Building a Leadership Gift Culture at Your Nonprofit Organization (Chris McLeod) 

August 2020

How do you assure your nonprofit is in a position to receive Leadership Gifts?  Many nonprofit organizations dream of that type transformational donor investment, but fail to put themselves in a good position to receive one.  Chris McLeod knows all about that challenge, and helped co-found the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership - and its signature program called Leadership Gift School to help organizations better articulate their case for leadership giving.  Chris and I had a great conversation about LGS on episode #54 of the Path Podcast, and also discussed the work she's done over her 25-year nonprofit career in planned giving and in other fundraising settings.  Chris was also willing to open up about her battle with cancer and the career choices she's made as a result of personal and professional challenges. 

"It is so gratifying to watch nonprofit leaders speak to their key supporters in a meaningful way instead of chasing everyone."


Chris is the Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Duke University and her professional experience is wide-ranging prior to OLLI. It includes working as a Congressional Affairs Officer for the Office of Congressional Affairs with the Federal Emergency Management Agency; as Director of Corporate and Foundation Development for the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill; as Director of Fund Development and Planned Giving for the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation; as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for UNC-Charlotte; as Executive Director for The Greater Charlotte Cultural Trust of the Foundation For The Carolinas; and as founder and president of Giving Matters, Inc. (a consulting firm focused upon providing philanthropic counsel). In 2008, Chris was part of a group of philanthropy leaders in Charlotte who were inspired to develop a program to help educate nonprofit leaders about how to cultivate individuals for major gifts; this effort resulted in the creation of the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership and its inaugural program, the Leadership Gift School. Chris earned her bachelor's degree in political science with honors from Wheaton College and a J.D. from American University. Following her graduation from American, she was admitted to the Maryland Bar. She has also completed the Bridges Program for Academic Leadership (Chapel Hill) and the Innovation Institute of the Transformational Leadership Program (McColl Center for Visual Arts).