Welcoming Whitney Howe

Posted on October 01, 2019

Whitney joins the Stolte Family Foundation team as our Operations & Grants Manager. She is a key new member of our team and we are excited for her role in creating systems that foster a collaborative and nimble foundation. She joins SFF with a track record of building connections between funders and grantee partners, helping all parties meet the goals of their missions. She will play a key role in communicating with and engaging grantees and community partners. Aligning with her personal values and experience, Whitney will contribute significantly to our work on equitable, systemic change. Her introduction to grantmaking was through Social Justice Fund, as a giving project participant; the experience grounded her in equitable and grantee-centric practices and has informed her professional career ever since. She prioritizes personal connection, clear communication, frequent evaluation of internal systems, and above all, an attitude of service. Most recently, she spent two years as Grants & Operations Manager at the Campion Foundation and Advocacy Fund.

Whitney also spent time in grantmaking and administrative management with the Seattle-based Loom Foundation, a family foundation giving at the intersection of climate and equity. She was born and raised in Seattle, spending most of her childhood living on a sailboat in Shilshole Bay Marina and enjoying the beauty of the Salish Sea. After university in Montreal and five years in New York, she now lives in South Seattle with her husband and daughter.

Q&A With Whitney

Can you share more about the key lessons you learned through Social Justice Fund?

Change needs to be systemic, communities know best what they need, and we need to consistently evaluate our impact as funders to ensure we are not doing further harm to the organizations and communities we are trying to serve.

How do you stay current on trends in the field? What trends and movement would you like to see private foundations make, related to the position they play in grantmaking?

I'm an active member of PEAK Grantmaking, Philanthropy Northwestand EPIP (Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy), and I attend trainings, conferences, and check in regularly with my colleagues at other local foundations. It's so vital that we share knowledge and push each other to adopt more equitable practices whenever and wherever we can. I would love to see private foundations adopt the principles of trust-based philanthropy and get really comfortable soliciting and acting on feedback.

What philanthropy term or terms do you think need to be retired and why?

I would love to remove any notion of risk from our collective vocabulary, or transform it into a positive term - as funders, giving out dollars is not risky to our safety and security, and it's often the organizations that are seen as "risky" that need our support the most. I would also love to see endowments vanish - if we really want to solve a problem, the concept of an organization remaining in perpetuity seems antithetical to that goal.

How do you spend your non-work hours?

Trying to keep up with a five year old! Being a parent is such a massive responsibility that consumes so much time and energy, but it's one that I take very seriously and enjoy. As a family we try to get out for day trips as much as possible and enjoy testing out the range on our electric car while seeing as much of the beauty of this region as we can. I'm a very creative and people-oriented person, so besides family time I'm at my happiest when I'm catching up with friends or making something with my hands (or even better if I'm crafting with friends and family)!