Ted Lord

Senior Partner, The Giving Practice

Ted Lord has been integral to the growth of The Giving Practice since its founding. His multi-year work with Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project, national child welfare CEOs, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Building Community Philanthropy, the Road Map funders group and Philanthropist Forum centers around supporting collaboratives, especially in their adventures to discover how to contribute all their capitals (influence, expertise, and relationships in addition to pooled and aligned funding). He believes learning together and humor are essential in sustaining voluntary associations beyond their early blue-sky enthusiasm.

Ted’s work with new and established groups to discern and articulate learnings, and then design engagement strategies that unleash their passions has led to a series of recent posts on balancing conversation and meetings. His staff and board coaching is based in his CEO stewardship of two public foundations (Pride Foundation 1992—2000; Humanities Washington 2006—2008) and is supplemented by change management skills developed as interim CEO of nonprofits (Camp Fire, Hedgebrook, and DAWN) and the Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University.

His belief in the leverage provided by engaging community upfront is informed by board service with United Way of King County, Philanthropy Northwest, 501 Commons and the Alliance for Nonprofits. Ted holds a B.A. from Trinity College and an M.A. from the University of Washington. Ted is also a practicing poet whose work appears in more than forty literary magazines. Co-parenting teenagers provides him an ongoing practicum in punting when faced with unintended consequences and a reminder to value mistakes as part of true life-long learning. 

Ted Lord's blog posts

August 1, 2019

When people gather to accomplish a common task, they also feel seen, heard and witnessed as individuals—even while tending the shared task of the whole. Appreciation Rounds are a collective call out that help make tacit group culture norms explicit, while also supporting the leadership development and personal mastery of participants. Starting meetings with an appreciative exercise often leads to an increased willingness to learn in public. We are often more able to admit mistaken assumptions and shadow behaviors when we trust that others see and hold us fully.  more »

December 5, 2017

When starting a foundation, resilience is often as important as ideas and talent. But even the most resilient among us will benefit from tools that help us see the forest through the trees without overlooking the basics. Such tools need not be complex. According to renowned author and surgeon, Atul Gawande, the humblest of tools—for example, making a process list to follow when completing a given task—can help us avoid error and get things right. That’s why The Giving Practice at Philanthropy Northwest developed the Foundation Start-Up Checklist. more »

June 29, 2016

Successful workplace teams thrive on diverse personality styles. Groups that include people with a variety of temperaments and approaches invite each of us to ask for what we need and offer what we can. Different styles in the workplace balance and challenge our own thinking and approach, sparking creativity and personal growth. We also learn that relationships are as crucial to success as plans and deadlines. Dreamers and designers are grounded by those who create new structures, who are in turn are balanced by those who execute consistently. Like roll, pitch and yaw, we rely on all three dimensions for philanthropy’s dreams to take flight. Appreciating what each one-third brings to the table is essential for maintaining the trust and faith we need to gracefully make it through turbulence, while offering a place of comfort and optimism. more »

March 31, 2016

Engaging foundations in policy and advocacy work has been a leading theme and learning edge in philanthropy for a decade. Part of the difficulty in moving these efforts forward is the level of abstraction in many of the discussions and lack of concrete examples. This month, our field gained a new example from a group of Washington and California funders focused on child welfare and juvenile justice issues. As trust and understanding has developed, they have asked each other and The Giving Practice how they might use their other forms of capital — influence, relationships, partnerships — on behalf of our most vulnerable children and families. Within 72 hours, nine members were able to sign onto a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. more »