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Your Fundraising "Doctors"

About us

Mac Lean & Newberry Direct, LLC is a direct mail fundraising agency that promotes what David Rubenstein calls "Patriotic Philanthropy," but targeted to small and mid-level donors primarily. Our clients have included some of America's most prominent historic sites and museums. Although we are headquartered near Washington, D.C., we serve nonprofits around the nation.

Mission Statement

We leverage the power of direct mail and email to help preserve historic sites and museums. We believe both are excellent sources of new donors who can become monthly sustainers, and upgraded for major gifts and planned giving.

Past and present clients of our partners include prominent historic sites such as Ellis Island, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Gettysburg, and Valley Forge, as well as four presidential libraries and over a dozen military museums.

We agree with David McCullough's view, "that history should be accessible to all, that it is much too important to leave to academics alone or solely to the classroom." By honoring our nation's history -- from advancements in civil rights to battlefield valor -- we play a part in promoting the values that make America, "A Shining City on a Hill."

About James Newberry, "The Donor Doctor"

Besides copywriting -- and putting all of the pictures of me on this website -- I hosted 66 episodes of the “Donor Doctor Show,” a weekly podcast that shared fundraising advice for aspiring copywriters and nonprofits.  In August of 2020, I spoke virtually before a marketing conference on the impact of storytelling in fundraising and have written on this subject in trade journals.  I was also a recent guest on the Dynamic Non-Profits podcast where I shared my views about the important advertising principles from Mad Men.

Since 1988, I’ve written fundraising appeals for candidates, troop support groups and animal welfare causes. However, I'm best known for writing fundraising packages on behalf of some of America’s leading museums, presidential libraries, and historic sites.

In 2008, I won the Direct Mail Package of the Year Award from Fundraising Success Magazine (now called NonProfit Pro) for an appeal signed by Brig. Gen. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman. I’ve also won a silver and bronze award from this international trade magazine.

In 2011, the Direct Mail Association of Washington awarded me its Platinum “Big Idea” Award, a fold out LIFE Magazine poster of WWII pilot Shirley Slade.

In 2016, the package I wrote for the "fly girls" of WWII was featured in Target Marketing. I also won two Maxis: a calendar celebrating the Tuskegee Airmen and a Norman Rockwell “Ike” poster for the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

On behalf of candidates, I’ve received several awards from the American Association of Political Consultants. But my biggest claim to fame may be that I produced the “Which Washington Does He Represent?” ad that received coverage in the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, C-SPAN and NPR in 1994.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986, I served on the staff of Senator Phil Gramm of Texas and managed two congressional campaigns.

In 2017, I formed Mac Lean & Newberry Direct, LLC, with Stuart Mac Lean, who taught me much of what I know about direct mail fundraising, and Vernon Robinson, a former client of mine, who is an expert in both grassroots fundraising and cultivating high dollar gifts.

To ensure that our clients maximize gifts from their donor files, Mac Lean & Newberry also works closely with Dr. Richard Dressner, a leading high dollar capital fundraiser and expert on research.

Dr. Dressner, who directed a $120 million capital campaign at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, was initially skeptical about direct mail.

But his experience in receiving a predictable stream of unrestricted gifts -- and his ability to solicit these new donors for major gifts and planned giving -- convinced him that direct mail was a vital part of fundraising for historic sites.

TOP PHOTO: James Newberry has been interviewed by Dana Bash of CNN, Peter Overby of NPR, and Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post and TIME. ABOVE: Photo taken with a "Flying Tiger" at the Chinese Embassy ceremony for the Flying Tiger Museum in China. BELOW: 2011 Platinum Big Idea Award Winner.

Meet My Partners

Stuart Mac Lean has been a direct marketer since 1982, working in both publishing and direct mail fundraising. He is a founding partner of Mac Lean & Newberry Direct and is a legend among fundraising copywriters.

Those who say, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” have never met Stuart Mac Lean. Stuart’s responsible for introducing a variety of “bounce back” techniques that have resulted in much greater donor engagement and lifetime value of donors. Industry magazine Fundraising Success featured two of his innovative techniques in a full-page article. Even better, Stuart's Rose Tube package for the Reagan Presidential Library in 2000 was featured in People Magazine. In her trademark red dress, Nancy Reagan stood smiling in front of over 1,000 silk roses sent by donors wishing her a Happy Birthday.

Stuart is a versatile house and acquisition fundraising copywriter. Over more than three decades, he has gained experience working with a rich variety of organizations, including:

Stuart Mac Lean has received several dozen marketing and fundraising awards, including the prestigious, international ECHO Award 7 times. His two-way Nancy Reagan Rose Tube package on behalf of the Reagan Presidential Library was featured in People Magazine.

