Connect with
Purpose

Together, anything is possible

Grant Philanthropic Advisors is an independent, Charleston-based firm helping you to focus and maximize your philanthropy—in turn, strengthening the fabric of our communities.

Intro

Philanthropy at its best creates meaning, joy and legacy. Grant Philanthropic Advisors was founded in 2019 to help donors move from responsive patterns of giving by assisting clients to identify values and become more strategic in their philanthropy. Our goal is to help donors to become more effective as change-makers.

Finding consensus & understanding.

To foster the distinctly personal, human endeavor of philanthropy, Grant Philanthropic Advisors’ founder Kaky Grant is dedicated to assisting philanthropists to coalesce around values and giving priorities.

What matters to you? Let’s start there.

Just as you work to create success in other areas of your life, it makes sense to pursue philanthropy with planning and purpose. The question is, how best to give and to benefit the local, regional or global-reach causes and organizations that you admire—or have yet to discover.

How do you help to make the world a better, more resilient place? Grant Philanthropic Advisors is here to help you distill your values, define the mission of your giving, and take action.

We help individuals, families, family offices & foundations.

Discover

Discover and define personal and family values and priorities.

Strategize

Incorporate plans and strategy for more effective giving.

Develop

Develop a portfolio of philanthropy that is targeted and meaningful.

Evaluate

Evaluate opportunities and options to support nonprofit groups, causes and institutions.

We're different,
with purpose.

Grant Philanthropic Advisors offers concierge-style services for our clients. In addition to our special knowledge and expertise in the Carolinas, we are pleased to work in other geographic regions, too–guided by your dreams and goals.

Our range of services is flexible to meet you where you are with your philanthropy. We don’t manage donor assets, or add another layer of maintenance fees. Instead, we work with clients as an unbiased advisor, billing only when services are provided. Some clients may wish to meet monthly, quarterly, or a few times a year. It’s up to you.

Our services are customizable and may include:

On an as-needed-basis, Grant Philanthropic Advisors can help to evaluate grant proposals and donation requests, gather additional information on causes you care about, and coordinate with your other partners and professional advisors.

Learn More at News & Resources
Facilitation

Facilitating family discussions on philanthropy (to affirm values and strategy). Build understanding and awareness of values alignment and how to plan an actionable strategy behind these values. Skilled facilitation across multiple generations in a family will build consensus, bring clarity, and lead to action.

Research

Researching the philanthropic opportunities in a specific community or region, or an area of interest (ecology, health sciences, the arts, affordable housing, etc.)

Connect

Connecting clients to giving and volunteer opportunities that align with closely held values. Making introductions to like minded philanthropists and giving circles. Connecting clients with trends and education on the issues that matter most to them.

Evaluation

Information gathering with each individual involved in a family’s philanthropy to gain insights into their desire for impact. Provide an independent analysis of previous philanthropy and determine how that influences future giving. Building an understanding of effective philanthropy and how to be a supportive philanthropic partner.

Establish & Educate

Educational offerings are tailored specifically to philanthropists’ desire to learn. We can also customize topics for advisors and their staff teams.

Topics

About Kaky

Principal, Grant Philanthropic Advisors

It's the kind of life lesson that stays with you.

Kaky McGinness Grant’s grandmother in Tennessee was an avid volunteer into her 80s. “Make us ever mindful of the needs of others,” she’d say, and take young Kaky with her on some of her weekly visits to volunteer at a local nursing home.

After earning a degree in art history, Kaky began to find her way to her own passions for volunteering, as well as start to shape a career working with nonprofit organizations and donors. She began by fundraising for the Smithsonian National Zoo and The Field School, both in Washington, DC. For 15 years, she worked as a consultant for CapDev, a boutique consulting firm in North Carolina that helps nonprofit organizations develop capital campaign and major gift strategies.

In 2010, she moved to Charleston with her husband, Carter Grant, a Charlestonian whose law practice specializes in tax and estate planning.

Kaky created Grant Philanthropic Advisors in 2019 to provide a new option for individuals, families, family offices and foundations looking to cultivate deeper meaning and impact with their giving.

In Charleston, Kaky has served as the board president of the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry and the local alumni chapter for Davidson College. She is currently a Trustee of Charleston Day School and a Partner with Social Venture Partners of  Charleston. Kaky is a 21/64 Certified Advisor and a candidate for a Master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. And she finds new purpose in raising the Grant’s three young children to involve them in volunteering and giving projects.

