Kelly Nowlin

Kelly Nowlin

NCFP Chair | Trustee, Surdna Foundation | NCFP Fellow (2018–2021)

Kelly Davenport Nowlin is a fifth generation Andrus family member who has been actively engaged in her family’s philanthropy for over 20 years. She is serving in her 11th year on the board of the Surdna Foundation, a family led social justice foundation started by her great, great grandfather, John Emory Andrus over 100 years ago. Kelly chairs the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program, which is responsible for outreach to, and engagement of, nearly 500 Andrus family members and seeks to advance social justice philanthropy in the field of family philanthropy.

From 2015 to 2017, Kelly led efforts to mark Surdna’s 100th anniversary (2017) which included national grantmaking initiatives, the launch of a collaborative economic development fund, events, and publications that were shared with the field about impact investing, social justice and family philanthropy.

Prior to her years at Surdna, Kelly was a founding board member of the Andrus Family Fund (AFF), a program launched by Surdna in 2000 as a grantmaking fund for fifth generation family members. She, along with eight cousins, developed program areas, governance policies, bylaws, mission, strategic vision, and committees of the board of this $4MM fund. Kelly served as Vice Chair, then Co-Chair for four of her seven-year term.

Currently, Kelly serves as the Founder and Principal of KDN Philanthropy Consulting developing strategies for family foundations and nonprofits related to grantmaking, governance and family engagement. She speaks regularly around the country on topics in philanthropy including next generation engagement, social justice and racial equity, power and privilege, impact and evaluation, foundation culture and strategic communications. Kelly currently serves on the boards of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP) and was named to the 2020 and 2021 Class of Fellows for NCFP. She was elected Board Chair at NCFP beginning in January 2022.

Kelly is married with two grown children and lives in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

Contributions

From NCFP

Racial Equity is Fundamental to Effective Family Philanthropy

Posted on January 12, 2022 by Kimberly Myers Hewlett, Kelly Nowlin

Learning opportunities bring us the delight of something new: we hear or do something for the first time, we might—metaphorically—or actually—scrape our knees, we pick ourselves up, and we enjoy a sense of accomplishment as we recognize that new thing we know or can do. Much like viewing the world through the eyes of young children, the National Center for… Read More

Racial Justice in Family Philanthropy Symposium

Posted on September 19, 2021 by Vincent Robinson, Doua Thor, Dwayne S. Marsh, Irene Wong, Sandy Herz, John Matthew Sobrato, Nora Leccese, Annie Mahon, Hanna Mahon, Sam Vinal

Registration is now closed. If you have questions, please email ncfp@ncfp.org. NCFP’s Family Philanthropy Racial Justice Symposium is a two-day virtual learning opportunity for family foundation board members, CEOs, senior staff, and next generation family members seeking to deepen their knowledge around racial equity frameworks and practices. Leverage Philanthropic Partners, ABFE, Resource Generation, other experts in this space will lead… Read More
Voices from the Field

Are Foundation Trustees Perpetuating Climate Injustice? Here’s How We Can Change That.

Posted on August 24, 2021 by Kelly Nowlin, Ernest Tollerson

This article was originally published by Inside Philanthropy and is re-posted here with permission. The recent IPCC report couldn’t be clearer: The world needs wide-scale, transformative action, swift action, to ensure we don’t blow past the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in average global temperatures. Mobilizing nations and market forces to achieve this goal, however, should not blot out America’s real-time responsibility to… Read More

Non-family Staff Peer Network: Racial Equity Discussions with Board and Staff

Posted on March 11, 2021 by Mary Mountcastle, June Wilson, Kelly Nowlin

Join the NCFP Fellows for an interactive conversation about addressing racial equity internally. Discuss how to approach tough conversations and how to bridge the gap that oftentimes exists between board and staff on equity issues. We will open with a brief dialogue from the Fellows and move into a group discussion. Bring your topics, favorite resources, and questions for peer staff… 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
From NCFP

Calling Family Foundation Board Members to Join a Journey on Racial Justice

Posted on March 2, 2021 by June Wilson, Kelly Nowlin, Mary Mountcastle, Virginia M. Esposito

Mary Mountcastle, June Wilson, and Kelly Nowlin speaking at the 2019 National Forum on Family Philanthropy Learn more about the Racial Justice Learning and Action Network. In 2018, the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP) announced its second class of fellows, naming Kelly Nowlin, June Wilson, and Mary Mountcastle as distinguished fellows. Each of us independently chose to focus our… Read More

Family Foundation CEO Retreat

Posted on February 12, 2021 by Betsy Erickson, Janine Mason, Michael Smith, Tina Runyan, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Bari Katz, Rob Reich, Shaady Salehi, Carmen Rojas, Diana Scearce

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, particularly in these divisive and dynamic times. This 3-day virtual retreat, designed for both new… Read More
Voices from the Field

Family Culture: Creating a Resilient Family Tree

Posted on February 8, 2021 by Jamie Forbes, Kelly Nowlin

Courtesy of Johannes Plenio from Pexels This blog post is excerpted from the Passages Issues Brief Family Culture: Creating a Resilient Family Tree. For more information about family culture, please register for our Family Identity and Culture Webinar on February 11, 2021. Family connectedness, not money, has the greatest influence on multi-generational family continuity. But when many think about legacy, it’s often in… Read More

Moving Towards Social Justice Philanthropy: One Family Foundation’s Journey, Challenges, and Lessons

Posted on June 18, 2020 by Kelly Nowlin

NCFP board member and Fellow Kelly Nowlin spoke on a webinar hosted by Philanthropy Massachusetts and the Social Innovation Forum.   Five generations after being established, the Surdna Foundation has been intentional about honoring founding vision and legacy, while remaining relevant to current needs and issues in society. In 2009, the family trustees took a bold step in naming social justice in… 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