Who We Are

Mary Phillips, Senior Advisor

Mary Phillips is a senior advisor with deep experience in philanthropy. She has worked with foundation trustees, families, and individual donors for forty years, and is recognized in the field for her insight and focus on critical issues, and her deft facilitation of effective group meetings.

Mary leads GMA’s consulting practice and specializes in program design and assessment, governance structure, trustee orientation, planning for transitions, retreat planning and facilitation, foundation start-up services, and executive support.

Mary co-founded GMA in 1982 and served as president and CEO from 2007 to 2023. She is a founding member and past chair of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, a learning community for consultants dedicated to increasing and strengthening philanthropy, and she is a past chair of Philanthropy Massachusetts, a New England-wide, regional association. Mary is frequently asked to speak and facilitate workshops for Exponent Philanthropy, the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP), and other local and national organizations.

NCFP recently invited Mary to lead the workshop, Succession Planning and Family Transitions, and included her ideas in their Passages Issue Brief, Death, Legacy, and Leadership Transition in Family Philanthropy and in their new guide, Meetings Matter.  Mary has led a session on ethics at NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute, and shared her approach in an article, Prepare for Ethical Dilemmas on Family Boards, on their blog.

Mary is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy,®  holds a Master of Science in Management from Regis College, and is a graduate of Emerson College with a B.S. in Business and Organizational Communication. Mary is most proud of being a mother of one, grandmother of two, and aunt of 21. Her experience as a member of a very large family is the underpinning of her interest in healthy family dynamics.