Celebrating 25 Years of Milestones and Growth

Celebrating 25 Years Of Milestones And Growth


Reflecting on a quarter-century of progress and impact

This year marks my 25th anniversary in business, a milestone that has inspired me to reflect on my journey. Over the next year, I’ll be sharing monthly emails highlighting insights and key learnings from 25 years of advising philanthropist and foundation leaders. This is the first of those emails, where I share 25 key milestones that have shaped my consulting business.

1. Announcing My Consulting Business (1999)

I’ll never forget the mix of exhilaration and panic as I dropped my business announcement in the mail. The launch party was unforgettable!

2. The Launch Party Skirt

Fitting into the same skirt today (age 55) that I wore at my launch party at age 30—now that’s an accomplishment!

3. First Client

Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation

4. Investing in Myself

Early in my business I invested the last of my savings on a week-long consultant training. Best money ever spent!

5. Increasing My Fees

A foundation client advised me to charge more. I listened—and quickly!

6. First $100,000 Consulting Check

Wish I could still find the photo I took!

7. Becoming a Forbes.com Philanthropy Contributor

Two of my most popular articles profile actor Danny Glover and philanthropist  MacKenzie Scott.

8. Expanding Nationally

Moving from California to Cleveland, I feared losing clients. But instead of saying “I’m moving to Ohio,” I shared, “I’m expanding nationally and adding a Cleveland office.” Retained them all!

9. Working with Industry Giants

Over the years, I’ve had the honor of consulting for some of the largest foundations in the U.S., including Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation.

10. Growing a Business While Raising Children

Within a three-year period, I became a mom to twins and stepmom to three teenagers. My consulting practice continued to grow with some obvious adjustments (thank goodness for coffee!).

11. Surviving the Great Recession

Enough said.

12. Launching Confident Giving Newsletter

Providing provocative and practical advice to funders for the past 10 years. You can read them all and subscribe here!

13. Writing My First Book

Confident Giving.

14. Eliminating Non-Joyful Services

I stopped offering services I no longer enjoyed such as evaluations, environmental scans, and case studies. This allowed me to focus on what I love and am best at…

15. Shifting to Strategic Advisement

Exclusively serving foundation CEOs and ultra-high-net-worth donors.

16. Publishing My Second Book

Delusional Altruism.

17. Launching New Offerings

Advising, Coaching, Strategic Planning, Strategy Implementation, Executive Transition and Succession Planning, Foundation Sunset Planning, New CEO Jumpstart, and VIP Planning and Coaching Days. Learn more here!

18. First Business Award

National Association of Women Business Owners, Cleveland Chapter, 2007. (Milestone I’d like to forget: slipping on water as I walked back to my table, the glass award shattering into a thousand pieces!).

19. 34th Business Award

Philanthropy Advisor of the Year 2024 (M&A Today Global Awards).

20. Investing in Coaching

Last year alone I invested $75,000 in 12 months of business coaching, growth planning, brand positioning, and advisement. Worth every penny!

21. Launching Virtual Workshops for COVID Navigation

To support funders during COVID, I launched virtual workshops. The first, “Ready, Set, Adapt! How to Navigate Your Philanthropy in a Shape-Shifting Landscape,” was a huge success. My current offering focuses on post-COVID challenges: foundation executive transitions and succession planning. You can learn more here!

22. Pivoting Book Launch During COVID

I gave 24 virtual keynotes, workshops, and webinars, and over 40 podcast interviews in the last 9 months of 2020.

23. Shifting My Mindset

Transforming from thinking I had only one or two articles in me to becoming one of the world’s most prolific independent philanthropy advisors. My philanthropy-focused content now spans books, Forbes.com, newsletters, articles, guides, funder case studies and toolkits, YouTube videos, podcasts, TikTok videos (yes, TikTok!), keynotes, and more!).

24. Helping Hundreds of Philanthropic Clients

Increasing the clarity, impact, and joy of their giving has been my honor. I remember each of my clients and deeply appreciate their partnership. I truly enjoyed almost all of them, and the challenging ones gave me plenty of material for my book, Delusional Altruism!

25. The Ripple Effect

At the heart of it all lies the ripple effect. When I help a donor craft their first family giving plan, coach a foundation CEO through a tricky executive transition, or assist a foundation in effectively sunsetting, the impact multiplies. This influence reverberates, touching countless lives, families, and communities over the past 25 years. This ripple effect is why I do this work—creating waves of positive change that extend far beyond the initial consulting engagement.

Looking forward to what the next 25 years brings!

Kris is a sought after philanthropy advisor, expert and award-winning author. She has helped over 90 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts.

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