Julia Kittross has over 30 years of experience in philanthropy as a teacher, advisor, organizer, program designer, grantmaker, CEO and entrepreneur. She is currently is the co-founder of Philanthropy Sherpas, a consultancy working with grantmakers with a specialty in family philanthropy. Prior to this, she built from the ground up the Laird Norton Family Foundation, a 7th generation, 400 family member foundation where 65 family volunteers serve on four grantmaking committees in the areas of climate change, arts in K-12 education, watershed protection and clean water and sanitation in developing countries, plus a youth fund for 14-21 year olds.
Julia was the founding partner of The Giving Practice and worked in this philanthropic firm for six years. She served as Philanthropy Northwest’s first CEO from 1990 – 2002 and solidified Philanthropy Northwest’s leadership role in philanthropy in the region and within the Regional Association of Grantmakers movement nationwide.
Julia has worked with hundreds of trustees, donors and staff of private foundations, individual philanthropists, public and community foundations and corporate grantmakers. Her particular interest is in assisting philanthropists and foundation staff to make their philanthropy as rewarding, strategic and efficient as possible. Experience includes strategic planning, retreat design and facilitation, board governance issues, family communication, program development and design, grantmaking oversight, interim executive directorship, executive staff searches, benchmarking, research, training and coaching. She has experience with both start-ups and organizational management over time.
Before Philanthropy Northwest, she was interim executive director of the Municipal League of Seattle/King County. Julia was a principal architect of the Northwest Giving Project, founding president of the Washington Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and a founding Board member of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. She is a member of the Visiting Committee at Seattle University’s Executive Masters in Not-for-Profit Leadership program. She earned a BA from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.