MEET OUR TEAM
Sarah Hopper, Founder & CEO
Philanthropy: A Panel Discussion with Howard Wright and Kate Janeway, Seattle Philanthropic Advisors Network, Event Designer & Moderator, 2021
Philanthropic Redlining & Philanthropy as Reparations: A Panel Discussion with Andrea Caupain and Beth McCaw, Seattle Philanthropic Advisors Network, Event Designer & Moderator, 2021
Philanthropy During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Seattle Philanthropic Advisors Network, 2020
Stories of Philanthropic Women, Bainbridge Community Foundation LeadHERship Series, 2019
Avoiding Family Philanthropy Pitfalls, NW Family Business Advisors Panel, 2019
Extraordinary Philanthropic Women, Bainbridge Community Foundation LeadHERship Series, 2018
Innovative Philanthropy Panel, Giving Tech Labs, 2018
A Conversation with the Wright Family, Moderator, Seattle Philanthropic Advisors Network Panel Presentation, 2017
A Conversation with Kate Janeway, Presenter, Washington Women’s Foundation “Discovery Days," 2015
The Role of Philanthropy in Family Business, NW Family Business Advisors, 2013
How to Start a Conversation about Philanthropy with your Clients, SWA NW Regional Conference, 2012
Effective Ways to Engage Children in Philanthropy, Seattle Children’s Conference on Philanthropic & Legacy Planning for Professional Advisors, 2012
Engaging Family of All Ages in Philanthropy, Washington Planned Giving Council, 2012
As a philanthropic advisor, I work with thoughtful, heartful, game-changing philanthropic trailblazers. My clients honor me by trusting my guidance and advice through the many evolutions in philanthropy that have occurred over the past decade, and in the distribution of more than $100 million in philanthropic giving.
In the 12 years since I transitioned from my role as Vice President of Philanthropic Services at the Seattle Foundation to launch my own practice of philanthropic advising, I have created a relationship-centered business that profoundly nourishes my heart, mind, and soul.
I am in the business of relationships. I am touched by all the ways in which my work deepens the important relationships between multi-generational family members, spouses, philanthropists and grantees, philanthropists and other philanthropists, and my personal, precious relationships with each of my clients.
I am also in the business of humanity. Since 2020, I have grown in ways both challenging and fulfilling. My commitment to my work has deepened. It is increasingly clear that the philanthropic sector is part of a web of systems founded in racism. Our sector is also uniquely positioned to quickly and nimbly change how communities are empowered and resourced through philanthropy, and how humanity can be restored for everyone. Through my leadership, my clients and I focus on equity, listening closely to those in proximity to the issues we work to address. We are doing the patient, heartful, trust-based work of examining our own relationships with race and racism and what it means to “do grantmaking” through the practice of reparations and resourcing communities.
To provide guidance and accountability and to deepen our commitment to equity, in early 2022 I formed the Racial Equity Action Community (REAC), a learning community of leaders and philanthropists who strive to reimagine and actualize how a cross-racial group can address racial justice issues through love, compassion, and philanthropy.
All of my experience and knowledge, and the personal-touch approach to my practice in which I meet clients where they are (taking the role of sherpa-quarterback), has led me to the exciting point of expanding Sound Philanthropy. In 2022 I realized the first steps in this growth by bringing Brynn Blanchard on board and developing operational infrastructure to support our increased depth of field. I am pleased by the evolution of my purpose in this work, and the continued well-being of the entire Sound Philanthropy family.
When I am not expanding my heart and mind as a philanthropic advisor, I can be found happily loving on my three kids, husband, and two dogs, or thinking about how to scratch my rediscovered, post-pandemic travel itch.
Brynn Blanchard, Director of Community Partnerships
Subject areas: Animal welfare; zoos and aquariums; school change; service-learning; youth civic engagement programs; conservation programs
Education: BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies; MA Educational Counseling; Certificate in Crisis Communications and Issues Management
Certifications: Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) since 2008
I joined Sound Philanthropy in 2022 after more than 25 years of program leadership and fundraising in the nonprofit sector, wearing the many hats that come with mission-driven work: storyteller, fundraiser, program leader, strategic thinker, event planner, and more. During my fundraising career, my teams and I raised more than $100 million for mission-critical campaigns, programs, and facilities. Most recently, I spent more than a decade as Chief Advancement Officer at Seattle Humane where we completed a $30 million private fundraising campaign to build a new animal shelter and veterinary medicine teaching hospital for WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
I love my work at Sound Philanthropy and feel deeply honored to walk alongside our clients and their community partners. Our clients are progressive funders committed to trust-based philanthropy. Beyond engaging in deep learning and listening to the communities they’d like to support, our clients are also engaged in anti-racism in philanthropic practice. In partnership with our clients, we are moving beyond donor-centered funding and looking at funding partnerships through a justice lens. As a career nonprofit professional, I find it very meaningful to be in authentic relationships with the talented community professionals doing the work, as well as with our clients who deeply care about healing our communities.
I lived and worked in San Francisco and Austin for the first part of my career, but I grew up in Washington and am proud to be a Washingtonian. In 2021 my family traded in our busy Seattle lifestyle to reside on Bainbridge Island where the only commute noise is the sound of ferry horns. Outside of work, my spouse and I can be found dancing Cuban salsa, perfecting the latest pizza oven recipe, or traveling with our two kids.