Meet Our Board: Shelly

Categorized as: , , , , on July 28, 2018.


Shelly, with two of our other board members, Sally and Suzanne, at an event at an Exponent Philanthropy conference.

Editor’s Note: Shelly lives in Kentucky with Ron, 10 dogs, and 4 horses.  There may also be any of their 4 daughters or other humans visiting, living or “resting their souls” at any given time. Shelly is a full-time nanny for a delightful family in Lexington and never goes to work because when you love what you do, it just can’t be called work!

Shelly Shepard Skees Shelly Skees, Secretary

I live in a little town about 50 miles east of Lexington, KY. We moved here in 2003, to be closer to our families in Dayton, OH. I grew up with loving parents who were honest and hardworking. They taught myself, my sister, and my twin brothers that all humans should be treated equally and fairly. Inclusivity was second nature to them. My parents had many adopted kids (mine and my siblings friends). Our house was almost always the “party” house. The other kid’s parents knew that their kids would be in a safe environment. I tried to emulate them for my daughters and their friends.

In 2014, Suzanne decided to change directions with her foundation–she opened it up to family members. As I mentioned in my video, joining the board was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has helped to boost my self-confidence and expand my abilities to work with others. In addition, learning the “ins and outs” of the nonprofit world has been very educational.

Being on the board has helped me understand some of the imbalances in the grantee/partner relationships and motivated me to be respectful and mindful of our grantees. At our board meetings, which are already virtual due to our board being scattered across the globe, we will often have a “remote” site visit. Because our foundation is so small, we are not really in a position to travel to the parts of the world where the need is greatest, so remote site visits are quite efficient.Through this, we have learned our grantees are amazing! Scheduling these site visits can be very complicated with all the time zone differences, and they are so flexible. They have been known to be ready for us at ridiculously early hours just to meet with us.

One of our foundations goals is to do all of the “heavy lifting” in our granting process. We do not require any paperwork from them and all of our grants are unrestricted. We believe they know much more than we as to what their need may be. We try to minimize the power dynamic that has always existed in the nonprofit world.

As a board, we strive to maximize the output of our tiny funding while minimizing our costs and expenses.  It is so exciting to meet and help these amazing organizations, many of them also tiny but mighty!


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