Interview: How to make a Philanthropy Connection with Marla Felcher
Marla Felcher is a woman who runs Philanthropy Connection, which is the Match.com between women who want to be philanthropists and want to give and the organizations and leaders in the communities who want to solve problems that they work on.
Below is a summary of our interview:
“People, they’re the worst.” – Seinfeld. And she elaborates on that very well.
Recently, an invitation to her 40th high school reunion gave Marla a wake up call so she began telling us her very long story. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland had a typical quiet child in the suburbs. Her parents were first generation college students in their family, but as an adult it really influenced her life. In 1974, she didn’t have big plans, but she knew she wanted to go to college, so she went to the University of Maryland. While Marla was there she figured out what she didn’t want out of college. Sitting in a lecture hall with 500 pupils and that it wasn’t what she wanted and she wasn’t really happy. She didn’t know what she wanted out of college, but she knew that wasn’t it. She wound up going to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. Marla really loved that school and her experience. After she graduated from college, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Her mother told her Marla’s choices were medical school, Law school or Business school. She was very squeamish and law didn’t interest her, so process of elimination, she went to Business school. She went to University of Texas at Austin at the same time when she was married. She realized Texas wasn’t for her, so process of elimination….she finished her MBA and she moved to Boston. She had a typical marketing job. She worked for Gillette at one point. But she left Boston, and moved to Chicago. In Chicago, she got restless. Working for big companies wasn’t satisfying her intellectual curiosity. In the late 80’s she went back to school and enrolled in a doctoral program at Northwestern University. She had to graduate, but then she couldn’t stay in school anymore and wound up working at Northwestern as a marketing professor. In 1998, Marla came back to Boston. But at that point she became an investigative journalist and wound up working at the Harvard Kennedy school. Now she’s running a collective giving organization, Philanthropy Connection, which is her favorite thing so far.
After she got her PhD in 1992, she was working at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. All the marketing courses were taught there. She was there for 2 years, and got promoted to something and she thought “i have worked so hard to get this doctorate, and I can’t stand what I do.” She put a lot of money and hard work into her education and she didn’t know what she was gonna do.
There were many times she realized, “wow, I don’t like doing this.”.. So when she figured out what it was in her life she did love doing and what she wanted to keep, she realized she loved teaching, and loved teaching the undergraduates. She liked helping students get jobs.
Marla’s work now
The Philanthropy Connection is venue for women who is interested in getting involved in philanthropy and learning about the social issues and problems in Boston. The women come together to learn what they can do to make their world a better place. She is managing several people who want to give and to learn how to be creative. She feels an enormous responsibility to the 200 women who want to learn about Philanthropy.
What’s exciting Marla now
What’s exciting Marla is how many people want to be involved in philanthropy.
Book Marla Recommends:
Her answer was becoming obsessed with her work.
Board Force for building or working in a non profit organization
What’s Your Purpose:
Marla’s doing what she’s doing because she’s been given the ability to make imperfect situations perfect for herself and she wants to
Where to follow Marla and Parting Words
Follow The Philanthropy Connection on Facebook
Marla’s words of wisdom were to look around and see what you can do for someone else and do it ’cause it’s gonna make you so happy.