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Meet the advisors: Top Recommended Philanthropic Advisors 2021

The Top Recommended Philanthropic Advisors is a research-led editorial feature highlighting the ‘need to know’ philanthropic advisors in the US and UK. In order to assist philanthropists in selecting an advisor we invited those who are ranked to share an insight into their career and passions.

Read on to find out more.

Tom Hall

Head of Philanthropy Services

UBS

Specialisms:

Social finance – using philanthropic capital to catalyze solutions to the most pressing social and environmental problems of our time.

We can leverage and recycle donations to achieve 15 times greater impact than traditional giving. This is a breakthrough in evidence-based, scalable, development finance and UBS is the leader here. Putting $100,000 to work philanthropically over 10 years, you can achieve $1.5 million in impact. That’s a huge difference in comparison to traditional philanthropy. If you can produce much greater good for the same money, why wouldn’t you do it?

 

Most memorable work moment?  

I’ve had many memorable experiences with clients but one stands out. Driving with 6 philanthropists between projects in Malawi, I saw the jeep behind me strike a pedestrian. I skidded to a halt and leapt out to help – only to be surrounded by some 60 angry people minutes later. As the dust and voices rose, our translator rushed with the injured man to the hospital in my jeep, leaving me literally speechless to change a damaged tire on the other vehicle. I couldn’t speak the local language and I’d never changed a tire in my life. Once the crowd realized that I had stopped to help, they rallied around the task and even celebrated once the new tire was mounted. Later, I discovered that the victim’s injuries were minor. What a relief! But those were the longest (and sweatiest!) 45 minutes in my life.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organization before selecting you as their advisor?

Choosing me, you choose a team of 75 dedicated professionals with deep expertise in all aspects of philanthropy and incomparable ability to execute your wishes worldwide. We will advise on structure and strategy and ensure that each philanthropic investment maximizes real, measurable impact. We consult clients on high level themes like the purpose of wealth and how to involve family members. And we can drill down into specific projects with experts in health, education, child protection, and climate change. We offer a full-spectrum philanthropy platform that supports every need.

 

Best piece of advice for donors? 

Get started.

Emily Collins-Ellis

Managing Director

I.G. Advisors

Specialisms:

My personal background is in social justice work, particularly focussed on women's and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as anti-racism and mental health activism. Because of this, I can combine traditional philanthropy advice with a nuanced and holistic view into what it takes to solve or 'move the needle' on complex social issues.
I.G. as a whole is cause-area agnostic, and works across lots of different fields, but we do happen to have a lot of experience in the gender space, and our 'human centred' approach is what sets us apart in our strategic work. 

 

Most memorable work moment? 

When one of our philanthropy clients was responsible for funding the research that underpinned a pivotal policy moment in the COVID-19 response. It was amazing to see them feel so connected to addressing the global crisis, and to be proud of playing a part in that. 

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

Whilst we do offer traditional philanthropy advice and grant making services, our clients usually get more than they bargained for when working with us. We don't settle for the status quo, we constructively challenge and support our clients to be the best donors they can be (with the time, talent and treasure they have to give), and we are wholly centred on impact. What we most often hear is that our clients feel really listened-to and understood, and experience a meaningful journey through working with us. We want all our clients to feel the fulfilment that comes from impactful giving.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

Good philanthropy is just doing the best you can with what you’ve got. There is no singular right answer, there are just an array of good and bad options, and the keys to success are the most human of qualities: curiosity, empathy and connection.

Amy Clarke

Chief Impact Officer

Tribe Impact Capital

Specialisms:

I studied climate science and soil science at University before postgraduate studies in environmental policy and law. Whilst I have spent my career in the broader sustainability space, I have always carried and will always carry with me my deep abiding passion for and knowledge of our natural world.

 

Most memorable work moment?

Professionally, it was receiving the email early on 11th November, Armistice Day, 2016 from the FCA granting us (Tribe) FCA approval having, been incubated in their Innovation Hub. It struck me immediately that it was a special day to be given our licence to go and do what we (still) passionately believe needs to be done, which is to recode the finance system as a real force for good.

Personally, it was having dinner with Sir David Attenborough about 10 years ago as part of a partnership I had orchestrated with a conservation charity. Having been raised on his programmes and being somewhat of ‘superfan’ it was one of the most memorable nights of my life and something that I will never forget. He was utterly charming, full of profound wisdom as a result of a life well lived and wonderfully entertaining! I feel so blessed to have been given the chance to spend that time with him.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

We’re a B Corps which means we hold ourselves to very high levels of scrutiny when it comes to our own governance, social and environmental performance and lock our purpose into our Members Agreement. We’re also a dedicated impact wealth manager. We manage money for financial return, as well as positive social, economic and environmental performance. What we expect of the companies we invest in, we expect of ourselves. We don’t ask them to do anything we haven’t already done ourselves or are in the process of doing. By role modelling what is possible, we hope we can embolden others to think outside the box and lean into purpose and performance.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

Align your wealth. For the first time arguably in our modern financial history, we have an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that our values are reflected across all of our wealth. Ensuring that you align all of your wealth with the impact outcomes you want to see, reduces down tension and counterproductivity between your philanthropic programmes of activity and your investment portfolios. It’s also just good wealth management. So that would be my one piece of advice. Align.

