Conversations in Philanthropy: GEO President and CEO Marcus Walton

Conversations in Philanthropy: GEO President and CEO Marcus Walton

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Event details

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
10:00am to 11:00am PDT

About this event

As a network of funders, nonprofits and communities are at the center of our work. This time of crisis has made it clear that philanthropy must not merely make short-term changes for temporary relief, but pivot to a new normal by shifting more power to the people working on the ground to strengthen communities. How can we be better partners for the long haul, and permanently change processes and practices that are not serving us, or nonprofits, but are barriers to effecting transformational change? What does it take to build, operationalize and sustain a trust-based culture that proactively addresses power and equity?

Join us for a conversation with Marcus Walton, president and CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). This dynamic conversation will focus on the findings in a report recently released by The Bridgespan Group titled: Racial Equity and Philanthropy: Disparities in Funding for Leaders of Color Leave Impact on the Table. Marcus will be joined by the report’s authors and a leader from Empire Health Foundation’s tribal partnerships program to discuss the research findings and hear about how a local foundation is operationalizing equity into their community-based practices. 

The recent pandemic has shown that challenges of racial inequity are magnified in times of crisis. These leaders in philanthropy will share tools and pathways forward toward addressing equity in philanthropy through times of crisis and beyond.


Marcus F. Walton has over a decade of practice in both nonprofit management and the ontological learning model. He specializes in operationalizing conceptual frameworks; racial equity facilitation and training; leadership and management strategy; stakeholder engagement; program development and navigating philanthropy.


In his previous role as Director of Racial Equity Initiatives for Borealis Philanthropy, Marcus lead the Racial Equity Initiatives team and worked in partnership with 18 nationally-networked, philanthropy-serving grantee organizations to move past the “transactional” nature of diversity, equity and inclusion to a unified movement which prioritizes strategies that close gaps in access to opportunity, resources and well-being (across all categories of gender, identity, sexual orientation, class and ability).

Before that, Marcus served as vice president and chief operating officer for the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), where he oversaw its operations, HR and staff development functions, including the overall strategy, conceptualization and administration of racial equity programming. Prior to ABFE, he combined his organizing experience and passion for public service in the role of program officer of community-responsive grantmaking with the Cleveland Foundation and senior program officer with Neighborhood Progress, Inc.

Marcus is a Newfield Network-trained ontological coach, with additional training in the Action Learning systems coaching model. He promotes coaching as a tool for personal mastery, racial equity & systems change, social sector excellence and transformation within marginalized communities.

Marcus has a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Bowling Green State University and has continued graduate studies in public administration at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Public Policy as well as Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration.

Please contact Sharayah Lane with any questions.

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Who Already Registered
BridgespanThe Community Foundation of South Puget SoundQueen Anne HelplineInnovia FoundationEmpire Health Foundation