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Philanthropy Series: A Critical Lens on Donor Advised Funds (OPEN TO ALL)

June 29, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

We are delighted to announce Washington Women’s Foundation’s Philanthropy Learning Series. Beginning in March 2023 WaWF will host panel discussions with philanthropic leaders on various topics including how to build your giving plan, solidarity as an action, a critical lens on donor advised funds, values aligned investing, and donor perspectives on reparations in philanthropy.  

Join us on Thursday, June 29th at 12PM for the fourth Philanthropy Series session where we will learn from experts who navigate the world of Donor Advised Funds. During this panel, you will learn to move beyond how to use a DAF and towards how to use one thoughtfully, considering the critiques and advantages of utilizing a Donor Advised Fund. We hope you join us for this deep dive into this hot button philanthropic tool, with perspectives from Jen Risher of HalfMyDAF and Lem White of Possibility Labs, moderated by Stephanie Ellis-Smith of Phila Giving 

Jennifer Risher is an author, speaker, philanthropist, and investor on a mission to move money out of the taboo category and help us have much-needed conversations. Her book, “We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth” explores the impact of wealth on identity and relationships.  Jennifer was born in Seattle, Washington, grew up in Oregon, and graduated from Connecticut College. She joined Microsoft in 1991 where she worked as a recruiter and then as a product manager. As an extra-fortunate beneficiary of the dot-com boom, she believes abundance can drive change and fuel action — and that we need to be putting more philanthropic dollars to work now. In 2020, Jennifer and her husband, David, launched #HalfMyDAF to inspire more charitable giving. Over the last three years, they’ve contributed millions in matching funds, rallied donors and nonprofits, and created a community that has moved over $33 million to nonprofits. Jennifer and David live in San Francisco and Jennifer loves playing and watching tennis, spending time with her two twenty-something daughters, and is a member of Women Donors Network and Solidaire. 

Lem White has spent the past 12 years as a growth executive in startups, philanthropy, and non-profits supporting executive teams to develop high-growth strategies. He has worked across social justice philanthropy and witnessed the power that storytelling has to activate people towards progressive social change. Additionally, he has worked alongside Black and Brown organizational leaders in gaining traction and funding by getting to the heart of an organization’s mission in its strategies and storytelling. Lem co-leads Possibility Labs’ strategy and team. His focus is on understanding the needs of our partners and translating those into effective, impactful programs and platforms. Previously, Lem was Executive Director of Strategy at Movement Strategy Center, Chief Growth Officer at Refound, and Marketing and Communications Director at North Star Fund. Lem received his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. He studied Philosophy in the Master’s program at the New School and still enjoys diving into books on philosophy and his other love, theology. 

Stephanie Ellis-Smith is the CEO and Principal of Phila Giving, a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) and has nearly 30 years’ experience in advising high-impact individuals and companies. She believes strongly in being a compassionate and generous member of society and has dedicated over 20 years of her professional and personal life to the social sector. In 2020, she co-founded Giving Gap (formerly “Give Blck”), an online database of Black-founded and led organizations. Stephanie has a BA from UCLA and has served on numerous boards and commissions including the Washington State Arts Commission, appointed by Governor Gary Locke; the Seattle Arts Commission, appointed by Mayor Greg Nickels; and the Central Waterfront Committee, appointed by Mayor Ed Murray. She currently serves on the Seattle Art Museum’s Museum Development Authority Board (appointed by Mayor Jenny Durkan) and is on the board of the National Center for Family Philanthropy. She was appointed a Dean of Philanthropy in 2022 by The Purposeful Planning Institute. She has two young-adult children and lives in Seattle with her husband and a silly Doberman named Heidi.

 Register here for A Critical Lens on Donor Advised Funds!

These events are free and open to the entire WaWF community, meaning they are open to all! We will record the discussions and share with those who register for viewing. For questions, please contact programs@wawomensfdn.org. 


June 29, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Washington Women’s Foundation
View Organizer Website