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Public Speaking

Both principals of Wise Philanthropy™ are recognized and highly accomplished public presenters. Both have spoken in many places throughout the United States and in numerous other countries.

Richard Marker, a professional member of the National Speakers Association/Global Speakers Federation has spoken in 39 countries on 5 continents, and in 40 of the United States. A popular, high energy, and much in demand presenter, he is known for his ability to address complex and sometimes controversial issues in an engaging and accessible style. In a written review at one national philanthropy conference, an audience member shared “I am not sure I agree with everything he says, but I could listen to him all day long.”

Marker’s experience as a speaker in so many diverse venues and to so many different kinds of audiences has given him sensitivity to vital differences of language, culture, and audience needs. He knows how to interact with the participants even in large audiences, and he is able to use a variety of presentation methods to best involve smaller settings. And of particular relevance to those outside the United States, Marker has a great deal of competence in working with translators.

Mirele Goldsmith is also a well-known and very enthusiastic speaker. While accomplished as a “front of the room” lecturer, her preference is settings which allow as much interactivity and audience engagement as possible. Reviews of her presentations always comment on her distinct ability to help workshop and seminar members come away with new understandings and “take-aways.”


These are just samples of recently requested presentations. Please inquire for more specifics or for customization.

  • Toward Guilt-free Giving

    For Funders

    Is there a “right” ways to give your money? Philanthropy isn’t what it used to be. The days when people gave because they felt a sense of obligation or community responsibility are long gone. There are demands for outcomes, strategies, metrics, impact, This presentation helps bring clarity to the increasing din of those who tell you that there is a right to give your money – and demystify the process of getting to good grantmaking.

  • The Marker Method of Strategic Philanthropy
    How to make giving satisfying for you and make a difference to the grantee

    For philanthropists, foundation staff, philanthropic families

    This interactive workshop provides an introduction to the grantmaking process – focusing on your needs as a donor and the decision-making process. You will learn how to clarify your grantmaking style, set priorities for your giving, clarify your philanthropic mission, and create guidelines so that both the grantmaker and the grantee find it a gratifying experience.

  • Hubris or Humility: Four Lessons in Philanthropy

    For grantmakers and/or grantseekers

    Grantmakers have the money and the power; grantseekers need the money and envy the power. Or so it seems… This seminar examines the relationship between grantmakers and grantseekers and provides practical and philosophical approaches which make this loaded process more satisfying to both sides.

  • The Secret Code: What every fundraiser should know about the mind of the funder

    For development staff or lay leadership who wish to solicit the philanthropic community

    Generational and attitudinal changes in American society have only compounded the challenge to fundraisers. This program, which can be presented seminar or workshop style, by someone who has worked on both sides of the table, will interpret and demystify the seemingly inscrutable funder. It examines how decisions are made, how to [and how not to] approach funders, and explores the benefits and disadvantages of foundation grants.

  • Maximizing Philanthropic Values: How to bring added value to your clients

    For asset managers, trust and estate professionals

    You maximize value to your clients; as a philanthropic advisor, I maximize values. This seminar presentation examines how the strategy of philanthropic planning builds on the legal and financial planning you provide. It explores common pitfalls which may not emerge through the typical planning process and demonstrates how an awareness of a philanthropic strategic planning approach and family culture may help bring long term satisfaction and fulfillment of a client’s aspirations.

  • How to be a philanthropist on $5 a week or “Philanthropy for the rest of us”

    For general audiences

    Whether you give $5 or $50 million, you can, and should, think like a philanthropist. Learn how your charitable giving can make a difference, reflect your values, and underscore your priorities. This seminar teaches techniques and approaches which will make you a wiser and more strategic donor whatever your age or income level.

  • Partnerships and Collaboration: Should you go it alone?

    For established funders and foundations

    The Ford Foundation does it; the Gates Foundation does it; Goldman Sachs does it; your community foundation probably does it as well. Does that mean you should? Funding partnerships and collaborations are much the rage these days. They promise leverage, prestige, and greater focus on a deserving cause. However, not every funder or foundation is suited to such a funding arrangement. This workshop will help you determine whether it is right for you and provide tools on how to decide.

  • The Looming Confrontation: Private Philanthropy vs. Public Policy — Who should pay…for what? Why every funder should advocate for tax reform

    For funders

    The “Great Recession”, a pervasive aversion to taxation, and the growing sophistication of a new generation of funders sets the stage for a challenge to our understanding of the role of private philanthropy. Should private philanthropy do what government is unable or unwilling to do, or should it continue its distinctive role as society’s risk capital? The stakes couldn’t be higher!

  • Legacy or Autonomy – Helping families achieve philanthropic success across generations

    For family funders

    Generational and attitudinal changes in American society have only compounded the challenge to families. Is it a question of values or style? When should the successor generations be entrusted? Should younger generations be expected to honor the priorities of their parents and grandparents? This seminar will provide insights and effective techniques to help families make more gratifying decisions with a common sense of purpose and legacy.

  • Applied Philanthro-Ethics

    For funders

    This popular interactive workshop is built around a series of case-vignettes to help grantmakers explore the elusive space between law, ethics, and best practices. Even with the best of intentions, all too often funders cross the power boundaries in their relations with their grantees, and with their fellow trustees. Explore how appropriate policies and self-awareness can guarantee that you meet the highest standards and create relationships that allow the most effective practice both among trustees and with your grantees.

  • Unpacking “Impact”, “Innovation”, and “Disruption”

    For philanthropists, trustees, foundation professionals

    No words are hotter in the philanthropy world than impact, innovation, and disruption. It can mean everything from hybrid corporate models, measurable outcomes, activist investment approaches, public policy advocacy, social entrepreneurship, and more. Are these words simply the latest jargon, or do they represent real change in the way philanthropy works? This program, which can be offered as an interactive case study or as a keynote will add clarity to these emerging attempts at transformative philanthropy.