The following are some of the questions we have explored during the design thinking workshops I have run with foundations across the country. How can you have a deeper impact with the philanthropic resources you are managing? How do we create a less transactional relationship and more empathetic relationship with our grantees and/or collaborators? How can foundation professionals reconnect with the passion and purpose of why they entered this field in the first place? How do we find ways to identify more creative solutions to the messy problems we are trying to solve? Below is a sampling of some of those workshops.

Conrad N Hilton Fund for Sisters Board Meeting

June 7-8, 2016

Los Angeles, CA

Co-facilitated with Brie Loskota

Gates Foundation

IPASS Grantee Convening

June 28, 2016

Design Thinking Workshop for all IPASS grantees

Joined by coaches David Janka and Alaa Taha

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR)Frontiers of Social Innovation

Design Thinking for Inclusivity

May 5, 2016

Nadia Roumani, Panel designer and facilitator 

Panel Participants: 

Don Howards, President and CEO, James Irvine Foundation

Michelle Risinger, Innovation Lead, PACT

The social sector is fundamentally human-centered, committed to improving the lives of others. Yet we often lose site of the targeted beneficiaries as we aspire to make systemic changes. Join Nadia Roumani, as she shares how design thinking is being used in the social sector to identify thoughtful, user-focused interventions within complex systems. She will showcase how design thinking is being used by:

  • Foundations to engage their targeted beneficiaries to determine resource allocation;
  • Nonprofits to improve existing services and creatively identify new products and services,
  • Social sector organizations to internally build a more user-focused, iterative, and creative organizational learning culture;
  • Organization leaders to develop more impactful strategies strategies by integrating design thinking into their strategic planning process.

The session will feature practitioners, highlight case studies, and provide concrete take-aways.

The Philanthropy Workshop

March 20, 2016

San Francisco, CA


Exponent Philanthropy

Connect Conference

October 5-7, 2015

Chandler, Arizona

Minnesota Council on Foundations Annual 2015 Conference "Impact by Design"

October 29, 2015

Minneapolis, MN

Stanford PACS Philanthropy Innovation Summit

September 30, 2015

Stanford, CA

Informing Your Giving: The Nexus of Design Thinking and Strategic Philanthropy with Paul Brest, Jeff Raikes, and Nadia Roumani

A summit for individual and family philanthropists to convene and discuss their giving

Raikes Foundation

Seattle, WA

Jan-June 2015

Hewlett Foundation funded fellowship on design thinking and strategic philanthropy. Case study with the Raikes Foundation on increase the impact of high net worth donors.  

Tides Foundation

Presidio, CA

July, August, September 2014

3 x 1.5 day workshops for entire Tides staff

Jewish Funders Network

Miami, FL

March 2014

Half-day workshop - Introduction to Design Thinking for Philanthropists

The Jewish Funders Network is an international organization dedicated to maximizing the quality and impact of Jewish philanthropy. JFN members include independent philanthropists, foundation trustees and foundation professionals

The workshop began with an interactive, rapid design challenge to quickly expose participants to the design thinking process. In the second half of the workshop, we dove more deeply into two key areas that have high potential for impact in philanthropy: empathy and ideation. This component contained concrete exercises, case studies and direct applications. We ended the day with a debrief and a discussion about how attendees can begin applying design thinking methods and mindsets to their respective philanthropic areas of work.

Nathan Cummings Foundation 2030 Challenge

Garrison, NY

October 2013

Three-day workshop

Council on Foundations Community Foundations Annual Conference

San Diego, CA

September 2013

Closing Plenary Workshop- Redesigning the "Taking it home" experience


Media Impact Funders: Design Thinking Philanthropy

Stanford, CA

July 2013

The Media Impact Focus explored how philanthropy can embrace the process of designing for social change through experimentation, innovation, testing, iteration and scale. 

Tarrytown Group

New Jersey

July 2013

NEXUS Global Youth Summit

New York, NY, United Nations Headquarters

July 2013

Two-hour Workshop

Nexus is an international network of more than 1000 young philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and influencers who work to increase and improve philanthropy and social impact investing.



Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Workshop

Washington, D.C.

July 2013

Half-day workshop for Building Integrated Planning and Advising Systems and Services for US Postsecondary Institutions and PACS Workshop for Jewish and Muslim Philanthropists

Stanford, CA

May 2013

Day-long workshop

Council on Foundations Annual Conference

Chicago, IL

April 2013

Two-hour workshop

Hewlett Foundation

Mountain View, California

March 2013

Workshop for the Senior VPs of Communications for select Foundations

Florida Philanthropy Network

Orlando, FL

January 2013

Half-day workshop