Our Team

Board of Directors

Lisa Wolverton

Chair

Lisa Wolverton

Chair

UK & US Boards

Lisa Wolverton is co-owner of the Pacific Investment Corporation, a family-owned real estate holdings and investment company. She  is an active philanthropist and advocate of women and children. She is the founder and president of the Canadian nonprofit, GenerationChild. Lisa also chaired the international conference, The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future. She is also managing director of the Wolverton Foundation, a private family foundation dedicated to elevating exposure to the arts and facilitating artistic programs for those children who would otherwise be excluded from these opportunities. Lisa is a current member of the International Advisory Board of The Philanthropy Workshop.  She served on the Board of Directors of UNICEF Canada for six years. She is a former member of the President’s Council and is an ongoing supporter of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. She is also an active mentor for the Loran Scholarship Foundation of Canada.

Katherine Lorenz

Vice Chair

Katherine Lorenz

Vice Chair

UK & US Boards

In late 2012, Forbes Magazine named Katherine “One to Watch” as an up-and-coming face in philanthropy. She is President of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, a grantmaking foundation focusing on environmental sustainability in Texas. Katherine formerly worked as Deputy Director for the Institute for Philanthropy, whose mission was to increase effective philanthropy in the United Kingdom and internationally. Prior to that, Katherine lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for almost six years where she co-founded Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, a non-profit organization working to advance food sovereignty in rural Oaxaca state through the integration of amaranth into the diet.She continues to be involved with Puente’s work as a board member. Before founding Puente, she spent two summers living in rural villages in Latin America with the volunteer program Amigos de las Américas and later served on their program committee and as a trustee of the Foundation for Amigos de las Americas. Katherine serves on the board of directors of the Environmental Defense FundExponent Philanthropy, the Endowment for Regional Sustainability Science, and the National Center for Family Philanthropy. She was formerly a board member of Resource Generation, the Amaranth Institute, and a member of the National Academies’ Roundtable of Science and Technology for Sustainability. Katherine is a member of the Global Philanthropists Circle of the Synergos Institute and serves on the Leadership Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation. She served two years on the Council on Foundations Committee on Family Philanthropy and served on their 2012 and 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference Planning Task Force. Katherine is a frequent guest speaker on topics related to environmental sustainability, next generation philanthropy, and non-profit leadership. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Davidson College.

Larry Birenbaum

Secretary

Larry Birenbaum

Secretary

US Board

Larry spent his career in high-tech, retired from Cisco Systems where he was a senior vice president and general manager in charge of the desktop switch and wireless LAN business units. Before that, he held engineering positions at Hewlett Packard and 3Com Corporation, later co-founding Grand Junction Networks where he was a principal inventor of modern Ethernet. His philanthropic focus is climate change, supporting strong established organizations that are objectively and pragmatically focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations. A major portion of Larry’s philanthropic impact accrues from his contributions to The Philanthropy Workshop, of which he is both an alumnus and board member. He and his wife, Jan, live in northern California and are the proud parents of two daughters and two granddaughters.

Matthew Bowcock

Treasurer

Matthew Bowcock

Treasurer

UK Board

Matthew Bowcock was until recently Chairman of UK Community Foundations. He is a Council Member of the Arts Council of England, a trustee of the Beacon Awards and the Watts Gallery, and a member of the Big Society Capital advisory board. Matthew was a founding director of Localgiving.com, and a member of the Philanthropy Review Board. In 2012, he authored a report for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport called “Digital Giving in the Arts—Democratising Philanthropy.” He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014. His background is in technology entrepreneurship, company start-up, and investment. After a law degree, he worked for international technology companies before setting up a software business in 1989, the first of several businesses he has established in Australia, the US, and the UK. In 2000, Matthew and his wife Helen established The Hazelhurst Trust, a private family trust, and, since 2005, he has focused his energies on developing greater philanthropy in Britain. 

 

Maureen Blanc

Member

Maureen Blanc

Member

US Board

TPW is the learning springboard for my philanthropy. It provides me access to the people, programming and network of experts, resources, and like-minded individuals who help to inform my giving. TPW is a very significant part of my life.”

Maureen has been working in the nonprofit sector for over ten years, and is the founder and Director of Charge Across Town, an educational organization working to advance the adoption of electric transportation, reduce carbon emissions, and help create the future of cleaner transportation options. She served as the Northern California Chapter Director for Environmental Entrepreneurs, a network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and other professionals who help influence key environmental policy issues and provide business skills and financial support for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Maureen also served as vice president of marketing for the International Museum of Women, which recently merged with Global Fund for Women. She helped establish the San Francisco chapter of Friends of the Children, a program that serves “at risk” school-age children in the Bay View/Hunters Point neighborhood. Maureen was president and co-founder of Blanc and Otus Public Relations, a high tech consultancy firm sold to Hill and Knowlton in 1999, where she continued to serve as director of the Global Technology Practice. She currently serves on the executive committee and the board of trustees for the World Affairs Council. Maureen is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley with a degree in English literature, and did postgraduate work at Stanford University.

