NNCG Masthead
March 2015
In This Issue

Quick Links:  




Directory of Consultants  


NNCG Membership Roster 


Become a Member! 


Sign up for our Newsletter  

From the Executive Director...  

March has long been my favorite month. I always look forward to the first warm days of spring - especially after the harsh winter we've had on the east coast. The colorful blossoms and emerging buds lift my spirits as the increasingly bright sunshine warms my face.


For sports fans, it's March Madness time, when the seeds planted during the first practices of fall culminate in a display of artistry and excellence to see and savor. It's a time when teams and players create their "shining moments" that warm the hearts of even the most jaded observers.


At the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, this March marks a truly shining moment for the field of philanthropy consulting. After many months of planning, reviewing and fine-tuning, NNCG's co-edited issue of The Foundation Review is about to emerge.  Published by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, it will be the first-ever issue devoted exclusively to philanthropy consulting and should be available online at the end of this month and in print during April.


Nine articles will enable readers to view philanthropy consulting through the lens of grantmakers, consultants and philanthropy support organizations. The lead article, written by senior officials at the Foundation Center, reports the results of its survey on the use of consultants by community, corporate and independent foundations. The findings, which document growing use by grantmakers and exceptionally high satisfaction rates, set  the table not only for the issue's other content, but for the dissemination and dialog NNCG will facilitate over the next two years.


This historic undertaking has been made possible by an outstanding editorial team of grantmakers and consultants under the leadership of The Foundation Review's editor Dr. Teri Behrens and NNCG Steering Committee Chair Kris Putnam-Walkerly. Funding for NNCG's editorial role was provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, to whom we are deeply grateful.


And just as communities come together to celebrate spring and March Madness champions celebrate with their fans, NNCG will celebrate The Foundation Review publication at our Annual Meeting on April 26th during the Council on Foundations conference in San Francisco. I hope many of you will be there to celebrate with us.  



LearnPhilanthropy / Expert Q & A Involvement  
As part of our partnership with LearnPhilanthropy, housed at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, NNCG is now a resource for its 'Expert Q & A.' NNCG members Molly Penn and Deborah Flood of Penn Flood Consulting in Irvington, New York were the featured 'experts' this past month in response to a question about how foundations can best hire the right consultant for their needs.  See the Q&A here


Thanks to Molly & Deborah for sharing their wisdom. If you'd like to serve as one of NNCG's LearnPhilanthropy experts, please contact Paul at paul.sturm@nncg.org.   

NNCG Webinar Series - Register Today
NNCG offers monthly webinars that explore topics and practices of particular interest and value to philanthropy consultants. Register today!

Giving Circles - Catalyzing, Building, and Supporting Shared Giving

March 24, 2015  2-3p Eastern

Presented by Jessica Bearman; co-sponsored by Learn Philanthropy, a project of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University 



Members:  FREE

Non-Members:  $35


April 1, 2015   2-3p Eastern


Presented by Thaler Pekar, CEO of Thaler Pekar & Partners; member, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers






NNCG Annual Meeting & Celebration: Join us April 26th at 4:30 p.m.
We look forward to seeing many of you at NNCG's special Annual Meeting and launch of The Foundation Review's landmark issue on philanthropy consulting. Several authors will be on hand to talk about their articles followed by a discussion about philanthropy consulting. A reception will immediately follow.


The special program and reception will take place during the Council on Foundations Conference at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. Please let us know if you'll be joining us!


REGISTER TODAY:  https://nncgannualmeeting2015.eventbrite.com  

The Foundation Review Landmark Issue: Sneak Preview

We hope you're as excited as we are. Here are the articles and authors:


Use of Consultants by U.S. Foundations: Results of a Foundation Center Survey

Lawrence T. McGill, Ph.D., Brenda L. Henry-Sanchez, Ph.D., David Wolcheck, and Sarah Reibstein, B.A., Foundation Center


Going Beyond Grantmaking: Using External Help to Extend a Foundation's Core Competencies and Increase Its Impact

Gwen Walden, M.A., Lauren Marra, M.P.P., and Katrina Briddell, M.T.S., Arabella Advisors


