Denise Porche headshot

Denise Porche

Executive Director, Island Foundation

Denise Porche has held leadership roles in philanthropy, social service provision, and community activism for more than two 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 equity and inclusion, basic needs, educational opportunities for underserved populations, and environmental justice. She also founded the Southeastern Massachusetts Food Security Network and the Women CEOs Group.

Denise’s leadership in philanthropy includes present and prior facilitation of many funder networks, and she is an advisor for the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and the Social Innovation Forum. Denise also taught Social Justice Philanthropy at The Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University. Additionally, she serves on the boards of The Redford Center, Project Citizenship and the SouthCoast Community Foundation, and she previously served on the boards of Philanthropy Massachusetts and the Environmental Grantmakers Association.

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 and immigration issues, and she was a member of the Harvard Diversity Working Group. And before that, Denise worked at Catholic Social Services directing the Office for Child Protection and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Denise holds a BA from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and an MSW from Boston University.


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 Denise Porche, Rusty Stahl, Kelly Medinger, Kelly Chopus

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