Our Team

Holli Rivera

President and Founder

Years working in philanthropy or a related field: 20+
Years with IP: 8

What I bring to IP: Having worked in business consulting, nonprofit leadership, and grass-roots community and ministry, I approach my work with both pragmatism and strategic vision. I appreciate the legal, tax, and grantmaking responsibilities of private foundations as well as the creativity that can be brought to bear on community impact. I am a facilitator, a convener, a mediator, a gentle disturbance generator, a bridge builder, and a critical friend. 

Prior to founding Intentional Philanthropy, I served as Managing Director at Arabella Advisors, leading a client service team providing strategic planning, foundation management, family engagement and "beyond dollars" grantmaking strategies to individual donors and family foundations. From 2001 to 2008, I served on the senior leadership team of Exponent Philanthropy (then the Association of Small Foundations), facilitating hundreds of foundation workshops, overseeing the completion of ASF’s Trustee Leadership Seminar and launching the association’s first Next Generation Seminar for multi-generational family foundations. I hold a B.A. with honors from the College of William & Mary, completed graduate work in International Economics at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and studied Family Systems Theory at the Bowen Center for the Family at Georgetown University.

What I love most about my work: I love my role as interpreter, translating the concerns of the community and nonprofits to donors and the goals and vision of donors to the organizations they are funding. I recognize that individuals are often working towards the same goals but that they bring different perspectives, values and experiences to their work. There is a need to deeply listen to one another and to seek understanding in order to carve out a partnership that will last. I also love people and enjoy seeing them thrive. I have a deep concern for the relational success of the foundation directors with one another, across generations and in their chosen community.

What I am most excited about learning right now: Honestly, it’s about parenting, specifically about Mistaken Goal Behavior and interpersonal dynamics. I am spending time thinking about what “triggers” certain reactions and how we can have more productive conversations by choosing to manage our triggers.

What I do in a typical week: I meet with community and nonprofit leaders to understand the landscape and how funding can move an issue, partnership, or initiative forward; I develop tools and conversations for boards to make effective decisions on everything from strategy to succession; and I coach next-generation family members on how to link their talents and values to the work of their foundation and to find their voice at the table. I also spend time with IP team members brainstorming new ideas for both their professional development and our clients’ continued learning.

What I do when I’m not working: I walk, hike, garden, and entertain as much as possible outside. During the winter, I travel to places where I can do the same.

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