Lauren Cramer

Member

Lauren Cramer

Member

US Board

Lauren B. Cramer is a Trustee of Syracuse University, and Chair of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Council, and on the Boards of National Dance Institute, and Park Slope Community Help, Inc., a local Brooklyn soup kitchen and resident home for young mothers.  She has also served as an officer and director of numerous civic and charitable organizations in a pro-bono capacity, advising both private foundations and public charities in issues relating to administration and law. She has served as a guest lecturer at New York University and Syracuse University.  Lauren is a partner at the law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1997. Her areas of concentration include trust and estate administration, and tax-exempt organization work, focusing particularly on public charities and private foundations as well as general corporate and litigation work. She received a B.A. degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1987 and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in 1994. Prior to graduation from Syracuse, she pursued a career in finance and nonprofit administration. Lauren’s community and professional affiliations include the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the New York State Bar Association.

Elliott Donnelley

Member

Elliott Donnelley

Member

US Board

“To say that TPW was transformational is an understatement. TPW fundamentally changed my life.”

Elliott is a founding general partner of the White Sand Investor Group, LP, a fifth generation investment partnership of the Chicago-based Donnelley family. As an investor of both his personal and family’s assets, he has increasingly focused on the nexus between investment for financial return and investment for social and environmental impact. From 1989-1991 Elliott lived and worked in Beijing at the University of Aeronautics and Astronautics; he now travels to China monthly, where he spends a good deal of his time working to promote best practices in philanthropy and impact investing. In China, Elliott serves as an advisor to a number of international and domestic organizations and in 2012 he helped launch the China Philanthropy Forum, where he serves as a member of the organizing committee. He has appeared as a speaker, moderator and facilitator at a number of conferences including the Bo Ao Forum, The San Ya Forum, The UBS Art of Philanthropy Conference in Beijing and The US-China Philanthropy Summit. In addition to his work in China, Elliott serves on the board of Stanford’s Global Project Center, The LGT Venture Philanthropy Foundation, the World Affairs Council of Northern California, and Synergos – where he is also a member of the Global Philanthropist Circle. He attended The Philanthropy Workshop West from 2006 to 2007 and served as Co-Chairman of the Board from 2009 to 2011. Elliott graduated from Yale University in 1988 with a B.A. in history.

William Perrin

Member

William Perrin

Member

UK Board

William works at the interface of technology, the state and the voluntary sector.  William is a trustee of several charities, the founder of tech start-ups and a community activist. In a wide ranging and occasionally successful public service career William helped set the national framework for regulating sectors as diverse as media, where he was instrumental in creating OFCOM, gambling and pubs, bars and clubs.  William was technology policy advisor and a private secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair MP from 2001-2004. 
William was responsible for kicking off the UK government’s interest in open data in 2007 and remains a data activist. William founded community journalism start up Talk About Local in 2009, recently winning a Google Digital News Initiative award for innovation in local data use.  William has provided consultancy services to some of the world’s leading technology and media companies as well as trusts and foundations.  William is a trustee of Good Things Foundation, Indigo Trust, and 360Giving; a charity about grant making data, which he co-founded.  William sits on the Digital Advisory Board to the Oxfordshire Community Foundation and the British Library’s fundraising advisory group.  William also set up successful broadband campaign and company to bring connectivity to rural parts of South Oxfordshire.  William is married to Fran and they have two small children.

Joan Platt

Member

Joan Platt

Member

US Board

Joan is founder and president of the Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation, which focuses on women’s and children’s human rights in the international arena. She currently serves on the International Board of Human Rights Watch as well as the executive committee of Northern California HRW. She is a member of the advisory councils of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley. In addition, she is a member of the boards of Global Fund for Children, the Fund for Global Human Rights, the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto YMCA, and past trustee of the Philanthropy Workshop West. Joan owns and manages the Platt Vineyard in Bodega, California. As well as being on the Board, she is also an alumna of The Philanthropy Workshop.

Staff

Renee Kaplan

CEO

Renee Kaplan

CEO

Renee Kaplan is former chief strategy officer and head of programs at the Skoll Foundation where she oversaw the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the Skoll World Forum, strategic alliances, and communications.

Renee has more than 20 years of business experience in corporate, entrepreneurial, and foundation sectors. Her professional background includes eight years at Microsoft in corporate and international marketing–working directly with executive leadership and spending considerable time in India, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Following Microsoft, she was founder and CEO of an e-commerce startup, FutureWorkplace, Inc., which was eventually sold. As an entrepreneur, she was active in Young Entrepreneurs Organization (Y.E.O.) and was named to the “40 Under 40” list by the Puget Sound Business Journal recognizing the region’s visionary business leaders. After selling her business, she spent six years as executive vice president of the Casey Family Programs Foundation, focusing on improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families in the U.S. Prior to her role at Skoll, she was the principal of RKaplan Consulting, and partnered with clients including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge, Trusera Corporation, the Palo Alto Unified School District, Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civic Society, and The White House Council on Community Solutions.

