Sonja Pagniano

Development Manager

Sonja Pagniano is the development manager at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). She attended Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Media Literacy. She also completed her master’s degree in Public Administration at Kent State University.

Sonja has experience managing HUD’s federal Community Development Block Grant program at both City and County levels of government. Before joining CDP, Sonja also worked in higher education and small and medium-sized nonprofits. Her recent work with The College of Wooster’s advancement division resulted in a record-breaking fundraising year for the college’s annual fund and increased engagement among donors through her leadership during the annual giving day campaign.

As a philanthropic guide and intentional advocate, Sonja prioritizes relationships and seeks to connect donors with opportunities to make a meaningful impact on the causes they care most about. As a passionate advocate for local initiatives, she has over five years of experience serving in a leadership capacity on committees and boards. Currently, Sonja serves as Vice President of PAWS for The Wayne County Dog Shelter and as Secretary for the Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund. Outside of work, Sonja enjoys coaching Speech and Debate at Wooster High School and has had students qualify for the Nationals tournament each year she has coached.

Sonja lives in Wooster, Ohio, with her husband, Jon, and daughter, Iliana. Together, they share two dogs – Kai and Aria. You can find her gardening or exploring new parks when she’s not busy volunteering or spending time with her family.

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