Introducing: Lisa Philp

The following is a Q&A with Lisa Philp, the new vice president for strategic philanthropy and director of GrantCraft, who joined the staff of the Foundation Center in New York on October 3rd.

What three things should the GrantCraft community know about you?

I’ve served as a program officer in many different settings: private foundations, family foundations, a corporate foundation, and a public foundation. Over the course of my career, I’ve also hired and trained about a dozen program officer colleagues. I loved being a program officer, but I also understand that grantmaking can be complicated and messy. Having access to “practical wisdom” from colleagues in the field goes a long way toward increasing impact and effectiveness. Secondly, I’m a big believer in professional development and peer-to-peer exchange. My first two jobs after college were focused on support for local government managers—to encourage them to share best practices across communities and learn from each other. I moved to New York 20 years ago to join the staff of what is now called Philanthropy New York and focused on communications and government relations. Through these experiences early in my career, I saw the power of targeted professional development to enhance the skills of government and foundation colleagues. Lastly, I’d say that a constant across my career has been collaboration: incubating public-private partnerships; participating in funder collaboratives in issues such as child welfare, education reform, immigration, and workforce development; and creating a pooled fund for major donors and family foundations. I very much look forward to a collaborative approach with the GrantCraft community.

What perspectives, tools, and experiences from your professional background will help you strengthen GrantCraft?

For the past 13 years, I worked as a philanthropic advisor for wealthy donors and as a grantmaker for dozens of private and family foundations. This role at a big financial services firm gave me a fascinating vantage point on the field through exposure to emerging philanthropists, engagement with family foundations, and participation in the world of donor advisors and intermediaries. As we created tailored services for clients, my team also served as a bridge between individual and institutional philanthropy. I’ve also benefitted over the years from participation in several affinity groups. My association with Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy dates back to the early 1990s, and I served as chair of the national board in the mid-2000s. I’m a former board member of Grantmakers for Children, Youth & Families, and have participated in the Women’s Funding Network via board leadership with the New York Women’s Foundation. More recently, I’ve been participating in the Impact Working Group of the Association of Small Foundations. As an unabashed “philanthropoid” yet one who managed a business for many years, I bring a combination of inside and outside perspectives to this role. I look forward to applying this dual lens and a broad set of relationships to my work with GrantCraft.

What goals do you have for GrantCraft in the next year? I anticipate entering this role in listening mode. GrantCraft has a large constituency of contributors and users who have a stake in what’s next. I plan to listen and learn from those who have benefitted from what GrantCraft has accomplished thus far. Secondly, I think there is a real opportunity to extend the work of GrantCraft beyond the long-form publication model. Over the past few years, the Foundation Center has made great strides in custom web portals, data visualization, and other knowledge tools. I’m excited by the idea of combining technological resources with GrantCraft content to be even more useful to the field. Lastly, I envision new and renewed partnerships in GrantCraft’s future. GrantCraft is now a joint program of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre, and I was pleased to have a chance to meet my Brussels-based colleague Rosien Herweijer over the summer. The two of us look forward to expanding our collaboration to include strategic partnerships with regional associations of grantmakers, affinity groups, philanthropy support organizations, donor advisors, and intermediaries. Let me know what’s on your mind by posting a comment or sending me an email at