Rich Talmo is a founding partner of Ascend Partners Group. After his recent retirement from Palomar College in San Diego, California, he joined the firm in a full-time, active capacity. Rich is an experienced fundraising professional who provides clients with effective, field-proven, executable strategies in the areas of fundraising, organizational management, executive coaching and executive recruiting.
During his 35-year career, Rich held senior management and executive positions with the American Cancer Society, San Diego State University, Menlo College, Chabot College and most recently with Palomar College in San Diego, California.
While a development officer and executive director with Youth for Progress, Rich organized a grassroots fundraising program in support of disadvantaged youth in low income communities throughout San Diego County. His efforts enabled the organization to sustain itself despite drastic reductions in federal, state and county funding. He was successful in gaining the support of several community celebrities and civic leaders, which heightened the visibility and public support for diversion programs offered to at-risk teenagers.
He was then recruited to the San Diego unit of the American Cancer Society, where he established several highly visible events in North County prior to being promoted to associate executive director. After six successful years with ACS, he moved to San Diego State University as the director of alumni and university development. There, Rich set records for alumni giving and again produced several highly visible events. He was named to San Diego magazine’s list of watchable community members.
After an accomplished 16-year career in San Diego, he moved north to Menlo College in the San Francisco Bay area. As vice president of college relations, he restored a flagging international and domestic alumni giving program by rebuilding relationships and restoring consistent institutional communication. His efforts led to several six- and seven-figure gifts to the college, establishing endowments in support of the business department, library and the general fund.
After a six-year hiatus from advancement and a successful transition into the private sector as an executive recruiter, Talmo returned to development as the CEO of the Chabot College Foundation in Hayward, California. The college serves a community bordering Oakland that endures a 63% poverty level. Local businesses and donors had lost contact with the college and its mission. Over a five-year period, Talmo built and energized the Foundation board, positioned the college with the business community, developed several highly visible events, and restored the campus’ relationship with regional leaders. His tenure at Chabot culminated with securing the largest private gift in the institution’s history ($800,000), enabling the college to open an educational center. Rich left Chabot College with a foundation that had community recognition, and solid cash reserves. He was recognized by the Network of California Community College Foundations with the Golden Eagle Award in 2007 for his outstanding work and leadership at Chabot College.
In July, 2007 Talmo joined Palomar College and the Palomar College Foundation as director of development and the foundation’s executive director. He was brought to the college to increase the number of major gifts, and to manage the Palomar College Foundation board, ensuring continued growth of its assets and endowment.
Rich enjoyed a 10-year relationship with Palomar College and was recently honored by his colleagues and community members for his accomplishments and contribution to the region. He was credited with raising over $25 million during his tenure, while managing an endowment that grew by 28% to nearly $7 million.
During his career Rich held many leadership roles with professional and service organizations throughout California. He served as a board member of the Network of California Community College Foundations for 10 years and as president of the board in 2010. He has been a Rotarian in San Marcos, California since 2007 and served as the group’s president in 2013 and 2017. Rich has also served on several Chamber of Commerce boards and volunteered with youth organizations throughout his career.
Talmo holds an Associate of Arts degree from El Camino College and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from San Diego State University.