Malcolm Macleod

About Malcolm

Philanthropy educator and author

“Here is a book (finally!) that speaks comprehensively and powerfully to the unique challenege of running a foundation … “

– Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy and author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count

Malcolm’s Story

Malcolm Macleod was appointed president and CEO of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation in 2001 and held that position until 2020, when he became board chair.

The Foundation has a private endowment of $250 million and an annual grant budget of $10 million. It makes grants in the United States and Canada and focuses on Indigenous Peoples, the underserved, and people with disabilities. Under Malcolm’s leadership the Foundation matured from a young family foundation to a high quality and effective grantmaker. It has achieved top quartile investment returns, developed innovative grantmaking strategies, and attracted a stellar Board of Directors.

Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Malcolm obtained a Bachelor of Arts with first division honors and attended the University of New Brunswick Law School on a Beaverbrook Scholarship. He practiced law in Nova Scotia for 25 years and during that time he served as chair of his firm’s litigation department and as managing partner.

He served as chair of the Nova Scotia Advisory Committee on Federal Judicial Appointments and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1997. Malcolm is a consultant to grantmaking foundations in the United States and Canada and serves as a volunteer member of the board of the Fundy Community Foundation.

“I applaud Malcolm for sharing his voice and expertise on how philanthropy can authentically
create systems of equity and inclusion for underserved communities. His insights on investing in Native communities for nearly 30 years is an example to be commended and replicated. His
understanding that investing in diversity is not just a financial commitment, but one that
empowers leaders in and of the communities you are committed to serving. 

Board leadership,
consultants, and long-term relationships are key to genuine partnerships and impacts. I
encourage anyone looking to take equity to the next level to get this book!”

– Angelique Albert

CEO, Native Forward Scholars Fund , Citizen of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

“Malcolm’s leadership skills, insight, and knowledge of philanthropy have been essential to the growth and development of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. In his leadership roles at JSF he has successfully guided the organization by keeping the mission in mind at all times while skillfully overseeing grant making, endowment investing and staff and board development. He has a deep understanding of what goes into effective grant making, and as a former grantee I can attest first-hand to his exceptional abilities in developing and maintaining effective and fruitful relationships with grantee organizations. 

Malcolm’s understanding of governance processes and effective board engagement and development practices is also exceptional.  As a leader and as an advisor to foundations, his skill set is comprehensive and deep. His years of experience, coupled with his excellent insight and tremendous analytical skills, make him a tremendous resource for foundations seeking to become more effective in achieving their mission?”

– Bill Corwin

President,, Mission Velocity

“The Practice of Philanthropy is a game-changer for foundation leaders. Malcolm Macleod’s wealth of knowledge and practical insights make this book an essential guide to navigating the complexities of grant making and running a foundation. Macleod’s expertise shines through as he shares relatable challenges and offers actionable strategies. From building strong relationships to maximizing impact, this book is a must-read for CEOs, aspiring leaders, and board members. It will empower you to make a profound difference in the world of philanthropy.

Macleod’s understanding of the principles behind effective grant making, his emphasis on following foundation strategy, his willingness to take calculated risks, and, most importantly, his disposition of being in the work alongside his partners is a magic he shares with his readers.
I highly recommend The Practice of Philanthropy to all foundation leaders who are dedicated to making a meaningful difference. Macleod’s insights will undoubtedly inspire and guide you in your philanthropic

– David Flink

Co-Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

“If you are looking for a practical guide to running a foundation – look no further.  Malcolm draws on his diverse experience as both a Foundation Staff person and a Foundation Board Member to share truly useful advice on grant making, governance and investing.  

This book is an excellent resource for anyone working in the Foundation space and in particular for small and
medium sized Foundations.”

– Kirsten Rouse

Executive Director, CFRE, Fundy Community Foundation

Have a question for Malcolm? 
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