May 25, 2018
Philanthropy Connection Names Susan Benford as President

Susan Benford
October 7, 2016 — The Philanthropy Connection, a Cambridge-based charitable fund that seeks to improve the quality of life for low-resource individuals and families living in Massachusetts, earlier this week announced that Susan Benford, who has been serving as board president, has been appointed as the organization's president.

Benford succeeds Marla Felcher, who co-founded The Philanthropy Connection (TPC) and served as its president since the organization’s inception in 2012.

Felcher, who continues to serve as board chair, said, “Susan distinguished herself as a leader the moment she joined TPC in 2013. From the beginning, she got involved in every aspect of TPC’s work, from managing our education series, The Philanthropy Dialogues, to serving as a grant team captain, a role that required her to lead teams of TPC members through our grant-making process; and co-chairing our 2015 Young Philanthropist Conference. These experiences provided her with the hard skills required to run operations, as well as the soft skills required to perpetuate our welcoming, inter-generational culture.”

Benford has extensive experience serving on nonprofit boards, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Boston, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

In addition, she has served on the foundation board of the Massachusetts College of Art, and in leadership roles at Shady Hill School, BB&N, and Cambridge School of Weston.

She also has worked in the private sector, in finance for Intel, and in sales for Corporate Software. Trained as a painter, she is founder and president of Masterpiece Cards, a publisher of art history flashcards.

“Benford’s experience is what TPC needs at this point in our growth,” Felcher said. “She hit the ground running. We’re proud to be following her lead.”

Benford earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Colorado College and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and marketing from The University of Texas at Austin.

TPC launched in 2013 with 45 members, aiming to grow to 100 members. Today it has 255 members, each of whom give $1,125 per year, although women up to age 35 are asked to give $550.

At the end of each year, $1,000 or $500 of each member’s donation is given directly as pooled grants to Greater Boston nonprofits. Last June, TPC awarded $253,000 to 10 organizations working to change the lives of low resource individuals in Greater Boston, with each receiving $20,000 or $30,000 to support a specified program or to fund operations

TPC is a member of the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network, a national network of 48 women’s collective giving groups.

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