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 & Planning

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.

Executive Search

We lead customized executive searches with giving families and their staff teams to build philanthropic capacity.  

Speaking

We partner with fellow advisors and those working in the philanthropic community to share trends in family philanthropy. We can also customize topics for advisors and their staff teams.

Establish & Educate

Educational offerings are tailored specifically to philanthropists’ and their advisors' desire to learn various topics tied to family governance and the philanthropic field. We also coach Foundation staff teams to build expertise and know-how.

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 earned her Master’s degree in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in 2023. She is a 21/64 Certified Advisor. 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.

Samantha Heerlein

Data Analyst
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Samantha is the Data Analyst for Grant Philanthropic Advisors. She joined the team in 2023. Samantha handles all of the data analytics and data management for clients. She loves to help GPA clients make informed decisions by providing a clear way to visualize how their giving aligns with their values, goals, and philanthropic strategy.

Samantha earned a bachelor's degree in Applied Math & Statistics and Economics in 2019 from Stony Brook University. Born and raised in New York, Samantha currently lives in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her free time, you can find her hiking with her dog or creating elaborate origami sculptures.

Molly Shaw

Strategic Partner
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Molly partners with GPA to support clients in designing impactful and values-based philanthropic plans, and she helps clients navigate and build relationships within the nonprofit community. She is an independent social impact and philanthropic advisor who supports foundations, corporations, and individual philanthropists.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Molly has extensive experience working inside communities as well as private and public systems and served as President and CEO of Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg from 2011-2020 where she and 125 team members worked to empower, support, and case-manage more than 30,000 students annually. Prior to joining Communities In Schools, Molly launched and led The Charlotte Teachers Institute, an initiative designed to strengthen teaching in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She also spent several years at Davidson College in various fundraising roles.

Molly has served on community boards to advocate for organizations that promote early childhood learning, literacy, youth development, college access, supportive housing, foster care and adoption, workforce development, the arts, and women’s collective giving. She has published op-eds and delivered talks locally and nationally on topics including economic mobility, educational trends and solutions, cradle to career success, social capital, trust-based philanthropy, and leadership. Molly is a graduate of Davidson College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is also a 21/64 Certified Advisor. She is married to David Webb and has three children, Max, Kate, and Cam.

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, Empower Charleston and MUSC Children’s Hospital. She's also a 21/64 Certified Advisor. 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