Ellie Frey Zagel

Ellie Frey Zagel

Successful Generations Coaching; Vice Chair & Trustee, The Frey Foundation

Ellie Frey Zagel is a life and leadership coach for the next generation of family business, philanthropy and wealth. Committed to serving her audience and sharing her expertise, Ellie founded Successful Generations, LLC and launched a podcast for family businesses and philanthropic communities. Ellie has spoken around the country on next generation issues pertaining to family business and family philanthropy.

Ellie is also third generation Vice Chair and Trustee of her family’s foundation, The Frey Foundation (based in Grand Rapids, MI). She has been working with her family around the boardroom table since the age of 15. For over a decade, Ellie has been deeply involved in working professionally with the next generation of family businesses; first, as Director of the Family Business Alliance and now, as President of Successful Generations.

Ellie earned her Bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics from Boston University, and has certificates in Family Business and Family Wealth Advising from the Family Firm Institute. She is a certified life coach from The Life Coach School.

Outside of work, Ellie is an avid fly fisherwoman. When she is not in a trout stream, you can find Ellie and her husband, Chad, in East Grand Rapids, MI with their young son.


Non-family Staff Peer Network: Generational Transition at the Table

Posted on January 12, 2023 by Ellie Frey Zagel

Three generations at a family philanthropy
Around each board table, there is a need to plan for the next generation and to nurture their leadership and engagement. What conditions make for successful next gen engagement and transitions? How do you empower adult family members to be involved, while also recognizing they are at a particularly busy stage of life? Learn from Ellie Frey Zagel, a next… Read More

Emerging Family Leaders in Philanthropy: Navigating Cross-Generational Relationships and Cultivating Personal Leadership

Posted on February 10, 2022 by Ashley Duchossois Joyce, Ellie Frey Zagel

It can be challenging to be a leader in a family philanthropy context, particularly as a member of the next generation. How can you share your skills, expertise, or experience to add value to your family’s work and gain the trust of other board members? Join Ashley Joyce and Ellie Frey Zagel for a discussion about building leadership within family… Read More

Non-family Staff Peer Network: Power and Family Systems

Posted on April 15, 2021 by Jamie Forbes, Ellie Frey Zagel

Jamie Forbes and Ellie Frey Zagel will bring their expertise from years working with families to this conversation on power and family systems. Explore family business models, culture, and best practices in collaborating with families as they relate to forging connections and power dynamics across generations. Come with questions, prepared to engage in a great discussion with peers. As a… Read More

2021 Trustee Education Institute

Posted on March 9, 2021 by Isabel Nogueira, Alyson Wise, Jumi Falusi, Milton Speid, Emily Kaiser, Adrian Ruiz, Lisa Jackson, Priscilla Enriquez, Dorothy Gardner, Regan Pritzker

NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute provides a comprehensive overview of the important legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members and CEOs. Featuring the perspectives of innovative donors and a faculty made up of donors, board members, and highly respected philanthropy experts, this virtual seminar covers: Translating values and goals into action Connecting family legacy and… Read More

2020 Trustee Education Institute

Posted on December 22, 2019 by Christopher Fletcher, Jennifer Davis, Robin Snidow, Kathleen Simpson, Laura Collins, Paul Liu, Greg Ratliff, Tamara Larsen, Dana Lanza, Shaady Salehi

past TEI attendees
Attendees, please visit the event website for the most up-to-date agenda and Zoom links. The website passcode was emailed to all registrants. NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute provides a comprehensive introduction to important legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members. Featuring a faculty made up of donors, board members, and highly respected philanthropy experts, this… Read More
Voices from the Field

Balancing Privilege and Responsibility

Posted on October 7, 2019 by Ellie Frey Zagel

White chairs on red rose gardens
Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared here and on NCFP’s blog in 2018. Balancing privilege with responsibility is no small feat. And then, after you miraculously have figured it out for yourself, how do you pass this wisdom down to your next generation? In this blog, I will highlight what I mean by privilege and then share a few examples of… Read More

Trends 2020: An Invitation from Ellie Frey Zagel

Posted on March 19, 2019 by Ellie Frey Zagel

A gold pen rests on a survey form, which has some X marks.
NCFP’s inaugural study on trends in family philanthropy, Trends 2015, was the first benchmark study of its kind, designed to collect timely and actionable information about the field at a national level. NCFP Board Member Ellie Frey Zegel invites you to be a part of Trends 2020, which will include questions relevant to ongoing changes in the field including issues of equity, place-based giving, transparency, the role of the donor, and the question of spend down versus perpetuity… Read More

New Trends: Research Findings from NCFP’s “Trends 2020” Study

Posted on January 14, 2019 by Armando Castellano, Mimi Potter, Neal Chambliss, Claire Costello, Bob Reid, Ellie Frey Zagel

What are new emerging issues facing philanthropic donors and families? How are families’ funding priorities, governance practices, and approaches to giving and decision-making evolving and changing? How are issues of founder participation, choice of lifespan, and the use of multiple giving vehicles affecting the practices and outcomes of family philanthropy? This webinar will share the results of research findings from… Read More

Collaborating for Change: Practices and Pitfalls from Across the Field

Posted on June 14, 2018 by Debbie Berger, Maggi Alexander, Meaghan Calcari Campbell, Ellie Frey Zagel

For NCFP‘s 20th anniversary we decided to used our monthly webinars as a chance to revisit our Founding Values and Guiding Principles. This month we will offer the field a free webinar on the Value of Respectful Collaboration. NCFP recognizes that collaboration and respect are key to building a healthy and strong family, organization, and community. In partnership with Exponent… Read More