10. Reimagining Fundraising & Leadership in Central & Eastern Europe and Everywhere



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About this episode

Today on The Intentional Fundraiser podcast we are HONORED to welcome Kay Sprinkel Grace. Kay is a renowned consultant to nonprofits and NGOs around the world through her company Transforming Philanthropy.  Based in San Francisco, she trains and facilitates retreats with boards, executive teams and emerging leaders in the areas of fundraising and leadership across the U.S. and around the globe. And when I say, around the globe, I’m not exaggerating. Take a listen.


Our guest

Kay Sprinkel Grace, Founder, Transforming Philanthropy, LLC.


"When you go in to make an ask, it's not about you. Hank Rosso used to say, 'When you walk in, take yourself off and let the cause walk in.' And then that overcomes the fear of rejection, which is what people fear the most."  

- Kay Sprinkel Grace, Founder, Transforming Philanthropy, LLC


A quick peek

Tammy Zonker (00:03:20):
Oh, well, it's definitely our pleasure. I have to tell you a story, Kay. I don't think I've ever told you this story. So I was in Amsterdam a few years ago, speaking on a panel with IFC. And there was a private reception where I was talking with our mutual friend, Daryl Upsall. And for those of you who may not know Daryl, he leads Daryl Upsall International, a nonprofit consulting and executive recruitment firm based in Madrid. So, Kay, Daryl asked me, he said, "Tammy, where are you taking your career? What do you want to accomplish?" And I didn't even have to think about it. I immediately said, "I want to be Kay Sprinkel Grace when I grow up.

Kay Sprinkel Grace (00:04:05):
Did you? And what did Daryl say?

Tammy Zonker (00:04:05):
Well, that's the funny thing. He let out the biggest laugh and he had this ear-to-ear grin and he said, "Don't we all?"

Kay Sprinkel Grace (00:13:28):
The way it starts is somewhat Socratic in that when you get your group together, then you say, "And what is your question?" I was asked by the woman who runs the Ukrainian fundraising institute, Svitlana. And this young woman from Moldova, which of course is right now a very threatened country, from Moldova said, "Our question is, how do we lead when we have no role models? And when those who tried to lead in our countries were punished?"

Tammy Zonker (00:17:08):
So, when obviously Russia invaded Ukraine, I immediately thought of you, Kay. Because I know of your work in Central and Eastern Europe. And it does include the countries you mentioned, like Ukraine and Poland and Czech Republic and Belarus is in that region, which of course seems very well aligned with President Putin.

Kay Sprinkel Grace (00:17:43):
Yes. And I have been in touch with them, because of course my heart is breaking, as all of our hearts are breaking. So I'll just give you a few examples of how the leadership that we have encourage. And our program is not a leadership training program, it's a leadership development program.

Tammy Zonker (00:33:49):
Indeed. You spoke about leadership traits of courage, of taking initiative, of really feeling confident in your leadership. And I don't think we can in this modern time think about leadership without thinking about President Zelenskyy.

Kay Sprinkel Grace (00:34:32):
There's a task of leaders, and a lot of them, I mean, most of them come from John Gardner and he certainly implements all of those, which is to envision goals and all of that. But there's another task of leaders that actually comes from lesser known people. Some people I worked with at the university of Santa Clara, and theirs is, encourage the heart. And I love that because Zelenskyy to me is just like the epitome of courage. But what he's doing is he is encouraging the heart of Ukrainians. And saying, "This is our country and please stay and defend it."


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Links mentioned in this episode

Leaders of Tomorrow Eastern & Central Europe

Building a New Loom - Reimagining Fundraising

Resource Alliance IFC Amsterdam

CEE Fundraising Conference October 2022


Books mentioned in this episode 

The Renewal Factor by Robert Waterman


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