Speaking and Consulting

Malcolm Macleod

Philanthropy educator and author

Making Grants

Covering multiple topics depending on client preference and issues identified by the client…


Malcolm discusses what good board members do (and don’t do), the partnership between board and CEO and more…


All about investing the foundation’s endowment…


Malcolm Macleod consults with foundations on all aspects of philanthropic practice…


Want to hear from Malcom?

Malcolm is available either in person or via video conference to speak to foundations and individuals on all aspects of philanthropic practice. Video sessions are generally one hour or less, depending upon client preference, and include Q&A at the end.

Making Grants

Topics depend upon client preference and issues identified by the client and include the following:

What is the difference between distributing money and making grants that catalyze change?

What are philanthropic values, mission, strategy, and vision and why are they important?

Knowledge is a grantmaker’s second most important asset. How you can acquire and use the knowledge you need to make impactful grants

The inevitable power imbalance between the philanthropic grantor and grantee, the problems it creates, how it can be mitigated (but never eliminated)

Grantmaking is investing

Building a culture that understands and values risk

The magic of constantly improving your grantmaking practice and how to do it

Get to know Malcolm

Malcolm Macleod consults with foundations on all aspects of philanthropic practice.


  • What good board members do (and don’t do)
  • The partnership between board and CEO
  • When board members are also tasked with operational responsibilities
  • What fiduciary duty really means
  • Reconciling a board member’s duty to the foundation with family interests
  • How to establish and use board committees
  • Engaging board members and creating a robust culture
  • How to evaluate and choose good board members
  • Is board succession your foundation’s Achilles heel?
  • Healthy practices of effective boards
Investing the foundation's endowment
  • Why boards should lead the investment process and how they can do it effectively.
  • The importance of a good investment consultant
  • How to develop and stick to an investment policy.
  • The critical question
  • The difference between risk and volatility
  • The behavior gap, reputational risk, rebalancing, and reversion to the mean
  • The amazing power of compound returns (and “small” expenses)
  • Money managers and index funds
  • Getting better: philanthropy is a practice.
  • The unique satisfaction that comes from practicing philanthropy well.
  • The power of philanthropy and its place in our society.


In addition to speaking and depending upon availability, Malcolm consults on all aspects of philanthropic practice. The most common topics include:

  • Guiding the process of reviewing or developing vision, values, mission, and strategy or reviews of some or all of these.
  • Helping to craft a grantmaking process including the acquisition of knowledge and contacts in a field of interest, identifying and approaching potential grantees, making site visits, negotiating grant applications and agreements, and follow up.
  • Guiding assessments of key staff and board self-assessments.
  • Conflict resolution

The cost and time required for each consulting job depends upon client preference and the task at hand. For more information, please contact Malcolm.

Malcolm Macleod

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