Katherine Lorenz

Senior Advisor, NCFP; Board Chair, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Katherine Lorenz joined NCFP as a Senior Advisor in the fall of 2020. In her role, Katherine leads the strategy around NCFP’s partnerships with other philanthropy-serving organizations in an effort to build meaningful sector collaboration. She leverages her deep content expertise to assist with special consultancies and NCFP programming.

Previously, Katherine spent nearly a decade leading the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, her family’s philanthropy focusing on environmental sustainability in Texas. In 2020, she transitioned to the role of Board Chair at the Mitchell Foundation. Previously, she served as Deputy Director for the Institute for Philanthropy, whose mission is to increase effective philanthropy in the United Kingdom and internationally. Prior to that, Katherine lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for nearly six years where she co-founded Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, a non-profit organization working to advance food sovereignty in rural Oaxaca.

Katherine currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, the Environmental Defense, The Philanthropy Workshop, and the Endowment for Regional Sustainability Science. She co-founded the Next Gen of the Giving Pledge group and serves on the Philanthropists Council of the Beacon Collaborative, the Leadership Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, and the national advisory committee of USC’s Irene Hirano Inouye Philanthropic Leadership Fund. Katherine holds a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Davidson College.

Contributions

Voices from the Field

Four Ways Values Inspire and Ground Our Grantmaking

Posted on January 5, 2021 by Katherine Lorenz

Courtesy of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation One reason many families create foundations is to pass down philanthropic values through the generations. My grandparents founded the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation to support the issues they cared most deeply about and also to ensure that the specific values they championed throughout their lifetimes would continue to live on when… Read More

Defining and Translating Motivations and Values

Posted on December 7, 2020 by Jaimie Mayer, Nicholas A. Tedesco, Katherine Lorenz

stack of blocks with arrows pointing upward - direction, mission, plan
Clearly defined motivations and values are the underpinning of an effective family philanthropy strategy—they articulate a purpose, provide direction, and serve as a measure of accountability. They are also a dynamic and ever-evolving tool to guide donors and their family through the lifecycle of their philanthropic effort. Yet many families engage in social impact strategies without intentionally identifying aims and… Read More

Relationship Between the Board Chair and CEO

Posted on January 9, 2019 by Vernetta Walker, Lynne J. Doblin, Katherine Lorenz, Elaine Gast Fawcett

How do board chairs and CEOs develop and maintain their partnerships? How do family foundation board chairs and CEOs build a relationship of trust and bridge the divide between physical distance, differences between staff and family member roles, and continue the work of the foundation during times of transition? Join to learn how CEOs and board chairs develop positive, productive… Read More
Voices from the Field

Standing Together: Exciting Ways Family Philanthropy Can Come Together in 2018

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Katherine Lorenz

2017 was a challenging and frustrating year for many of us who work in family philanthropy. The nation’s political climate—characterized by intense partisan polarization and accompanied by a parade of troublesome public policy changes—has undone years of hard work and placed new burdens on the nonprofits we support and the communities we serve… Read More

Trends in Family Philanthropy: A Conversation with NCFP Fellows Katherine Lorenz and Doug Bitonti Stewart

Posted on December 8, 2016 by Virginia M. Esposito, Katherine Lorenz, Doug Bitonti Stewart

This webinar features two of the field’s emerging leaders, former NCFP Fellows Katherine Lorenz & Doug Bitonti-Stewart. Doug and Katherine will reflect on a variety of issues they have explored with NCFP and will discuss important trends in the field at large. Moderated by NCFP President Ginny Esposito, their conversation highlights issues and topics of interest to all family funders,… Read More
Featured Article

It’s Time for Grantmakers to Embrace Failure

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Katherine Lorenz

Philanthropy often encourages grantees to take risks, to be innovative, to find new solutions to old problems. Indeed, many refer to philanthropy as “risk capital,” providing funding that can help society create innovative, new models for addressing the world’s most intractable social issues. But risk and innovation often bring an uncomfortable consequence: failure… Read More

2016 NCFP CEO Retreat: a Joint Retreat for Family and Non-Family CEOs

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Virginia M. Esposito, Katherine Lorenz, Doug Bitonti Stewart

The role of a family foundation CEO is unique, often bridging generations of family members, community leaders, staff, advisors, and partners. Expectations can be challenging to meet and boundaries are sometimes vague and ever-changing. Success in this role requires a cadre of specialized leadership skills. This 3-day retreat, to be held at the family home of David and Lucile Packard,… Read More

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