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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

B5 Breakout Session: When It’s Family, It’s Complicated

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 10:45 AM–12:00 PM Central Time (US & Canada)
Arboretum 3-4 (Second Level)

Given the prevalence of family donors in the grantmaking community, most funders who engage in collaboration find themselves working closely with family foundations as partners. Yet the question of how the family nature of these grantmaking groups affects their engagement in and support of collaborative work is not often one we address. What are the special opportunities and obstacles that arise in these co-funding arrangements? How do family dynamics or cross-generational leadership in family foundations affect collaborative engagements? What is different about partnerships that include small family funders, often led by living donors or trustees rather than staff? Participants in this session will tackle these often neglected questions and will help both family grantmakers and those who collaborate with them to make their partnerships more effective. You will help shape the direction of the discussion by posing your own questions and challenges at the start, rather than at the end of the session. Experienced family funder speakers will provide practical tips and takeaway lessons drawn from their own diverse collaboration experiences.

Primary Points Of Contact

Michael, Moody

Session Designers

Michael Moody, The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University


Michael Moody, The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University

Michael Moody is the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this role, he works with a network of advisors and partners to pursue a comprehensive program of applied research, teaching, professional development, and public engagement, all designed to advance and promote the field of family philanthropy. Dr. Moody is trained as a cultural sociologist and has been actively working to understand and improve philanthropy and nonprofit organizations for over 25 years. He is co-author of the books Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission, and The Philanthropy Reader (forthcoming in 2016), as well as the influential Next Gen Donors report and many other publications. He is a frequent speaker about philanthropy, and his work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Alliance, and others.

Katherine Lorenz, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Katherine Lorenz is President of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation (, a grantmaking foundation focusing on environmental sustainability in Texas. Previously, she served as Deputy Director for the Institute for Philanthropy (, whose mission is to increase effective philanthropy in the UK and internationally. Prior to that, Ms. Lorenz lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for nearly six years where she co-founded Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (, a non-profit organization working to advance food sovereignty in rural Oaxaca through the integration of amaranth into the diet. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Environmental Defense Fund, The Philanthropy Workshop (Chair), and the National Center for Family Philanthropy and is a member of the Global Philanthropists Circle of the Synergos Institute and serves on the Leadership Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Ms. Lorenz holds a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Davidson College.

Laura McCargar, Perrin Family Foundation

Laura McCargar is a Program Officer at the Perrin Family Foundation, where she oversees the foundation’s youth-led social change grantmaking and the development of strategies to strengthen, promote and expand youth organizing practices throughout Connecticut. Laura’s work in the philanthropic sector is informed by her experience as a youth worker and organizer. After graduating from Yale University in 2002, Laura co-founded Youth Rights Media, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth to use media and organizing strategies to create community change. In 2007 Laura was awarded the International Reebok Human Rights Award in recognition of her outstanding work with and on behalf of marginalized youth, and in 2011 Laura was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship to engage in research and organizing around Connecticut’s school-to-prison pipeline.  Laura currently serves on the board of the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing.