Vario Philanthropy - Give Well
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We Believe

“Giving Well” means more than just giving money or time

Giving well is the pursuit of exceptional difference-making that changes both us and our world for the better. It should bring to bear all we are and all we have — our skill, perspective, passion, and means — as we make a meaningful and measurable difference for the causes that matter to us.

Giving Well

means giving that is…

Purposefully Aligned

Giving should flow from your core values, aligning your skills, your time and your means for maximum positive impact. It should account for your current concerns as well as future generations, clearly defining the mark you intend to make both in life and in legacy.

Undeniably Effective

The investment of your energy, skill, or wealth can and should leave a real impact. When it’s grounded by an understanding of community need, rooted in research, guided by savvy strategy, and invested with wisdom, you can make a measurable difference and be truly confident you’re making change and not just moving money.

Wildly Fulfilling

Really, we mean it. We’ve seen time and again how giving well can bring deep joy and a true sense of fulfillment. It leaves you with a sense of stewardship from knowing that your prosperity is a servant to your purpose.

Mutually Transformative

When we give well, it changes us as it changes the causes that matter to us. We find that we’ve become better people as we’ve made the world a better place.

We Serve

Individuals, families, and foundations seeking to give well

From articulating the difference you want to make in the world, through developing the strategies that bring your vision to life, to managing giving and celebrating results, we mobilize your giving to be as effective and fulfilling as possible.

We also position your family business to thrive in a successful and harmonious environment across multiple generations.

Whether you’re just getting started, taking a good look at the way things have always been and aiming higher, or looking for some targeted support — we’d love to have a conversation.

Our ideal client often looks like:

  • Families or Individuals looking to develop a charitable giving strategy, outline their legacy or include future generations in giving, and increase confidence that their giving is making a difference.
  • Foundations getting established and wanting to do it right from the start, revising their giving strategies, or asking the question, “Is our giving making a difference?”
  • Corporate funders looking to engage employees, connect more deeply with current or prospective customers/clients, and ensure that their giving is done well to achieve multi-pronged impact for their brand, their people, and their community.
  • Family businesses who want to plan for long-term success by ensuring their family business is positioned to provide healthy returns for shareholders while maintaining a harmonious family environment across generations.
  • Wealth advisors who see the value philanthropy offers their clients and feel comfortable recommending tax strategies or giving vehicles, but know their clients’ philanthropic needs require additional expertise.

How We Work

The Giving Well Experience

Our cornerstone process for articulating what giving well means to you and yours. Through a mix of tools, conversation, and reflections, we’ll help you identify the change you want to make, explore your giving history, identify the type of giving that will bring you the greatest joy while creating the greatest impact, and align your skills, time, and means with your values, family, and legacy.

Our clients also contract with us for targeted guidance on the following 5 tasks:

Discover

Discover

A guided process to align your passions or those of your family or foundation with your desired impact.
Learn

Learn

In-depth research about the issues, organizations, and communities you care about to ensure your giving is informed and wisely invested.
Define

Define

Development of a detailed strategy to ensure your giving is both fulfilling and effective. This can be a simple strategy or a more robust Theory of Change.
Implement

Implement

Whether we’re vetting organizations, serving as an anonymity screen, driving your giving calendar with an annual plan, or managing your foundation from top to bottom, we’ll make it easy for you to experience the joy of giving while we manage the details.
Measure & Celebrate

Measure & Celebrate

We’ll monitor your giving to understand the impact of your strategy and use these insights to guide future efforts, while pausing to celebrate the fun of watching your giving make a difference.

Services

Families, Foundations, & Companies

  • Development of charitable giving strategies
  • Research into community needs
  • Identification of giving/volunteering opportunities
  • Facilitation of strategic planning process
  • Charity/leadership vetting
  • Giving/grantmaking management & evaluation
  • Next-gen engagement & giving strategies
  • Foundation start-up, consulting, & outsourced management
  • Coordination of employee volunteerism efforts

Wealth Advisors

  • Trainings for advisors
  • Workshops & events for clients
  • Philanthropic advising for clients
  • Turn-key tools to integrate into existing processes and deepen conversations with clients

Family Businesses

  • Family governance design, structure, infrastructure, and handbooks
  • Family communication
  • Family history & education
  • Family engagement & activities
  • Speaking engagements and trainings at family events

About Vario Philanthropy

At Vario Philanthropy, we guide both foundations and philanthropists to greater impact. We believe that giving can be both wildly fulfilling and measurably impactful if applied with clarity, focus, and strategy. We help families put their heart into action through thoughtful giving plans that engage all generations. We help new and established foundations increase their impact, streamline their processes, improve communication, and develop strategies to move from distributing dollars to making a measurable difference. We also help family businesses structure their company for success while nurturing family connections and developing the next generation for an active role in the business or as an active shareholder. Our experienced team work together to manage your goals from vision to execution.

Lindsay Matush

CEO
Lindsay Matush

CEO

Lindsay is a passionate advocate for inspired philanthropy. She grew up as the daughter of a wealth advisor to high net worth families. She’d heard stories of how family wealth could ruin children, and had parents who were determined that she’d know the value of a dollar and that she’d be generous. From her earliest dollar earned, she would save 25% and give 10% to charity and was constantly challenged to consider her impact on the world.

She began her career in the nonprofit sector where she saw firsthand how a mix of donations and grants could be applied to advance excellent work or to perpetuate mediocrity. She was named Executive Director by the age of 26, and had a “baptized by fire” experience in driving all aspects of marketing, branding, development, and strategy. On sabbatical, she accidentally founded Vario Consulting. What began as interim support to help friends and colleagues with critical insight, emerged as a rapidly growing firm where she puts her passion, skill, and personal experience to work in the philanthropic advising space.

Melinda McAliney

Director
Melinda McAliney

Director

Melinda brings deep expertise across corporate, individual, and foundation philanthropy to the Vario team. Her skill is fueled by a lifelong passion to make a difference and to equip others to do the same.

Melinda knew she wanted to “change the world” at an early age. Serving others became a personal value, or even a calling, and she thought she’d spend her life working directly with people in need. But her first grantmaking role after graduate school quickly showed her the power of philanthropy, when done well, to dramatically change lives – including the giver. Out of this grew a deep conviction to help make philanthropy more meaningful and effective.

Over the years, Melinda has worked with foundations and corporations to develop holistic giving strategies that lead to changed communities and lives. She’s consulted with countless nonprofits to help them identify and measure their impact, and then share their story with donors. She has also helped empower individuals to serve their communities in new, more fulfilling ways. Her previous roles in philanthropy for the St. Louis Blues, United Way, EDS, Send Me St. Louis, and Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis have given her a strong base for equipping foundations and philanthropists to increase both the joy and impact of their giving. She has seen time and time again that when you intentionally apply your whole self – your time and your finances – amazing things will happen. One of her greatest joys currently is helping her children identify their passions so they can be the next generation of change-makers.

Lauren Tracy

Family Governance Specialist
Lauren Tracy

Family Governance Specialist

Lauren is an active third generation family member of a redistribution company, in the top Forbes 100 Largest Private Companies in America, founded by her grandparents in 1960. She works in the business as a senior level business developer, helping to build and maintain strong relationships with supplier partners and senior leadership, while driving sales growth. Lauren has enjoyed learning about the unique aspects of family business and seeing her family’s governance evolve through various changes to the business, family growth, and geographical dispersion. She has taken an active role in both her family’s foundation and family council. She’s experienced firsthand how effective structures for family governance can play a critical role for both the family and the business, and acts as a speaker, panelist, and facilitator in inspiring other families to pursue excellent and proactive governance. Her passion lies in helping family businesses explore their family history and prepare for successful transitions from generation to generation.

Reach Out

We’d love to learn more

Whether you’re a family, a foundation, a family business, or wealth advisor, we’d love to hear about your goals and vision and explore more.
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