphic projects for major clients in the not-for-profit and institutional sectors. In the course of many longstanding relationships, Peter has leveraged the shared knowledge developed by working with a client over time to improve the appearance and effectiveness of client publications.

Peter has long experience producing designs for development and planned giving programs, and he serves as the primary consultant on donor recognition signing for several major institutions. In that role, he often engages major donors and their representatives, creating designs that respond to the goals of major donors and the institutions that benefit from their philanthropy.

Current and past clients include Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, Teachers College/Columbia University, Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, the Museum of Art & Design, Wellesley College, Phillips Exeter Academy, Lincoln Center Theater, Montefiore Medical Center, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Central Park Conservancy.
H Plus Incorporated


Laura Zavetz
Illustration Research Consultant
Image Selection

With 15 years of experience art directing financial publications, Laura has an eye for finding the perfect imagery to deliver your message.

She is currently the Creative Director at Charter Financial Publishing Network, publishers of Financial Advisor and Private Wealth magazines. She was the Art Director of Bloomberg Wealth Manager starting at its inception in 1999 through 2007, and was responsible for its distinctive look. Under Laura’s direction, the magazine won more than 170 awards for design, illustration, and photography from such organizations as Society of Publication Designers, The Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Folio awards, and Print magazine.

Commenting on Wealth Manager's 2003 Folio: Gold Award for Best Finance Magazine, one judge said, "the art direction is light years beyond the other magazines in its class."

Previously, Laura was an Art Director with the Design Department at Merrill Lynch. She studied fine art at Douglass College and is a member of the Society of Publication Designers.

Laura Zavetz portfolio (pdf file}


Craig Zavetz
Website Design, Construction & Maintenance

Craig has been creating websites since the 1990s using Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop and Illustrator. He also uses Acrobat Pro to create editable PDFs that can be filled in by the Web user and emailed back to the client.

Most recently, Craig has worked on print campaign material for a New Jersey political consulting firm for several years. Prior to that, he worked as a composing room supervisor at a Princeton newspaper for 13 years. He is the proprietor of Zavsays, LLC.


Ken Stern
President, Ken Stern Research & Planning

Our alliance with this marketing firm gives clients access to strategic planning, branding and market research expertise. Ken has extensive experience in the wealth management arena as well as with high net worth individuals and intermediaries. He is available to consult on ways to build calls to action, and conduct research on donor response. kensternresearch



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