Jo Ensor

CEO

Philanthropy Insight

Specialisms:

-Strategic Philanthropy Education for high net worth philanthropists and their families. 

-Leadership coaching for philanthropists. 

-Philanthropy and Foundation strategy and governance advice and support. 

-Programming experience of international development and the SDGs specifically: health, education, child protection, gender, social justice and climate.

-Collective impact design and delivery, multi-stakeholder programme and partnership design and delivery.

 

Most memorable work moment?

Interviewing the late Martin McGunnness as part of a philanthropic learning journey into peace and transitional justice in Northern Ireland in 2017. In one moment, I realised the danger of unconscious bias (I grew up in the UK in the 70s and 80s), the magnitude of different narratives driving division between communities, and that you can only achieve meaningful change, if you are able to understand and unpick different perspectives, power and privilege (including your own). 

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

Pi’s small team delivers strategy advice and philanthropy education to philanthropists and their families globally. Led by Jo Ensor, with 25 years’ experience working with social change organisations and over 300 philanthropic families globally. Pi brings deep knowledge, practical experience and an extensive network of expert practitioners, to support philanthropists increase the impact of their giving.  Focusing on philanthropy strategy and leadership and delivered through pitch-free and private online and face to face educational workshops and learning journeys. Whether you are experienced or just starting out, Pi provides advice and support on a wide range of philanthropic issue areas, strategy development and programme delivery.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

Bring your skills, expereince, networks and passion into your philanthropy and invest time in understanding the problem, finding your focus and designing your approach. Get support from an expert and be bold and brave. I guarantee these three things will significantly increase your impact and your personal enjoyment!

Heather Grady

Vice President and Practice Lead on Environment, Rights and Global Development

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Specialisms:

-In terms of sectors, I am focused on climate, environment, rights, and global development issues.

-In terms of geography, I have supported a lot of work in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

-In terms of approaches, I encourage donors to explore systems thinking and systems concepts, which means delving more into root causes, addressing equity and power dynamics, and working in deeper collaboration with others, for example.

 

Most memorable work moment?

I had spent several months leading a team and writing a report for an initiative at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors called Scaling Solutions. As soon as it was published, both donors and grantees gave us a lot of thanks and recognition for research that provided evidence and depth to problems the philanthropy sector as a whole is trying to solve.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

We focus on providing tailored advice that aims to align every client’s values, purpose of giving, and making a difference with their resources. We have an inquiry-based method of advising, meaning that instead of offering pre-packaged advice, we listen carefully to our clients’ aspirations and create a pathway that helps them create impact and have a meaningful experience. Our colleagues have strengths in particular areas, and for each client we create a small team who has the right expertise, as well as the ability to draw on our internal ‘brain trust’ that has grown over the last two decades.

Overall, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors gains insights we share with our clients by working across four areas – advisory, fiscal sponsorship/funder collaboratives, foundation management, and thought leadership – which creates an extensive network of donor partners who can learn from each other.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

‘Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.’ It is easy for each of us to think we have the answers to complex problems, but most problems are challenging or seemingly intractable because the answers aren’t understood yet. Or, the solutions are apparent to those closest to the problem, but we haven’t tapped them yet for their advice. Be patient, and listen, even while remaining laser focused on the problems you care most about.

Rennie Hoare

Partner and Head of Philanthropy

C Hoare & Co

Specialisms:

-Donor advised funds (DAFs).

 

Most memorable work moment?

What seems rather an unlikely one – a meeting of the Messrs Hoare Trustees Board (our trust department). At the meeting, we charted out the process to get 100% of the Golden Bottle Trust invested into impact investments. We already had direct impact investments and Snowball (a multi asset impact investment fund), however, we had not addressed the outsourced investments. It was one of my first as chair of the board and was a critical component in achieving total portfolio impact; where both grants and investments are doing good. We are now a year into the process and it has been a fantastic to see the results. We are now using the SDGs to see both our grants and our investments. This transparency has meant that we have been much more considered in our work.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

Charitable giving is embedded in the heritage of C. Hoare & Co and the bank continues to focus on philanthropic projects that are both catalytic and entrepreneurial. We have three parts to our philanthropy – what we do as a family, what we do as an organisation and how we bring that together for customers. Through this, we look to develop our own expertise and be active practitioners in philanthropy. We do not have a separate philanthropy team. We see discussions about philanthropy as a vital part of deep customer relationships.

