The Team

Terry Fairholm


A graduate of Loyola High School (Montreal, Canada) and Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, New Hampshire), Terry has a business background with both a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. at the University of Notre Dame. From 1986 to 1989, he served as Regional Director of Development during Notre Dame's $450 million "Strategic Moment" campaign, supervising a comprehensive fundraising operation in a 10-state area and eastern Canada. He became involved in the development consulting business in 1989 and founded Advancement Partners in 1996.

His blend of development and business expertise provides a valuable perspective in addressing the needs of private high schools and non-profit organizations. He has demonstrated significant success throughout his career and is eager to provide your school with the proven services he and his partners have developed and enhanced over the course of many years at varied schools and settings.

Terry lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife Diana and their three sons: Mark, Bryan, and Curtis. He's runner (he's completed three marathons), and also enjoys music and plays the guitar.

William J. Acton

Senior Partner

A graduate of Loyola Academy (Wilmette, IL) and the College of Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), Bill has over twenty years of hands-on experience in organizational advancement and capital campaign management. Prior to beginning his consulting career in 1993, he worked for Cardinal Bernardin at the Archdiocese of Chicago as the first Director of Development for the Seminary System and then as the first Director of the Cardinal's Appeal.

Over the past fifteen years, Bill has specialized in capital campaign management, major gift solicitation and development operation re-engineering. He has personally engaged in over 4,000 major gift solicitation calls ranging from $5,000 to $10,000,000.

Bill lives in Elmhurst, IL with his wife Sheila and their two daughters, Mary Alice and Margy.

Donald Fairholm

Senior Partner

Don is a graduate of Loyola High School (Montreal, Canada) and has earned a BBA (Finance Major) from the University of Notre Dame in 1978.

Don gained valuable experience in business management and sales prior to joining the API team, having held various senior management positions in the home furnishings industry. As a General Manager and then Vice President of Sales, Don's strong background in project management and professional selling has been applied to the business of institutional advancement and capital campaigns for Catholic education.

Don's three sons all attended Catholic high schools and he currently lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with his wife Debbie. Don enjoys golf and is an avid runner, regularly competing in long distance races.

Bryan Fairholm


Bryan is a graduate of Bishop Watterson High School (Columbus, OH) and he earned a BBA (Marketing & Management Majors) from Loyola University Chicago in 2010. Bryan worked briefly in sales before returning to the Loyola University Chicago School of Law where he earned his J.D. in 2015 with a concentration in tax law.

Prior to joining the API team on a permanent basis, Bryan worked as an intern with the company in marketing, client development, and the annual summer seminar. Since earning his law degree, he worked for two years as a consultant in the field of State and Local Tax. Bryan gained valuable experience working with clients on a variety of issues including income tax compliance, sales and use tax voluntary disclosure agreements, and sales and use tax audit defense services.

Bryan lives in Chicago, IL and enjoys playing hockey, golfing, and running.

Diana Fairholm

Director of Finance

Diana has over twenty five years of experience in accounting and financial management, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in accounting from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She started her professional career in Cleveland, OH as Accounting Manager for Artistic Manufacturing then became Director of Finance for the Notre Dame Credit Union in South Bend, IN.

Diana has been with Advancement Partners since its founding in 1996 and is responsible for all financial matters within the company. She specializes in financial analysis, cost allocation and auditing. Diana is married to company President, Terry Fairholm, with whom she has worked for over fifteen years. Together they have three children, Mark, Bryan and Curtis and they live in Dublin, OH. Diana enjoys reading, aerobics and playing golf.

Mary Alice Acton

Social Media Coordinator

As Advancement Partners' Social Media Coordinator, Mary Alice is responsible for managing API’s Twitter and Facebook presence on the web. Mary Alice has been in Catholic education since she was four years old – as a student at Immaculate Conception Grade School (Elmhurst, IL), Fenwick High School (Oak Park, IL) and the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and now as a 1st grade teacher at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Chicago’s diverse Hyde Park neighborhood. Mary Alice is an alumna of Chicago’s Inner-City Teaching Corps and is currently completing her master's degree at Northwestern University in their school of Education and Social Policy. She lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Adam Fairholm

Web Coordinator

As Advancement Partners' Web Coordinator, Adam maintains the Advancement Partners website, and designs online Advancement Partners materials. Adam spent high school and college in Catholic education, graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 and Saint Thomas Aquinas High School before that in 2003. He lives with his wife, son, and two dogs in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.