The Giving Practice

We help philanthropy's changemakers tackle their biggest challenges

From strategy and governance to collaboration and facilitation, we bring deep sector experience and a unique client-centered approach that embraces both the art and the science of effective philanthropy.

We are experienced grantmakers, trusted advisers and knowledgeable experts. But more than that, we are a team of people who are passionately committed to the transformative potential of philanthropy.

It all starts with a conversation

Our clients bring us many types of challenges, and we approach them all with curiosity, a willingness to dream big and the skills to help you turn those ideas into reality.

If you're interested in exploring a project with us, contact managing partner Audrey Haberman ( or at 206-267-9956. 


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DIY Strategy Improvements: 10 Activities for Community Foundations

Publication date: 

What comes after “strategic...?” If you said, “planning,” you’re not alone. And for many leaders of community foundations, especially small ones who don’t have the time or money for a big process, anxiety is the feeling that follows. If that’s the case, this guide is for you.

Latest Articles

November 16, 2015

Jan Jaffe and Mark Sedway, The Giving Practice | How do you feel about strategy? Most philanthropy practitioners we work with feel ambivalent at best. For most of us, signing up to do strategic planning is about as energizing as arranging to get your teeth cleaned. It has the oppressive quality of someone doing something to you rather than being in charge of your own health, especially when you bring evidence of poor self-care to the appointment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In the same way that flossing and brushing your teeth will make that appointment less painful, we’ve seen how foundations that treat their strategy not as a discrete planning process but as ongoing practice, and use bite-size activities to make the experience manageable and fun, come out the other side with their strategy gleaming and in good health.

October 27, 2015

Ted Lord, The Giving Practice | In my experience, philanthropy too often stays in its safe spot, privileging white-paper expertise over lived experience, inviting compliance rather than building a plan together with the deep understanding that participants bring multiple forms of capital — influence, lived experience, community connectedness, time and energy — in addition to potential grant dollars. Is philanthropy’s job to underwrite what has an established track record? Or is it to provide the risk capital for demonstration projects or the resources for best-in-class organizations to pursue their highest-return ideas?

September 9, 2015

Rosalie Sheehy Cates, Senior Advisor, The Giving Practice | I officially declare that mission investing among foundations and family offices is at a tipping point. The number of early adopters has reached a critical mass, providing enough results and pulling enough products and services into the market to tempt mainstream audiences to take a serious look. Mission investing is everywhere — it comes up at conferences, in board rooms and at professional meetings. New funds and managers are introduced every week. Hold onto your hats, because it looks like the sector will be very, very busy in the next few years.

July 13, 2015

Ted Lord, Senior Partner, The Giving Practice | A board retreat. We had just spent 45 minutes parsing the difference between goals and objectives, and it felt like things were heading south. Participants didn’t want to do either the exercise or break into groups, they just seemed to want to argue about planning in general — not unsurprising, since the board had a broad representation of youth, business, government and nonprofits. Then my co-facilitator stood up and offered five minutes of theory on the four types of conversation and how they can either evolve or stay stuck.

June 15, 2015

Ted Lord and Leslie Silverman, The Giving Practice | Members of the Philanthropist Forum, a collaborative of Washington and California funders focusing on child welfare issues and staffed by The Giving Practice, spent Wednesday, May 27 on an all-day site visit to Spokane hosted by Empire Health Foundation. Here's what they heard and saw.