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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A guided process to align your passions or those of your family or foundation with your desired impact.
In-depth research about the issues, organizations, and communities you care about to ensure your giving is informed and wisely invested.
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.
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
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.
My husband and I participated in the Giving Well Experience. Giving for us was always a reactive, end-of-year endeavor and could even be a source of contention for us. We know that we’ve been blessed and we took this journey to become better stewards of what we’ve been given. Our giving now flows from who we are and I can honestly say it’s an energizing, exciting, fulfilling part of our lives.
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 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 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.