Ann Shulman

Executive Director, Philanthropy Associates

Ann Shulman has over twenty years of experience working with foundations and non-profits to diagnose challenge areas and help build organizational capacity to address them. Ann uses her expertise in facilitation, conflict resolution, leadership skills training and intra-organizational communications and decision-making to help organizations manage internal operational issues — from designing high-impact grant-making programs, to planning and facilitating high stakes meetings and retreats, to resolving governance issues on boards of directors.

Ann’s focus is on environmental programs, as well as foundations and NGO’s working in the fields of education, health and human well being, reproductive rights, criminal justice reform and women’s philanthropy. She is passionate about using the power of effective communication to transform human systems to do their good work even better.

Ann has extensive experience in leadership curriculum design and delivery, having trained the leadership and staff of organizations ranging from Fortune 100 and 500 companies to top-ten foundations to academic institutions to small family foundations and local community groups. She also serves as a professional executive coach, mediator, facilitator and trainer. Ann brings an international perspective, having worked in over a dozen countries.

She is the former President of the Northern California Mediation Association, is a past Executive Director of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley and is on its Board, is the Vice Chair of the West Marin Fund Board of Directors, is on the Board of Directors of the Blue Sky Funders Forum, and is the Program Director of the Lampert Byrd Foundation’s Environmental Stewardship Fund.

Ann earned her B.S. in Psychology from Duke University, her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, and her LL.M. in International Law from the European University Institute. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco where she teaches courses on facilitation.


Demystifying Decision Making

Posted on December 7, 2020 by Ann Shulman

feet on an arrow pointing different directions - decision, choice, option
Philanthropic families employ a wide range of models to make decisions—from unilateral authority to consensus. However, identifying the appropriate structure is often a challenge and can serve as a barrier to effective philanthropic practices. Developing an appropriate decision-making framework for distinct situations allows families to rely on an established and agreed-upon process to find a solution smoothly and expediently. Learn… Read More

Decision-Making when Founders Are Present

Posted on October 27, 2003 by Ann Shulman

Founders who are accustomed to making their own decisions in business at times ‘take charge’ of a foundation or advised fund inappropriately. Founders may think of the foundation as their own and feel impatient with or disrespectful of group decision-making. At the same time, they genuinely want their family members to be part of the foundation. Family members have options… Read More

Decision-Making Options for Family Philanthropy

Posted on October 27, 2003 by Ann Shulman

This chart from the Passages issue paper ‘Demystifying Decision-making’ presents the advantages and disadvantages of six individual and group decision-making methods. Included are suggestions for when to use of the methods presented… Read More

Demystifying Decisionmaking in Family Philanthropy

Posted on August 4, 2003 by Ann Shulman

The notion of selecting methods to use in making a decision is foreign to many family foundations and advised funds. Getting board members to agree can be difficult enough. Why would foundations and advisory boards want to add yet another step to the process? This Passages Issue Brief describes different kinds of decisions made under varying conditions and circumstances require… Read More

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