Elizabeth Share on Focused Philanthropy

Founder, Wise Giving

Founder, Wise Giving

I always enjoy seeing Elizabeth Share, an member of our advisory board who has become a good friend. This month she spoke to a group of catalytic women on Focused Philanthropy: Clear with Yes, Kind with No, offering strategies to solve a challenge for any among us who faced an onslaught of year-end requests for help in 2011. When to say yes? When to say no? How to decide which are the “right” gifts?

You know how it feels: making giving decisions requires difficult choices and potentially awkward conversations. Hearing Elizabeth’s wise counsel made be feel like I could start off 2012 right and learn when to say yes, when to say no, how much to give, and how to measure the impact of my giving over time on the issues I care about most.

Elizabeth has worked with many well-known women philanthropists in identifying a framework for giving that allows a woman to be clear, consistent and gratified with the impact of her philanthropy. Decisions about where to focus gifts can be much easier if you have a giving plan that articulates your family’s community values, the areas of interest that are your personal priorities, and the impact over time that you’d like to have on those issues. Elizabeth brings 30 years experience as an advisor to private foundations, a nonprofit fundraiser, and a foundation executive to her work with Wise Giving. She helps individuals, family foundations and those with donor-advised funds find greater purpose, joy and satisfaction in their philanthropy. She has worked with many family and private foundations, including the Isabel Allende Foundation, Wise GivingKhaled Hosseini Foundation, Chez Panisse Foundation, Grace Family Foundation, and Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation.

Before founding Wise Giving, Elizabeth served for ten years as Vice President of the Autodesk Foundation, overseeing operations and finances, and working closely with the president and executive team on major programmatic, strategic, personnel, and funding decisions for this nonprofit giving arm of the nation’s fifth largest software manufacturer. During her tenure there she facilitated a network of corporate funders (Autodesk, Sun Microsystems, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Charles Schwab, Arthur Andersen) to share crucial information and develop collaboratively funded philanthropic initiatives. She’s also served on the board of CompassPoint, where she led the Technology Task Force and played a key role in the merger of the Support Center for Nonprofit Management (in San Francisco) and the Nonprofit Development Center (in San Jose). And, like many of us, she started her career in corporate finance—as a financial analyst in the capital equipment leasing industry, where she priced leases, limited partnerships and leveraged buyouts.

Elizabeth always brings a calm, gentle, persuasive, and sensible approach to strategic giving. Sounds so simple but, as we know, it isn’t. Perhaps it’s her unique blend of talents, from social work to financial analysis. Elizabeth is just plain good at what she does. Sound like someone who can help you focus your own giving? I’d love to introduce you—just email me.


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