Local CFRE Blends Fundraising Expertise and Personal Philanthropy to Advance USF

Davina Gould, University of South Florida

Catalyst Consulting Services CEO Michelle Turman MA, CFRE, has dedicated almost 30 years to serving nonprofit organizations in Tampa Bay and beyond, raising over $75 million for the community.

Now, she’s combining her personal passion, philanthropy and professional experience to advance student success and patient care at her alma mater, the University of South Florida.

Earlier this year, Turman made a $25,000 challenge gift to encourage other patients and donors to advance research and comprehensive care at the new USF Health Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) Center. In addition to her gift to USF Health, Turman created the Turman Study Abroad Scholarship in Ancient Studies in 2018 to provide undergraduates and graduates with the opportunity to study and conduct field research in Greece and Italy.

“What was being created here at USF Health with this new center was a continued center of care — one that could shepherd you and connect all of your doctors together on one platform,” said Turman, whose gift is the largest to date for the IBD Center. “It saved me the time and stress of having to coordinate all of my doctors, communicate the story numerous times, and making sure all the tests and results were in one place.”

Turman’s USF roots run deep, as both of her parents were members of the university’s first graduating class. Turman received her master’s degree from USF and currently serves on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council.

“Passionate alumni like Michelle are the heart of our university,” said Eric Eisenberg, dean of the USF College of Arts and Sciences. “Her involvement with USF as a community leader and philanthropist has a tremendous and lasting impact on our students, faculty and community.”

A study abroad experience in Europe motivated Turman to make her first major gift to USF. As a young graduate art history student, a backpacking trip from Florence to Greece gave her the chance to see up close the history she had before only read about. The adventure sparked her desire to provide that opportunity to others.

“It’s a big world out there,” said Turman. “The only way to understand that is to experience it. Traveling gives you a greater sense of respect and tolerance for other people, cultures and religions. These are life lessons you carry with you wherever you go.”

USF is strengthened by Turman’s generosity. Her dedication to USF is truly making a difference in the lives of students, patients and our community.

Turman is the Founder and CEO of Catalyst Consulting Services and has nearly 30 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of executive search, organizational management, and fundraising. She serves on the national board of Donate Life America and the Hillsborough County Cultural Assets Commission. She has been recognized by Tampa Bay Metro magazine as one of Tampa Bay’s Distinguished Women in Business and the Face of Nonprofit Change and was recently nominated by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce as The Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year.

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