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My Work

I offer strategic, programmatic and personal guidance to social change organizations, small foundations, individual donors, and high net worth individuals with philanthropic ambitions who seek ways of achieving great impact in social change work.

I help assess current situations and programs, initiate conversations with staff and partners, and  cultivate visions for change that lead to transformative outcomes.

I focus on moments of great possibility, and help those with breakthrough ideas identify the right moment to move forward.

If we work together, I engage you in a four stage process in which I help you to:

Assess Your
Current Situation

Develop Goals,
Vision and a Strategy

Implement
Your Plan

Move to the Next
Level of Impact

My Story

I was the founding executive director of the Blackstone Ranch Institute, which has been providing seed grants to pioneering national and global environmental and sustainability initiatives since 2006. I am currently a consultant and philanthropic advisor to the founder. 

Among the many networks, campaigns and educational programs we have helped launch over the years have been the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Biomimicry Design Challenges, the National Geographic-Blackstone Challenge Grants, the Western Landowners Alliance, and the Academy for Systems Change.

We were a co-founder of Exponent Philanthropy’s Catalytic Philanthropy Program in 2019. Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest membership organization of  philanthropies with small staffs.

The program is designed to help the organization’s members achieve greater impact in their work and be a catalyzing force for deep, lasting, systemic change. 

I have also been an advisor and consultant to Ventana Systems, which develops analytic modeling software for a broad diversity of private business, government and non-profit clients.

Ventana combines techniques from systems dynamics and information theory to make realistic simulation models ranging from individual business processes to the complexities of entire economies.

In 2022-23, I was a member of the Transformational Fellows group at the Narbha Institute in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Narbha Institute funds a diversity of programs that are integral to community and personal health in northern Arizona.

Prior to my work in philanthropy, I investigated the most complex humanitarian relief programs in the world for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the 1990s and early 2000s.

I assessed the impact of relief efforts in wars and natural disasters in Africa, the Balkans and parts of Asia, and recommended ways to improve their effectiveness. At the end of the Cold War, I worked as a member of small teams that assessed emerging social welfare needs in the countries of Eastern Europe.

I also conducted a number of organizational management reviews, developed strategic communication plans for humanitarian programs, and assessed the effectiveness of social mobilization efforts in global immunization campaigns.

I have taught international politics at the University of New Mexico, done civic mediation in the magistrate court in Taos, and facilitated strategy development retreats for small businesses in Taos with Ross and Associates.

Over the years I have written articles on international issues and travel for publications ranging from the New York Times to Travel and Leisure.

During the late 1970s, I served as a volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Gabon, Africa.

I live in Taos, New Mexico.

The Blackstone Ranch Institute is forging a new path that blends the successful angel investment strategies employed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists with the best ideas from the environmental community. You have used modest amounts of money to seed great ideas at early stages of development, which you then leverage. The results are proving very successful indeed.
Jared Blumenfeld
Former California Secretary for Environmental Protection
Learning about the Blackstone Ranch Institute inspired me to design the Center for Collaborative Conservation in a different way. Your vision, to support initiatives when they are in the risky and very early stages, is exceptionally important. As a consequence of your example, I am constantly searching for ways that we can push innovation in conservation, by supporting people and initiatives to take their impact on the ground to the next level.
Robin Reid
Former Director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation at Colorado State University
It takes vision. And you're the one who saw this big picture many years ago. Thanks for sharing it with Andy and the Exponent Philanthropy team and bringing it to life. The Catalytic Philanthropy gathering last fall in Washington, D.C. was a highlight of the year with all the amazing people and foundations in the room sharing their work and allowing us to draw on one another's expertise and experience. And this year, expanding the reach to philanthropists who want to learn more or venture into this way of doing their work.
Philip Li
President and CEO of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation in New York City
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