Susan Wolf Ditkoff

Partner, Bridgespan Group

Susan Wolf Ditkoff is a partner in the Boston office and co-Head of the Philanthropy Practice for The Bridgespan Group. Her work has focused on three primary areas: effective philanthropy, public education, and infrastructure issues such as leadership, capacity building, and governance.

Susan co-authored “When You’ve Made Enough to Make a Difference” (Harvard Business Review, 2011) and “Galvanizing Philanthropy” (Harvard Business Review, 2009), which explored how philanthropists can increase their impact by getting clear about defining success, getting real about what it takes to create change, and getting better over time. Most recently, she co-authored “Philanthropy in the New Age of Government Austerity.” She has also co-authored four related op-eds in the Chronicle of Philanthropy: “The Hard Truth: Philanthropists Need to Get Real to Make Lasting Change,” “For the Gates-Buffett Challenge to Work, It Takes More than Money,” “For Better Results, Philanthropists Need to Meddle Less and Collaborate More,” and “Private Donors Must Help Government Do More With Less,” as well as two case studies on high-impact philanthropy (Tiger Foundation) and education strategy (Expeditionary Learning Schools / Outward Bound: Staying True to Mission).

She has been cited as an expert by The New York Times and Reuters, and speaks frequently at the Council on Foundations and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Association of Small Foundations, and the National Center for Family Philanthropy, as well as for private groups of philanthropists. Her writings have been reprinted in national and international publications. In 2011, she initiated Bridgespan’s first philanthropy blog and Twitter campaign (#30DayDonorChallenge).


Voices from the Field

Obstacles and Pathways to Greater Giving for Social Change

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Alison Powell, Susan Wolf Ditkoff, Nidhi Sahni

Wooden pathway in the forest
America’s philanthropic landscape is filled with many bright spots. In 2017, Americans gave away over $400 billion to charity for the first time. Giving has also reached historical highs amongst America’s wealthiest families. The most recent data show that households with $500 million or more in assets contributed around $45 billion to charity in 2017… Read More

20th Anniversary Symposium: Imagining the Future of Family Philanthropy

Posted on September 13, 2018 by Virginia M. Esposito, Carol S. Larson, Ayelet Baron, Sierra Clark, A. Sparks, Didier Sylvain, Farhad Ebrahimi, Kelly Chopus, Richard Woo, Mary Mountcastle

In addition to a celebration of NCFP’s 20th Anniversary, the Symposium will explore key themes, trends, and bold ideas generated over the year by the Imagining the Future initiative. We will also unveil several new NCFP research initiatives including Pride of Place, a report exploring how boards stay true to the original geographic focus of the family foundation after trustees have moved away.  … Read More

Giving That Gets Results: SSIR x Bridgespan series on adaptive philanthropy

Posted on April 8, 2014 by Alison Powell, Susan Wolf Ditkoff

Adaptive philanthropy is one of the more interesting developments in the field of philanthropy. Over the course of eight weeks in the late fall of 2013, SSIR and Bridgespan presented Giving That Gets Results ( philanthropy), a series of blogs, videos, and webinars that explored adaptive philanthropy, and other important approaches to philanthropy. … Read More
Voices from the Field

Giving while living: Eli Broad

Posted on January 15, 2013 by Susan Wolf Ditkoff

Editor’s Note: The National Center is delighted to partner in 2013 with the Bridgespan Group to feature videos from its Conversations with Remarkable Givers series. To launch this series, we share Bridgespan’s interview with Eli Broad on his entrepreneurial and “give now” approach to philanthropy, along with an introduction from Bridgespan Partner Susan Wolf Ditkoff on the goals and highlights… Read More

Avoiding Leaky Pipes: Enhancing Donor-Grantee Collaboration

Posted on October 11, 2012 by Alisa Robins Doctoroff, Andrea Hernandez Rodriguez, Susan Wolf Ditkoff

Given the challenging economic times, it’s only natural for donors to want their scarce resources to be well spent. In reality, the pipeline that brings resources from donor to grantee is often leaky, limiting the potential for results. There is a great opportunity to enhance donor and grantee collaboration, which could increase the impact of each dollar granted… Read More