About me:

Lives:  New York City

Works: Globally

Areas of Focus:  Strategic thinking, planning and execution; talent development and organizational capacity; research, writing, editing; group facilitation.




Philanthropy AND SOCIAL SECTOR Consulting


Dara Major  Â© all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated

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

Independent Sector

CURRENT Board and advisory affiliations:

LearnPhilanthropy.org | Co-Founder and Member, Advisory Board

The Foundation Review | Expert Reviewer

Philanthropy New York | Mentor, Young Leaders Program

I am an independent consultant to philanthropic and social sector organizations. With expertise in the dynamics of impact - including mission, strategy, engagement, and communication - and a deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice, I help clients to meaningfully advance from ideation to 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
  • Thought leadership​ and executive communications
  • 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.  

also work with a variety of nonprofits in an advisory capacity. I have served as an Advisory Board member for LearnPhilanthropy.org, the platform for grantmaker learning that I co-founded. I am a frequent reviewer for The Foundation Review, the peer-reviewed journal on grantmaking practice. And I have been selected to serve multiple 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); Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (Board of Directors); and the NYC Anti-Violence Project (Chair of the Board and Chair, Governance Committee), recipient of the VCG Governance Matters "Brooke W. Mahoney Award for Outstanding Board Leadership."

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.