Renee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Edward R. Murrow School of Journalism (with an emphasis in International Studies) at Washington State University and has a passion for advising entrepreneurs and social ventures. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons and is a competitive soccer player.

Jennifer Davis

Program Director

Jennifer Davis

Program Director

Jennifer is an integral part of The Philanthropy Workshop team responsible for curating and delivering The Philanthropy Workshop program. Her professional background combines international development work with public media. She was most recently a senior officer for the Institute for Philanthropy, whose mission was to increase effective philanthropy in the United Kingdom and internationally. Previously Jennifer led development activities at American Documentary, producer of PBS’s award-winning documentary series POV. For over a decade, she has worked in communications, fundraising, and program development for organizations and institutions in diverse international contexts, including China, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, Taiwan and Turkey. She also serves on the board of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, the longest-running film event in North America. Jennifer graduated from Scripps College with a dual B.A. in political science and cultural studies and completed her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University with a focus on East Asian economic and political development.

Jo Ensor

Global Director

Jo Ensor

Global Director

Jo Ensor has over twenty years’ experience working in international development, during which time she has gained a significant understanding of livelihoods, health, education, and child protection issues. She has worked at the community level in more than 30 countries in Africa and Asia, and has been CEO of the African health charity, AMREF. She has given over $150 million in grants to NGOs and community groups and has a good understanding of grantmaking, monitoring and evaluation, NGO capacity building, and public-private partnerships. More recently, Jo has worked in the philanthropy sector, as Director of Development for CAF, where she was responsible for promoting global philanthropy in the BRICS countries, supporting the philanthropic programs of high net worth individuals and developing corporate social responsibility and social investment programs for large corporate foundations. Jo has been CEO of a venture philanthropy fund and trustee of a number of global grantmaking foundations and charities. She is a graduate of Oxford University and has a Masters in Development Economics from SOAS, University of London.

Marie-Louise Gourlay

Head of Member Engagement

Marie-Louise Gourlay

Head of Member Engagement

Marylou joined The Philanthropy Workshop in May 2015. She spent the previous four years as Head of the CFO’s office at the British Council, the UK’s educational and cultural organisation, where she focused on programmes and communications relating to global health, security, equal opportunities & diversity and internationalising education. 

Prior to that, she worked in the NGO sector for six years for a number of organisations, including living and working for grassroots NGOs in both Zambia and India for two years. Her primary focus during that time was on programmes focussed on social change within education, health and livelihoods at community level. Marylou holds a B.A in Modern Languages from The University of Bath and is based in London.  

Michelle Nelson

Program Coordinator

Michelle Nelson

Program Coordinator

Michelle joined The Philanthropy Workshop in August 2017. Her professional experience has focused on the intersection between technology and nonprofit work. She has previously worked as a designer for Classy, an online nonprofit fundraising platform, and in program support for the AjA Project, an organization that transforms youth and communities through photography-based programming. Michelle graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Information Science. During her time at Cornell, she worked as a facilitator for the Intergroup Dialogue Project, a social justice education program that helps students develop intergroup relations skills and promote equity in their communities.

Melanie Ormos

Program Manager

Melanie Ormos

Program Manager

Melanie is a program manager at The Philanthropy Workshop. Since 2010, she has worked in a variety of roles within the philanthropy sector, both in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, she served two years as a Philanthropy Advisor at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where she advised individuals and families across the western United States. She also spent time at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, helping the team expand their strategy to include San Francisco. Prior to moving west, Melanie was a part of the core team at the global health organization PSI (Population Services International) that developed Maverick Collective, a philanthropic initiative created in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Melanie holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of San Diego and lives in San Francisco.

Rachel Simon

Finance & Operations Manager

Rachel Simon

Finance & Operations Manager

Rachel joined The Philanthropy Workshop in August 2016. Previously, she served as Director of Operations for CASA for Children of Essex County where she guided all areas of non-profit operations including development and fundraising, technology, marketing, finance, data management, evaluation, and reporting. In addition to her professional experience, Rachel has dedicated much of her time to traveling and studying internationally. She brings a passion for operational excellence and a desire to influence meaningful change both locally and globally. Rachel holds a B.A. in English and Fine Arts from Amherst College, an M.A. in International Relations from Boston University in Brussels, and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Sam Underwood

Global Programmes Manager

Sam Underwood

Global Programmes Manager

Sam joined The Philanthropy Workshop in October 2018. Previously, he worked with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on programmes seeking to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. As part of this work, Sam was involved in coordinating and evaluating programmes in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Greece and Serbia. Sam has also worked with Amnesty International and the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva, and is a trustee of Elmbridge CAN, a community organisation supporting refugee integration in the community. Sam has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation and has also lived and worked in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Argentina and Colombia.

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