Matt Ehlman, PhD

co-Founder & Managing Principal

Matt formed The Numad Group with Ted and Kerry after five years as vice president for advancement at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where he also volunteered for two years following his undergraduate studies. He understands how important it is to bring people from across organizations—and across the country—together to creatively develop and lead comprehensive fundraising efforts.

During Matt’s time at Red Cloud, the organization experienced unprecedented growth in their advancement effort—even at a time marred by an economic downturn (2006-2011). He led a team of 15 staff members from across the country that raised more than $70 million, a 44 percent increase over the prior five years. This was done while reducing fundraising expenses to below the 2005 level. His team designed and implemented the Hope. Alive. campaign, which raised $12.7 million in capital and endowment funds, surpassing the initiative’s $10.5 million goal 18 months early.

Since then, Matt has served as the managing principal and lead fundraising strategist for The Numad Group, working with nonprofits on both coasts and many large and small communities in between to develop and implement capital and endowment campaigns, strategic planning initiatives, and consult on innovative, new fundraising strategies customized to the unique needs and opportunities of each of our clients.

Matt earned his PhD in philanthropic studies from Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. His dissertation focused on donor motivation, specifically regarding organizations in rural areas without a traditional pool of donor prospects. He was named a Eugene R. Tempel Fellow for the merit of his scholarly work and was named a 2015 Bush Fellow from the Bush Foundation

His current research and presentations focus on the arts, creative place making and rural philanthropy. His work has been presented in China, United States and this fall, in England. In addition to his work at Numad, he co-founded the monthly conversation series Morning Fill Up at The Garage in Rapid City, which has welcomed more than 40 guests like Paula Kerger (President and CEO of PBS), Governor Dennis Daugaard (Governor of South Dakota), Deirdre Dalpiaz-Bishop (Chief of Geography at the United States Census), Adam Steltzner (NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Engineer), and Rahzel (World-renowned Beatboxer).

Matt is originally from St. Louis, and calls the Black Hills home.





Rapid City, South Dakota


Bachelor of Arts in Finance, St. Ambrose University

Master of Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management, Indiana University

Doctor of Philanthropic Studies, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University