Dara Major  Â© all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated

CURRENT Board and advisory affiliations:

NYC LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project | Chair of the Board (and former Chair, Governance Committee).  Recipient of the VCG Governance Matters "Brooke W. Mahoney Award for Outstanding Board Leadership."

LearnPhilanthropy.org | Advisory Board


Presentations and guest lectures include:

Association of Junior Leagues International

Columbia University | School of International and Public Affairs

Duke University | Sanford School of Public Policy

Forum for Regional Associations of Grantmakers

Independent Sector

About me:

Lives:  New York City

Works: Globally

Areas of Focus:  Strategic thinking, planning and execution; talent development and organizational capacity; research; executive communications; facilitation.


I am an independent consultant to philanthropic and social sector organizations. With expertise in the dynamics of impact - including mission and strategy development, partnerships/collaborations and grantmaking effectiveness - I help clients to meaningfully connect strategy and execution.

Examples of my work include:

  • Enterprise-level strategy mapping and development
  • Cross-functional community collaboratives
  • Program and initiative design, management, assessment and learning
  • Field/sector-level talent development and thought leadership​
  • Curricula design, in both academic and practitioner settings

My practice builds on two decades of leadership in philanthropy in a variety of roles.  I have led major strategy, evaluation and organizational learning initiatives - including building capacity to embrace and leverage change - for the Surdna Foundation, where I served as director for planning and strategic initiatives.  Earlier in my career, I served as a chief aide to the president of The Rockefeller Foundation, directing the activities of the executive office and special projects, including speechwriting.

An active proponent of and participant in communities of practice that bring people together to find solutions and support innovation, I was a member of the first cohort of participants in the Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders at Stanford University's School of Business. I enjoy sharing ideas and have spoken widely about core topics in philanthropy including organizational learning, growing impact and the future of the social sector.  

Additionally, I work with a variety of nonprofits in an advisory capacity. I serve as a frequent reviewer for The Foundation Review - the peer-reviewed journal on grantmaking practice - and have served two stints as a mentor to emerging foundation leaders for Philanthropy New York, the principal professional community of philanthropists based in the New York City region. Previous board service includes: Center for Effective Philanthropy (Advisory Board) and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (Board of Directors).

All by way of saying I bring a real practitioner's lens to the work I do... and a

deep commitment to the health and vitality of the sector itself.


Philanthropy AND SOCIAL SECTOR Consulting