David Weitnauer

President, R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation | NCFP Distinguished Fellow (2022-2024)

David Weitnauer has been working with and caring for families since graduating from seminary in 1986.  David served in a variety of settings during his formal pastoral career including institutional chaplaincy, congregational ministry, and an ecumenical counseling center.

He was asked to serve as a community trustee in 1996 for a new family foundation. Following a year and a half of board engagement in which trustees shared the work, David assumed responsibility for management on a part-time basis. Two years later, he became full-time Executive Director of the Rockdale Foundation in support of its founders’ divergent interests.  David worked locally in support of public education reform. Internationally, he worked cross-culturally in 6 countries across the Arab region in support of a then-developing Arab microfinance industry. Across this same period, he also worked in Cuba in partnership with an ecumenical Seminary to strengthen community services delivered by local churches in the absence of a non-profit sector.

In 2007, David became President of the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation. He was charged with cultivating governance practices and operations in accordance with best practices, facilitation of an intergenerational board succession process (G2 to G3), and developing a focused approach to grantmaking that included proactive engagement. 15 years later, five third generation trustees lead the Board in partnership with three community trustees. Priorities developed by trustees guide programmatic investments in three legacy areas.

David has been active in the philanthropic sector.  In partnership with the Southeastern Council of Foundations (now, Philanthropy SE), he worked with colleagues to launch Georgia Grantmakers Alliance, an informal state association of grantmakers. He also contributed to the launch of the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative. He collaborated with partners on the launch and development of Stewards of the Georgia Coast, an informal donor affinity group that advances conservation philanthropy on behalf of Georgia’s internationally significant coast.

Current board service includes One Hundred Miles, John H. and Wilhelmina Harland Charitable Foundation, and the Rockdale Foundation.Past board service includes the National Center for Family Philanthropy, Georgia Social Impact Collaborative, Georgia Grantmakers Alliance, Philanthropy SE, and Sanabel Microfinance Network.

A 1982 graduate of Davidson College, David received his Master of Divinity in 1986 and his Doctor of Theology in 1997 from Columbia Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Nancy, have two adult children and live in Decatur, Georgia.

Contributions

21st-Century Governance Part One: Participatory and Collaborative Operations and Strategies

Posted on December 1, 2023 by Joshua J. Knowles, Courtney Knoblock, Hannibal B. Johnson, David Weitnauer

Please note this webinar was originally scheduled to take place on January 16, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 25. Family philanthropies are increasingly recognizing the power of inclusive and collaborative approaches to maximize their operations and impact—and to ensure that their philanthropy will bring more value to family members, grantees, community members, and others. This session will delve… Read More
Effective Family Philanthropy in Action

Fostering Connection for More Effective Philanthropy

Posted on October 2, 2023 by David Weitnauer

Colleagues collaborating and laughing around a table
NCFP Distinguished Fellow David Weitnauer notes the importance of personal connection among family, board, and staff members in the context of their philanthropy and introduces his research on the concept of giving related. In the drive to improve our philanthropy practices and contribute to greater impact, we often overlook the very characteristic that sets our field apart: family ties. Cultivating… Read More

The Principles of Effective Family Philanthropy: Relationships

Posted on June 5, 2023 by Liz Dozier, Cathy Cha, Erin Borla, Regan Pritzker, Mailee Walker, Dimple Abichandani, C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser, David Weitnauer

 Effective family philanthropy makes a collective commitment to meaningful societal change. It holds itself accountable to impact as defined by community, and to the proven practices that support it. It is adaptive, evolving with the family and the community or ecosystem within which it operates. It shares or cedes power with different family members and generations, as well as… Read More

The Principles of Effective Family Philanthropy: Reflection & Learning

Posted on June 5, 2023 by Tegan Acton, Regan Pritzker, Mailee Walker, Don Chen, David Weitnauer

 Effective family philanthropy makes a collective commitment to meaningful societal change. It holds itself accountable to impact as defined by community, and to the proven practices that support it. It is adaptive, evolving with the family and the community or ecosystem within which it operates. It shares or cedes power with different family members and generations, as well as… Read More
Effective Family Philanthropy in Action

An Easy Step to Improve Transparency and Access in Philanthropy

Posted on March 7, 2023 by David Weitnauer, Rachel Sprecher

Tip of an iceberg
Grantmakers can have a reputation for having opaque guidelines and limited access to information. David Weitnauer and his colleague, Rachel Sprecher, explain how The Dobbs Foundation took another step towards transparency and accessibility with their Open Information Sessions. Black Box. Enigma. Total mystery. No, these are not a reference to Thursday’s Wordle or how ChatGPT works. They’re regrettable tropes we’ve… Read More

Engaging Youth Peer Network: Youth and Next-gen COVID-19 Giving

Posted on April 22, 2020 by Eesha Vettical, Allison Hale, Rebecca Riccio, David Weitnauer

Attendees at a Youth Philanthropy Connect event
Youth and next-gen givers are an integral part of our foundation’s futures, and many are interested in helping during the current crisis. COVID-19 provides a unique, albeit unfortunate, opportunity to engage youth in decisions around crisis response funds. Learn how peers are engaging youth in these decisions and values conversations, broaching delicate topics, and nurturing empathy… Read More

Consensus and Complexity: A Retreat for New Family Foundation CEOs

Posted on October 11, 2019 by Alexa Cortes Culwell, Nicholas A. Tedesco, Virginia M. Esposito, Ambassador James A. Joseph, Stephen Treat, June L. Wilson, David Weitnauer, Jim Parsons

SOLD OUT! Contact NCFP at (202) 293-3424 to add your name to the wait list. Serving in the leadership staffing role for a family foundation can be one of the best jobs you’ll ever have, but it is not without challenges and complications. This first-of-its-kind NCFP peer retreat provides a unique opportunity for new family foundation CEOs to reflect on… Read More

Family Stories and Interviewing Elders

Posted on January 10, 2019 by Bill Leighty, Debbie Brodsky, Kelly Medinger, David Weitnauer

Capturing and sharing your family’s history is critical to understanding and appreciating your philanthropy, providing a window into the rich heritage of your extended family. Elders in your family often have particularly interesting stories to tell, and can help family members of all ages feel more connected with the generations preceding them, and gain an even greater appreciation of their… Read More