The Team

Terry Fairholm


Terry has 32 years of development experience. He began his development career in 1986 serving as Regional Director of Development during the University of Notre Dame’s $450 million "Strategic Moment" capital campaign. He began his development consulting career in 1989 and founded Advancement Partners, Inc. in 1996.

Advancement Partners specializes in development consulting capital campaign management and strategic planning for Catholic secondary education and since its founding has worked with over 300 Catholic secondary education clients nationwide.

Terry has been involved in over 200 capital campaigns for Catholic education, numerous other advancement-related projects (annual fund, strategic planning, development assessments, interim development services, development counsel, board training) and has conducted over 3,500 personal solicitation calls. He is a graduate of Loyola High School (Montreal) and the Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter, NH). He has earned both a BBA and MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

A contributor to national publications and frequent speaker at national advancement conferences, Terry resides in Dublin, OH with Diana, his wife of thirty-three years; they have three sons, Mark (31), Bryan (30) and Curt (24). He is interested in golf, playing the guitar and physical fitness.

William J. Acton

Senior Partner

A graduate of Loyola Academy (Wilmette, IL) and the College of Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), Bill has over 30 years of hands-on experience in organizational advancement, strategic planning, board training and capital campaign management. Prior to beginning his consulting career in 1993, he worked in development for Loyola Academy (running its alumni and annual giving programs) and then for Cardinal Bernardin at the Archdiocese of Chicago, as the first Director of Development for archdiocese’s four-school seminary system and then as the first Director of the Cardinal's Annual Appeal.

Over the past 22 years, Bill has specialized in capital campaign management, major gift solicitation, strategic planning and development operation re-engineering. Partnering with school leaders, he has personally engaged in over 4,500 major gift solicitation calls ranging from $5,000 to $10,000,000.

Bill lives in Elmhurst, IL with his wife Sheila. They are members of Old St. Patrick’s Church (Chicago, IL) and the proud parents of two adult daughters, Mary Alice – a development director at a Chicago Catholic grade school – and Margy, a Chicago-based sports physical therapist.

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 Loyola University Chicago. After graduation, he worked briefly in sales before returning to Loyola University Chicago School of Law where he earned his J.D. with a concentration in tax law.

Prior to joining Advancement Partners, Bryan worked for two years as a consultant in the field of State and Local Tax 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’s development career began as an intern for Advancement Partners in marketing, client development and the annual summer seminar. Since becoming a full-time consultant with Advancement Partners, he has worked with clients on strategic planning, feasibility studies and capital campaign execution.

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

Diana Fairholm

Director of Finance

Diana has a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in accounting from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She has over twenty-five years of experience in accounting and financial management.

Diana is married to company President Terry Fairholm and has been with Advancement Partners since its founding in 1996. Specializing in financial analysis, cost allocation and auditing, she is responsible for all financial matters within the company.

Having extensive experience with Raiser’s Edge and several other development-related constituent management tools, Diana also works with Advancement Partners clients who require assistance with database-related issues, annual fund execution, development/accounting reconciliation and development internal operating procedures.

Diana lives in Dublin, OH with Terry, her husband of thirty-three years. Together they have three sons, Mark (31), Bryan (30) and Curt (24). She is interested in golf, dance aerobics, and travel.

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 graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and the University of Notre Dame. He lives with his wife, son, and two dogs in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.