“I want to inspire them,” Kaky says, “Just as my grandmother did for me.”

Meet the Team

Helen Boatwright

Project Manager
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Helen is the Project Manager for Grant Philanthropic Advisors. She's been with the firm since 2020. Helen coordinates all client needs and team assignments to ensure client expectations are met. She keeps our GPA team in line and on their toes! Helen is motivated by our work as she is passionate about our community's needs and values the nonprofit sector's ability to think outside the box and create solutions that empower people.

Helen earned a bachelor's degree in 2007 from the College of Charleston. Her career has included a variety of roles and industries. She was a data analyst with Benefitfocus, a publicly traded company, for 2 years. Prior to her time at Benefitfocus, Helen honed her project coordination skills at Bishop Gadsden, a continuing care retirement community in Charleston, serving in the role of Resident Services Coordinator. She currently splits her time between GPA and Aging Life Care Charleston.

A native South Carolinian, Helen hails from Pawleys Island. In her free time, you can find Helen at the beach with a good book or enjoying time boating and sharks' teeth hunting with her husband and daughter.

Elisa von Marschall

Data Analyst
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As data consultant to Grant Philanthropic Advisors, Elisa works with clients to assess their own philanthropic impact and trends, analyzing their historic giving data and identifying patterns in their grant-making. All of which informs nuanced discussions around strategy and goal setting for future giving. This is where science meets art in serving our clients’ desire for effective philanthropy.

Elisa earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a master’s degree in Statistics before beginning her career as a data scientist at IBM, building machine learning models in the retail, aviation, and weather industries. After five years at IBM, she decided to pursue her own venture, Explore Philanthropy, a platform and dashboard for philanthropists to find, compare, and analyze organizations that best fulfill their giving mission. She believes that change-makers can increase their giving impact when they have the best information available to them.

Elisa lives in Charleston, where she serves on the board of the Charleston Library Society and volunteers with and gives to several local non-profit organizations. A self-proclaimed data-nerd, if you can’t find her behind a Python script, she’s probably chasing after her two (soon to be four!) young children.

Jessica Williford

Senior Advisor
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Jessica serves as a Senior Advisor on the GPA team. She works directly with clients to help them crystallize what is most important to them and create a philanthropic strategic plan that honors their "why". Her years of experience as a funder helps clients to understand the hallmarks of an effective nonprofit while also introducing clients to new funding opportunities.

Jessica moved to Charleston in 2010 and invested in the community from the start. Most recently, serving as the Director of Boeing Global Engagement, she led external relations across 11 states overseeing $100M of charitable investments over her ten-year career with Boeing in South Carolina.

Jessica’s passion for supporting the community began as a hospital volunteer at the Western Maryland Health System where she grew up in Cumberland. She experienced advocacy work as an intern at the State House in Annapolis and then graduated from the University of Maryland in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Upon earning her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2009, Jessica moved to Charleston to be closer to family.

Jessica currently serves on the boards of Camp Happy Days, Social Venture Partners Charleston, MUSC Children’s Hospital and Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative. On the weekends, Jessica is typically at the beach with her husband Grier and their two boys Matthew and Bo.

Working With A Purpose: Our Core Values

Listening with compassion

We listen to families’ and individuals’ dreams for their philanthropy and the legacy they hope to create in the world. Our work drives to the essence of who our clients are and we listen with compassion. No two clients are the same; therefore our approach to serving each client is individualistic.

Strive for effectiveness

We design and help implement plans for our clients to reach their greatest effectiveness as philanthropists. We value a data driven approach; we encourage learning about community needs and issue area topics; and we urge clients to listen to community leaders on the front lines. All yield an effective decision making process.

Guided by Integrity

We strive to do the right thing by our clients and our communities every time, even when no one is watching. We recognize that hiring a philanthropic advisor requires trust. We will honor your philanthropic mission and intent through our work.

Work in Collaboration

We work collaboratively with our clients and community partners to design the philanthropic and community impact our clients hope to achieve.

Give, Better

We believe that the world is at its best with thoughtful philanthropy. We look forward to working with you to make the most of your ideas and passions dreams for your giving.

Newsletter -

Interested to learn more? Please join our mailing list for regular updates about opportunities and happenings in philanthropy, and special events for friends of Grant Philanthropic Advisors.

Contact -

P.O. Box 20122
Charleston, SC 29413