Denise Porche

Executive Director, Island Foundation

Denise Porche has held leadership roles in community activism, social service provision and philanthropy for more than three decades. Currently, Denise is Executive Director of the Island Foundation, which she has led since 2009. Under her leadership, the Island Foundation has increased its funding for basic needs, inclusion and equity grantmaking strategies, global issues, and educational and work opportunities for underserved populations. In addition, she founded the Southeastern Massachusetts Food Security Network and the Women CEO’s Group. And she participated in EGA’s Global Distance Learning Programs to China, Kenya & South Africa.

Denise is also an Adjunct Lecturer (Social Justice Philanthropy) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Prior to joining the Island Foundation, Denise was a fellow at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, she worked on inclusion projects, immigration issues, and was a member of the Harvard Diversity Working Group.

Denise holds an MSW from Boston University and a BA in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.


Non-Family Staff Peer Network: The Impact of the Great Reshuffle on Work Culture

Posted on March 18, 2022 by Denise Porche, Kim Wright

In this time of shift and transition, how is the great reshuffle and resignation impacting your work culture? Network co-chairs Denise Porche and Kim Wright and your non-family senior staff colleagues will connect in small groups around two self-selected topics including: professional development to grow and retain staff, succession planning, transitions, and culture. If there is a specific topic that you’d like… Read More

Non-family Staff Peer Network: Discussion with Leading Executive Directors

Posted on August 12, 2021 by Rachel Leon, Jamie Allison, Denise Porche, Kim Wright, Lukas Haynes, Steve Toben

Join your peers to engage in small-group dialogue with three accomplished executive directors: Jamie Allison, Walter and Elise Haas Fund; Rachel Leon, Park Foundation; and Lukas Haynes, The David Rockefeller Fund. We will begin with a brief panel to get to know each speaker. Then we will split into three small groups, facilitated by one of this network’s co-chairs, to… Read More

Non-family Staff Peer Network Event: What Questions Keep You up at Night?

Posted on December 19, 2019 by Denise Porche, Kim Wright, Steve Toben

During the NCFP 2019 National Forum on Family Philanthropy, the Non-family Staff Peer Network had great success meeting about what keeps you up at night—the most pressing challenges and questions in your role. Join the group again to continue this conversation and share your biggest current challenges. Connect with your peers to find community, solutions, and resources. NCFP’s Non-family Staff… Read More

All Peer Network: Responding to COVID-19 in our Communities

Posted on December 19, 2019 by Nicholas A. Tedesco, Denise Porche, Kim Wright

Person helping another person climb a mountain
Please note: We have postponed our conversation “Connecting Families Across Distance” and will use this time to share and discuss our initial responses and strategies to COVID-19. This All Peer Network event, hosted by the Non-family Staff Peer Network, is open to senior leaders and board members of NCFP Friends of the Family organizations. With the sudden spread of COVID-19,… Read More

Non-family Staff Peer Network: CEO Performance Reviews

Posted on January 18, 2019 by Rusty Stahl, Denise Porche, Kelly Chopus, Kelly Medinger

Following our last discussion on board chair dynamics, members wanted to know more information on CEO performance review processes and templates from peers. Join this conversation in June as we take a deeper dive into the importance of CEO performance reviews, and how your organization can support talent management and diverse staff at your foundation and your grantees… Read More