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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 topics are Richard Marker’s current list of recently offered presentations. Most can be offered as keynotes or workshops, and can be customized as needed.

A. Setting Your Funding Strategy: The Marker Method
Mission? Vision? No. This approach begins with understanding your “Culture” as the key to effective and efficient grantmaking. Developed by Richard Marker in 2002 and now widely utilized by advisory practitioners, the method examines the generic “elephants in the room” around every decision-making table, how to understand them, and how to build a gratifying and successful funder strategy around them.

B. Private Philanthropy vs Public Funding: Who Should Pay for What?
The Great Recession put the topic on the table. The current administration has made it a “main course.” The USA has always had a different approach to who should pay for what than most of the rest of the world but it has now become a central policy issues. This presentation looks at trends, models, and the capacities of the various sectors to support all citizens, especially those in need, our cultural institutions, and our infrastructure. The question includes but goes beyond “charity deductibility” and speaks to the very essence of what kind of society we wish to endorse.

C. Has “Impact” Changed Philanthropy?
No word is hotter in the philanthropy world than “impact.” It can mean everything from hybrid corporate models, measureable outcomes, activist investment approaches, public policy advocacy, social entrepreneurship, and more. After almost a decade, we are beginning to see which approaches are working, and which ones are not. This program, which can be offered as an interactive case study workshop or as a keynote will add clarity to these emerging attempts to transform philanthropy.

D. Partnerships and Collaborations: Should You Go It Alone or Together?
Over the last decade, our check-list on successful collaborations has been our most requested “how-to” document. Collaborations are “in”. Or so it seems. Does that mean you should? Funding partnerships and collaborations promise financial 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 do it right.

E. Philanthro-Ethics
This popular interactive workshop is built around a series of case-scenarios to help grantmakers and advisors 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. One version of this workshop is specifically for professional advisors.

Of General Interest

F. Toward Guilt Free Giving:
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 noblesse oblige or community responsibility are long gone. There are demands for outcomes, strategies, metrics, impact… and in the current political climate, this question has never been more pressing. This presentation helps bring clarity to the increasing din of those who tell you that there is a right to give your money – and demystifies the process of getting to good grantmaking

G. Hubris or Humility: Four Lessons in Philanthropy
Funders 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 that make this loaded process more satisfying to both sides

H. Legacy or Autonomy – Helping families achieve philanthropic success across generations
Generational and attitudinal changes have only compounded the challenge to families. Is it a question of values or style? When should 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 while honoring appropriate diversity.

I. How to be a Philanthropist on $5 a week/or/Philanthropy for the rest of us
Whether you give $5 or $50million, you can think like a seasoned 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 how deep your pockets.

J. Private Philanthropy and Public Policy: A History of Unintended Consequences
It isn’t true that Americans are more generous than others; it is true that America has a system of voluntarism and philanthropic organizations unlike any other country. Why? This presentation looks at major transformative events in American economic and social history and shows how and why so many of the institutions and much philanthropic behavior emerged as unintended consequences of public policy decisions– with far reaching and lasting impact. An important backdrop to 21st Century giving trends.

Of Specialized Interest

For Wealth Advisors, Trust and Estate Professionals

K. Maximizing Philanthropic Values – How to bring added value to your clients
You maximize value to your clients; as a philanthropy advisor, I maximize values. This seminar presentation examines how the strategy of philanthropic planning builds on the legal and financial planning you provide but doesn’t end there. It explores common pitfalls which often emerge through the typical wealth planning process and demonstrates how an awareness of a philanthropy planning strategy approach and family culture may help bring long term satisfaction and fulfillment of a client’s aspirations.

For Development Staff or Boards of Public Charities

L. The Secret Code: What every fundraiser should know about the mind of the funder
Generational and attitudinal changes in American society have only compounded the challenge to fundraisers. This program, 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 behind the scenes mystery of foundation grantmaking.