Stuart S. Mac Lean, Chief Creative Officer


  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Operation Finally Home (Housing for Disabled Vets)
  • For the Troops Care Packages


  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Maryland Nature Conservancy

Animal Welfare

  • Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue
  • Wildlife Waystation
  • Castleton Ranch Horse Rescue


  • Black America's Political Action Committee
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • College Republican National Committee

Political Issue

  • Renewing American Leadership
  • American Conservative Union

Patriotic Historical Organizations

  • Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor
  • Custer Battlefield National Museum
  • Gettysburg National Battlefield Foundation
  • Admiral Nimitz WWII Museum Foundation
  • The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens


  • Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC)

One of Stuart's innovations that was featured in Fundraising Success (now called Non-Profit Pro Magazine).

Stuart’s campaigns have received industry notice, having been twice featured in Fundraising Success magazine, as well as by winning the International ECHO Award from the Direct Marketing Association multiple times. He has also won the following awards:

  • A GOLD POLLIE Award From the American Association of Political Consultants
  • The MAXI (Award for eXcellence and Innovation) From the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (Multiple Times)
  • The GOLD Award From Fundraising Success (now NonProfit Pro)

Stuart earned a degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin. He and his late wife, Debbie, raised three children: Jonathan, Stephen, and Kelly. The family also has two beloved four-legged members, a playful Boston bull terrier named Taz and a mischievous French bulldog, Rusty, who likes to chew things.

While his children were growing up, Stuart enjoyed being an assistant scoutmaster, a tae kwon do practitioner, and a frequent concertgoer for daughter Kelly, who plays five instruments and sings. He also enjoys telling people he meets with a smile that they’ve just shaken hands with an NFL owner since he is a Green Bay Packers shareholder. The Green Bay Packers is the only nonprofit franchise owned by the fans in all of the professional sports.

Vernon Robinson, "The Bulldog"

Vernon L. Robinson is the business development director of Mac Lean & Newberry Direct. He was nicknamed the “bulldog” by a museum director because of his tenacity in everything he does, including getting high dollar gifts for clients.

The son of a Tuskegee Airman, Mr. Robinson graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1977 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. After serving as a nuclear missile launch commander, he left the Air Force with the rank of Captain.

Robinson earned an MBA from the University of Missouri while he was in the Air Force. He and his wife, Helene, later moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His credentials include teaching business administration at Winston-Salem State University and serving in the George H.W. Bush Administration.

Robinson earned an MBA from the University of Missouri while he was in the Air Force. He and his wife, Helene, later moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His credentials include teaching business administration at Winston-Salem State University and serving in the George H.W. Bush Administration.

Robinson's campaigns for office includes running for North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction (1996) and U.S. Congress (2004, 5th District, NC). He served two terms on the city council of Winston-Salem.  

Robinson campaigned for school choice legislation as a means to improve the North Carolina public schools in the 1990s and 2000s. As part of his advocacy for education alongside being a president of an education reform foundation, he authored articles on the topic. These were published in non-partisan public policy digests.

Dr. Richard B. Dressner, Historian-in-Residence

Dr. Richard B. Dressner is president of Capital Development. He earned his B.A. from the George Washington University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and his Ph.D. in American Intellectual History from Cornell University.

Dr. Dressner’s thirty years of senior-level experience in fundraising includes university advancement, museum administration, and creating major gift programs for nonprofit organizations using direct mail.

He served as vice president for advancement at the three State University of New York campuses where he was responsible for organizing capital campaigns and administering all development activities.

As the associate director of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens prior to establishing Capital Development, he designed and implemented the museum’s $120 million capital campaign.

As the founding president of Next Step Philanthropy, a company affiliated with Fundraising Strategies, Dr. Dressner worked with direct mail clients -- and Stuart and Jim -- to build major gift programs and launch capital campaigns, drawing prospects and donors from their donor files.

Capital Development provides major gift and campaign consulting services to national non-profit organizations. Recent engagements include George Washington University, The Jack Kemp Foundation, The Smithsonian Institution, The Margaret Thatcher Leadership Institute (London), the US National Armor and Cavalry Museum, The US Marshals Museum, The American Heritage Publishing Company, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

Capital Development’s consulting associates include Brent Glass, director emeritus of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and Robert Wilburn, former director of Historic Williamsburg and Gettysburg.

Benefits of Direct Mail for Patriotic Nonprofits:

Besides being an unrestricted source of monthly gifts that go up over time, direct mail has these benefits:

  • Excellent source for high dollar gifts and planned giving.
  • Enables you to share your story with the public.
  • Great source of names for events. A proven way to get volunteers or visitors to your museum or historic site.