Changing How and What Philanthropy Supports - Exponent Philanthropy
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Changing How and What Philanthropy Supports

Nat Chioke Williams

As Executive Director of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation, Nat Chioke Williams is leading a family foundation to strategically move its assets to support racial justice.

Nat’s passion and thoughtfulness on racial justice issues has had a deep impact on the board’s understanding of anti-Black racism, and how philanthropy can create change.

He led the family board on a journey to define their values and priorities, and aligned the work and internal operations around those values. This included developing personnel policies and facilitating a thoughtful process to add non-family directors to the board, a first in the foundation’s 60 years.

In 2015, Nat led the foundation’s Making Black Lives Matter Initiative, a three year grantmaking and strategic co-funding initiative to build long term institutional and political power for Black social change and racial justice.

In 2017, the board made Black-led organizing a permanent priority and the Making Black Lives Matter Initiative an ongoing foundation program area. Currently, more than 50% of the Hill-Snowdon Foundation’s overall grant portfolio are Black-led organizing groups.

Nat has long voiced the need for philanthropy needing to support Black-led organizing and leadership, and he’s played a leading role in forming numerous funder collaboratives. With the Association of Black Foundation Executives, Nat created the Black Social Change Funders Network.

In partnership with other social justice funders, Nat has been involved with the development of Grantmakers for Southern Progress, a network of local, regional and national funders committed to facilitating joint learning, collaboration and leveraging new resources to help build a vibrant and enduring infrastructure for social justice in the US South. He served several years as co-chair of the group.

Nat is a strong advocate for trust-based philanthropy. He’s an incredible collaborator and partner for grantees and funding peers alike. Nat is always thinking of ways to further the vision of the foundation, whether through a new partnership, or creatively using funding.

Nat is a visionary philanthropic leader who has been at the forefront of changing how and what the sector supports.

Nat is a finalist for Exponent Philanthropy’s 2020 Outsized Impact Award, honoring an individual whose style of philanthropy achieved greater-than-expected results.
Learn about the other finalists >>

The winner will be announced at the Virtual Town Hall & Member Meeting
October 8, 2020   I   3:00 – 4:15 EST


  1. Jackie Edwards

    I am honored to support this candidate for all of the work he has done.

  2. Joyce Conoly-Simmons

    Good luck Nat. I went to FAMU with your Dad and Mom.

    • Georgetta Williams

      Good luck Pat, you deserve it!!

  3. Christopher Harris

    I have known and worked with Nat for years and hold him the highest regard. He is one of the best grantmakers I have met around the world. We served together for several years on the international Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace (now PSJP).

  4. Henry Der

    Nat’s leadership was pivotal in moving Grantmakers for Southern Progress forward to influence and welcome national and regional funders to support Southern-based groups involved with social justice/social change activities in securing better opportunities and treatment of community members.


    Nat is a principled partner, ambitious and out of the box thinker. We are grateful for him and Shona’s movement-building philanthropy. Happy he is getting recognition he deserves!

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