Both Sides of the Equation

Barbara D. Kibbe, J.D., S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation


The Family Foundation Life Cycle and the Role of Consultants

Melissa L. Nemon, Ph.D., and Claudia J. Jacobs, M.S.W., Brandeis University, and Mary Phillips, M.S., and Judy Sneath, M.B.A., GMA Foundations


Balancing Content and Process Expertise in the Practice of Foundation Consulting

Christopher Cardona, Ph.D., TCC Group


Understanding Philanthropy Consulting: A Tool to Identify the Roles and Capabilities Needed From External Support

Brian Leslie, M.B.A., Kelsey Noonan, B.A., and Clint Nohavec, M.B.A., SwitchPoint LLC


How to Implement a Funder-Supported Advocacy Effort and the Integral Role of Policy Consultants

Deena Margolis, M.P.A., Focali Consulting LLC; and Leah M. Ersoylu, Ph.D., Ersoylu Consulting


Effective Consulting Partnerships to Philanthropy

Ellen Irie, M.P.H., Kim Ammann Howard, Ph.D., and Ria Sengupta Bhatt, M.P.P., Informing Change; Naomi Orensten, Ed.M., Center for Effective Philanthropy


Shine a Light: The Role of Consultants in Fostering a Learning Culture at Foundations

Jared Raynor, M.S., Ashley Blanchard, M.P.P., and Marieke Spence, M.A.L.D., TCC Group

NNCG Members in Action

NNCG highlights members' thought leadership - articles, presentations, innovations and other activities that advance philanthropic practice. Follow the links for more information.

Pegine E. Grayson of Whittier Trust will be speaking at the Financial Planning Association of the San Gabriel Valley on June 24, 2015.  Her topic is"Strengthening client relationship across generations through philanthropy."  This presentation will offer some practical tips on how advisors who may not be experts in charitable advising can have the philanthropic conversation with their clients in a way that inspires them to action and deepens relationships with them and their children.  For more information, please contact Kathleen Briley.


Paul Connolly, Director of Philanthropic Advisory Services at Bessemer Trust, was featured in an article in Philanthropy News Digest.  The article covers philanthropic trends in philanthropy among wealthy donors.  


Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Elizabeth Russell of Putnam Consulting Group recently created a case study for Blue Shield of California Foundation about their comprehensive investments in leadership development for community health centers and domestic violence service providers.    


Pamela Labonte MaksyCOO/Director of Financial Services at GMA Foundations, joins Alfonso Perillo, CPA, of Edelstein & Company to lead Financial Statements 2.0 on March 19 at Associated Grant Makers in Boston. The workshop gives grantmakers an in-depth look at nonprofits' financial statements and disclosures; small groups will analyze non-profits' 990s with a new understanding of the accounting principles used to prepare the statements.


Barbara R Greenberg of The Philanthropic Group was chosen as a co-chair of Community Food Funders, a network of grantmakers interested in the growth of an equitable, ecologically sound, and economically robust food system in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  Also, just published by Grantmakers in Aging is a summary of a panel Greenberg moderated which focused on roles grantmakers can play to create age-friendly communities.  


For Grantmakers and other social sector actors, systems change increasingly informs how we do our work, helping us understand problems and identify solutions. A common vocabulary, though, remains elusive. Learning for Action's Chief Learning Officer Nancy Latham has developed a straightforward and practical framework for operationalizing systems concepts in a human services system context. It appeals to ways of thinking already familiar to us, and offers ways to "structure the messiness" as we dive into the work.  This toolkit for evaluating systems change can be found here

About NNCG

The National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers is dedicated to elevating, expanding and improving philanthropy. It's the only organization that brings together high-quality consultants to support the work of grantmakers while advancing quality and ethical standards in the practice of philanthropy consulting. NNCG's distinguished and diverse membership represents experienced and carefully vetted practitioners and thought leaders in the philanthropic field.  Learn more at NNCG.org.

National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers

a Tides Center Project 

P.O. Box 40272  

Cleveland, OH  44140   



Copyright 2015. All rights reserved