Our DAF, the Master Charitable Trust, is a decade old. In 2011, we were the first UK bank to launch a DAF and it has since gone from strength to strength. We now have 100 customers and account for 10% of the UK DAF market.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

If possible, I have two. The first is that grant-makers and people deeply embedded in the philanthropy and impact sectors are really willing to share knowledge and help. The second is that philanthropy can seem like an operation of perfectly designed processes – that is not the case. A huge amount is understood by the process of giving. The important thing is to start.

Anna Josse

CEO and Founder

Prism The Gift Fund

Specialisms:

-We service the mid-upper end of the donor market.

-Highly responsive, personalised and efficient service.

-The Collective Fund service - an easy to establish, charitable fund for groups and individuals raising at least £25,000 a year. A collective fund under the auspices of Prism enables the founder to focus on the cause whilst Prism provides the administration, governance and charitable expertise to support the clients’ endeavours all over the world.

 

Most memorable work moment? 

After meetings, presentations and discussions for a new, key donor near the start of Prism the Gift Fund (Prism’s) inception, I was still waiting to find out if that donor was going to use Prism or the competition. I bumped into that donor at a social gathering and that meeting clinched it and he ended up becoming a donor to Prism and 10+ years on is still a key support to Prism and its growth.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

Prism is a UK registered charity set up as a Donor Advised Fund, by Anna Josse, in 2005 after a year and half of researching prospective clients and having looked at the market in America for a number of years. Anna is passionate about enabling philanthropy and feels strongly about good, effective customer service. This combination means that Prism’s ethos as an organisation is to offer a bespoke, responsive and efficient client service. Prism had donation income of over £95m in June 2020 and continues to develop and grow. This is testament to its clients who continue to use Prism and refer new clients into Prism. They enjoy the personalised service, the expertise around governance and compliance and yet the feel of an entrepreneurial and responsive charity - one that knows how to continuously adapt and listen.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

Talk to other donors, and learn to trust charities who often do know what they are doing and do it well.

Salvatore LaSpada

Founder

Alchemy Philanthropy

-Specialisms:

Developing strategy,

-measuring impact,

-structuring governance to achieve family consensus

-training the next generation

-designing field-based experiences for families to learn about issues and organisations.

 

Most memorable work moment?

Working with a group of G2 siblings who, after years of frustration and conflict, were poised to split the family foundation but who, with the benefit of guidance and expert facilitation, got to a place of shared vision and collaboration - just what G1 wanted.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

Demonstrated record of success; global expertise from 30 years of work with families from around the world; deep experience and broad skill set; bespoke, individualised and never cookie-cutter; integrity and confidentiality.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

With the right guidance, families can build philanthropic foundations that deliver benefit to the world and to the family.  Achieving impact does not happen overnight. But with dedication, good advice and the drive for success, the results can be transformative.  And, it can be enormously personally fulfilling and enjoyable in the process.

Russell Prior

Regional Head of Family Governance, Family Enterprise Succession & Philanthropy, EMEA

HSBC Private Bank

Specialisms:

-full spectrum of philanthropy

-creating social change

 

Most memorable work moment?  

I feel very privileged that my role enables me to help clients meet their philanthropic ambitions and make a positive change in the world. I am most proud of the work I have been involved in which is creating lasting system change through one of the philanthropic programmes I’ve been working with – it has the power to change educational outcomes and life chances for many, many children.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

At HSBC Private Banking our role in philanthropy is to empower our clients to meaningfully engage their wealth to drive positive change and create lasting legacies.  We have been providing philanthropy services for more than 60 years. We operate globally helping HNWI’s establish and grow strategic philanthropic structures in support of a wide range of causes close to their hearts.  We do this by providing a personalised and specialist approach rooted in sound philanthropic practices. We support our clients every step of the way, from their initial vision and planning through to implementation and ongoing management of their charitable trusts and foundations.

I am personally very passionate about helping clients create social change through their philanthropy. I have previously worked in the charitable sector and in my spare time currently I am Chair of Trustees for two charities.

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

Think about the change in society you want to support. Start with the social outcome in mind and then work backwards on how to achieve it. Most importantly, listen very carefully to those who you are trying to help.

Judy Spalthoff

Managing Director, Head of Family Advisory and Philanthropy Services

UBS

Specialisms:

-Global philanthropy collectives

 

Most memorable work moment?

In the past year, it was our rapid COVID response. Our firm pledged to match $30MM of client and employee donations to help with COVID relief…everyone came together and within three weeks, we had raised the funds. It was a remarkable global collaboration.

 

What should a donor know about you and your organisation before selecting you as their advisor?

They should know that our unbiased advice is focused on two things: helping your family flourish beyond the purely financial and focusing on how to make your philanthropy more effective. 

 

Best piece of advice for donors?

Don’t start something new or ‘go it alone’ without doing lots of research on what already exists. We don’t often need ‘another charity’, we need better partnerships and innovative solutions.