Hi. I’m Heather Lord.
I’ve been in the philanthropic and social enterprise sector for almost 20 years at a Rockefeller Foundation new media startup, the Whitney family’s foundation forwarding diplomacy and social justice, various boards for international human rights, arts, NextGen youth social entrepreneurship initiatives and the Global Philanthropy Committee of the Council on Foundations. For seven years I was also the main research geek for hire for Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve where as a trendspotter I “brailled the culture” for broad tectonic shifts and patterns in global consumer psychology.
I’m currently consulting to individuals and foundations on their social impact strategies through V&H Social Impact; researching shifting trends and comparative historical traditions of philanthropy in US and other countries; and launching a new international initiative on human resilience and social enterprise in chronically violent cities.
I was educated at St. Timothy’s School, the University of Chicago, Reed College and I finished my Master of Public Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. While in graduate school I took a critical look at the intersections between domestic and international philanthropy, policy, national security and development issues.
I’m interested in:
1) how individuals, families and communities mobilize resources to create social change
2) cross cultural philanthropy and the potential and limitations of culturally derived philanthropic paradigms and “thought cultures.”
Philanthropy matters because it is the shifting civic terrain where ideas about civil society and the relationship between the individual, community, state and globe are played out.
There’s the world we’ve been given and the world we want to see; I work with people to step into that space and move things forward.
I see philanthropy as a human design problem, designed to solve human problems. I believe we need to expand the design vocabulary of philanthropy by understanding non-western philanthropic models — hybrid models, transitional philanthropy models, and others. New forms and frameworks of regionally-sourced “indigenous” private philanthropy are emerging in China, India, the Middle East and Africa. In the future, western-style philanthropy may not be the only game going. There may be multiple philanthropic centers of gravity as robust, globally engaged sectors develop in new regions. Hopefully these new developments will serve to challenge and improve the experience of philanthropy for everyone involved.
Ultimately my interest is in the choices we can all make to move resources ways to improve the human condition — whether that is financial, social, political and intellectual capital moved via institutional philanthropy, impact investing, volunteerism, diaspora giving, etc.
I’ll be using this forum to share some thoughts and questions about how charitable ideas and models are moving and evolving across cultures.
Thanks for stopping by.
Email: Miss Lord [at] gmail.com
Feel free to ask me about any of my boards:
HumanityInAction: international human rights programs
Terreform(ONE): building future worlds through socio-ecological design at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s NewLab
RNR Foundation: a family foundation
In/PACT: apps and tech solutions for putting purpose at the heart of every purchase and event