Mary Phillips

Co-founder & President, GMA Foundations

Mary Phillips has worked with foundation trustees, families, and individual donors for over thirty-five years, and is recognized in the field for her insight and focus on critical issues, and her deft facilitation of effective group meetings. Mary leads the GMA’s consulting services and specializes in program design and assessment, governance structure, trustee orientation, planning for transitions, retreat planning and facilitation, foundation start-up services, and coaching for foundation leaders.

Mary is a founding member and past chair of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, a learning community for consultants dedicated to increasing and strengthening philanthropy, and she is a past chair of Philanthropy Massachusetts, a New England-wide regional association. She is active in the non-profit community and is frequently asked to speak and facilitate workshops for Exponent Philanthropy, the National Center for Family Philanthropy, and other local and national organizations.

Mary holds a Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Change from Regis College, and is a graduate of Emerson College with a B.S. in Business and Organizational Communication. Mary enjoys swimming, yoga, volunteering for community initiatives, taking Edx courses, and being a mother of one, grandmother of two, and aunt of 21. Her experience as a member of a very large family is the underpinning of her interest in healthy family dynamics.



Voices from the Field

Prepare for Ethical Dilemmas on Family Boards

Posted on November 16, 2021 by Mary Phillips

This article was originally published by GMA Foundations and is re-posted here with permission. Many family foundations have taken the time to develop a values statement that guides board behavior and decisions.  While a board may have this deeply-held set of values, the board members might not always agree on how to interpret them. Reality can be complex, and gray… 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

Succession Planning and Family Transitions

Posted on December 8, 2020 by Peter Myers, Mary Sobecki, Mary Phillips

hand giving set of keys to another hand - succession, passing the baton, transition
Change is inevitable and can be especially complex in family philanthropy. There are a number of questions to explore to ensure the success of a collective giving effort. What are the anticipated moments of transition? What are the plans to navigate accordingly? Who is best suited—and prepared—to lead the family philanthropy effort moving forward? Is there a clear plan for… Read More
Voices from the Field

Know Your Family Foundation Life Cycle

Posted on January 29, 2020 by Mary Phillips, GMA Foundations

a family with kids plays in a pile of autumn leaves
Editor’s note: This content is authored by Mary Phillips at GMA, where she leads GMA Foundations’ consulting practice. GMA is a content partner of NCFP and the piece appears with permission. By nature, family philanthropy is a deeply meaningful and evolving endeavor. Families are notoriously unique in their approaches to giving together, yet there are common stages and transitions that… Read More