Kelly Nowlin

Kelly D. Nowlin

Principal, KDN Philanthropy Consulting | 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 served for 12 years 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 chaired the Thriving Cultures Committee and the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program, which is responsible for outreach to, and engagement of, nearly 500 Andrus family members and worked closely with staff to guide program, investment, and communications strategies. 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 8 cousins, developed program areas, governance policies, bylaws, mission, strategic vision, and committees of this $4MM fund. Kelly served as Vice Chair, then Co-Chair for four of her seven-year term.

In addition to philanthropy, Kelly has nearly 30 years of experience as a media and communications professional having held various marketing management positions at CBS and Entercom Radio, Community Newspaper Company (a Fidelity company), and in the media buying space. She developed and launched two startups and has acknowledged expertise in social media and brand development.

Currently, Kelly is Principal of KDN Philanthropy Consulting, developing strategies for family foundations and nonprofits, and 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. She is an outspoken leader on the need for philanthropy to be accountable to power dynamics and racial equity, and co-developed the Racial Justice Learning and Action Cohort at the National Center for Family Philanthropy for family foundation trustees to build knowledge, skills and action plans that advance racial justice practices. She regularly collaborates with and mentors next generation family members within the Andrus family and in the field more broadly, building equity-framed curriculums and facilitating opportunities for younger voices to be amplified. Kelly has served on the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and previously served as the Board Chair of the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP).

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


Family Culture: Creating a Resilient Family Tree

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Jamie Forbes, Kelly D. Nowlin

Family connectedness, not money, has the greatest influence on multi-generational family continuity. But when many think about legacy, it’s often in the context of multi-generational financial wealth. Money, though, masks what people are really interested in passing to future generations of their family. Instead of being the primary focus, financial assets should be viewed as an enabler to the bigger… Read More

2018 Trustee Education Institute: The Signature Seminar for Family Foundation Board Members

Posted on March 6, 2018 by Virginia M. Esposito, Andrew Schulz, David Grant, Hanh Le, Holli Rivera, Alice Buhl, Leticia Peguero, Lindsey Griffith, Mary Phillips, Nat Chioke Williams

NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute provides a comprehensive introduction to all of the key legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members. Featuring a faculty made up of NCFP’s senior staff and highly respected philanthropy experts, this three day, intensive seminar typically covers: What does it mean to be a steward of both the public’s trust… Read More

Family Philanthropy Stories- Capture the Legacy of Your Giving with NCFP and the History Project

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Virginia M. Esposito, Michelle Knapik, Niles Lichtenstein, Kelly D. Nowlin

Why, in 2017, are we still relying on grandma’s photo albums and poorly scanned Facebook uploads to preserve our family histories? Legacy preservation is deeply important whether you are preparing for succession or seeking to keep donor intent alive. So, how can you bring your family’s history up to date in the New Year? In this webinar, NCFP teams up… Read More