fa·cil·i·tate (verb) To make an action or process easier.
Since 2007, I have been the principal consultant at M Smith Consulting. I work with grantmaking foundations and their grantees to facilitate strategic thinking, cultivate multi-stakeholder collaborations, and develop organizational readiness to work for racial and gender justice.
Before working as a consultant, I worked in the social sector creating innovative, data-informed public AIDS funding partnerships; organizing for cultural change among LGBTQ people of color in the conservative Midwest; and developing a community organizing model to increase food security in rural New England.
While doing this work, I saw that many groups found it hard to deliver results for the people who needed them most. Some of these challenges arose from the mistaken belief that paying attention to concrete outcomes is somehow inconsistent with creating inclusive, relationship-building processes. My consulting practice brings a balanced approach: I create inclusive, well-planned ways of working together that also produce political wins and measureable outcomes.
While skillfully facilitating both large and small groups, I draw on a deep bank of executive and technical skills to make planning, strategy, partnerships and collaborations move forward with ease. I enjoy working with networks, contingent collaborations, co-directorships and other nontraditional ways of sharing institutional power. My work style always engages race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity as sources of generative power.
In addition to my consulting, I direct the narrative research-based Black/Land Project, and teach in the Leadership for Sustainability program of the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of the Environment. A graduate of Smith College, I hold an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Administration from New York University. I am a member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, and groups that have worked with me include:
AIDS United Foundation
The Boston Foundation
The Commonwealth Fund
The Connecticut Health Foundation
Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund
The Ford Foundation
Global Trans Initiative
Greater New Orleans Foundation
LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
Louisiana Department of Public Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Michigan Council on Foundations
Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund at Borealis Philanthropy
Ruth Mott Foundation
The Surdna Foundation
Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
I often work with co-conspirators whose expertise makes it easy for your group to do excellent work.