Giving with Meaning

Bussel Philanthropy Associates brings a strategic mindset to charitable giving.
The firm supports funders as they pursue meaningful, influential, effective and strategic philanthropy.


Bussel Philanthropy Associates (BPA) is a philanthropic
consulting firm that conducts philanthropic research for public charities and works with family foundations, individuals, independent foundations and other funders to help them to shape and realize their philanthropic goals. BPA clients have a wide range of philanthropic interests and they fund locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

BPA was founded by Deborah Bussel in 2001. The firm is the culmination of Deborah's twenty-five years of experience in social marketing, non-profit management, program development, and charitable giving.

top Deborah Bussel serves as the principal
for every BPA client and project. When necessary and appropriate, she draws from her affiliated stable of senior-level consultants to meet the needs of clients. bottom
Deborah Bussel


Prior to establishing BPA, Deborah was the director of Promotion of Philanthropy—A South Florida Collaboration (The POP Project), a special initiative of The Donors Forum of South Florida. The POP Project was one of twenty-six programs around the country designed to facilitate the growth of philanthropic capital through the formation of foundations, corporate giving programs, and other permanently-endowed funds. In this position, Deborah conducted research on Florida's philanthropic sector, which resulted in the publication of Corporate Giving of Hispanic-owned Companies in Miami-Dade County, Charitable Giving by Gay People, South Florida Gives, South Florida Gives II, and Foundations in Uncharted Waters: The Challenges of 2001. As POP Project director, Deborah worked with emerging funders from diverse ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds with a broad range of funding interests.

Before her work with Donors Forum and The POP Project, Deborah developed, implemented and operated a teen center for Planned Parenthood of Greater Miami, Inc. in Homestead, Florida. The teen center, called ConFunkshun, was located in the area devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and as such, became part of the recovery and rebuilding efforts in the post-storm years. It was a model teen pregnancy prevention program that included job training, peer education, and arts programs as well as a family planning clinic. Confunkshun was recognized nationally for its hurricane relief work, its creative approach to teen pregnancy prevention, its innovative use of arts programs in the provision of social services, its social marketing of contraception, and its work with a racially, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse teen population. Deborah also served as the Director of Development for the organization.

Deborah has experience in advertising and public relations. She was an account executive at Ogilvy & Mather in Washington, DC. and she was responsible for marketing and communications plans and programs at the non-profits where she has worked.

She is actively involved in several national philanthropic organizations as well as local community-based organizations. While serving as a board member of Planned Giving Council of Miami-Dade County, Deborah coordinated the Non Profit Governance Project, which sought to build a critical mass of informed and experienced board members and offer a forum for these committed individuals to develop and maintain best practices in governance.

In 2007, Deborah was named Professional Advisor of the Year by Leave A Legacy Miami. She serves on the boards of The Shepard Broad Foundation, a family foundation and The Ruth K. Broad Biomedical Foundation, a supporting organization of Duke Medical School. She is also on the boards of New Israel Fund, a grant making organization that supports the development of democratic institutions and a socially- and economically- just society in Israel, and Ransom-Everglades School, an independent 6th-12th grade school in Miami, Florida. She serves on the advisory committees of Philantroguia, a locally-based effort to grow Hispanic philanthropy. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale University.



Caren's firm, Fast Forward, helps start-up and mid-sized organizations to streamline their operations, increase productivity and establish the culture and mechanisms to evaluate their work and make continuous improvements. Fast Forward offers individualized service to clients, tailoring the approach to fit each entrepreneur and/or manager and the field or sector in which they operate. Her extensive planning and management services include re-organization and succession planning, financial modeling and scenario testing, brand positioning, information architecture, customized applications and web site production.

Clients include the Citigroup Art Advisory Service, the Council for Fashion Designers of America, Greater Miami Performing Art Center, ISN Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Oxygen Media and Urbanus.

Prior to establishing Fast Forward, Caren served as Co-Founder and Executive Director of Miami Light Project, a not-for-profit cultural organization that produces an annual music, dance and theater series. Caren received a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University and both a BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania.



Steve is the principal of Goldin Consulting and established and operated a public charity, Institute for Regional Education (IRE) and its Fund For Change, in Sante Fe, New Mexico for thirty years. Steve managed donor-advised funds at IRE and served as a liaison and research consultant for national funders and foundations such as the Ford Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation and Veatch Foundation that have had funding initiatives in the Southwestern states of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. He has been a mentor to hundreds of organizations and projects including serving as an administrative sponsor to over seventy-five groups. He also has served as a board member for many foundations and other non profit organizations.

Steve's expertise lies in conducting research, strategic thinking and analysis, and facilitating decision making for individual and family clients.

Along with his work in philanthropy, Steve has been a community activist and organizer. Prior to his work in philanthropy, Steve was an investigative journalist, an investigative research trainer for reporters and community activists, and a film producer. His credits include the documentary Qatsi trilogy and Anima Mundi. Steve is a graduate of Yale University.



Sue Egnoto is the principal of Courageous Marketing. She is a marketing consultant and creative strategist with a knack for solving complex problems with new ideas. She has applied her marketing research and strategic planning skills to both the public and non-profit sectors and counts among her diverse cross-section of clients Prezi, Jewish day schools, and Logitech. She has collaborated with Bussel Philanthropy Associates on research projects. Schooling: BS/MS Imaging Science from R.I.T., MBA from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

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philanthropic research for clients including public grant making charities. Studies include: Understanding Collaboration, an examination of the relationship between Jewish community foundations and their Jewish federation counterparts in 30 North American communities; and, A Philanthropic Force: New Foundations in South Florida, which analyzed the nature and giving patterns of new foundations in the region.


family and foundation board meetings and retreats to help clients to identify, express and develop their philanthropic vision and goals.


the larger context in which a client is funding in order to answer questions such as:

  • Where might private funding have its greatest impact?
  • Who else is funding in the client's interest area?
  • How might client funds be leveraged?
  • What are the theories of change operative in any given issue area?
  • Is there evidence that a theory holds promise for substantive change?
  • Are there strong organizations and/or programs working in the interest area?


technical assistance to grantees/recipients of clients' philanthropic funding.


clients to establish grant making procedures and programs and to develop strong partnerships with their grantees/recipient organizations.


philanthropists in developing their grant making skills and in understanding the non-profit sector.



This family foundation began working with BPA at its inception. Through a guided planning process, the foundation's directors identified early childhood education and literacy as a funding passion for each director as well as for the board as a whole. Twelve years later, this foundation has become a leading education funder in its community and is involved with programs and organizations that have garnered national attention. In collaboration with its grantee partners, it launched a program that connects literacy to the arts, gave the seed funding for a public education fund, brought successful educational reform programs to its community, drove the creation of an association of day care directors and commissioned research that has informed collaborative efforts to address uneven quality in day care education and develop education infrastructure. It is currently helping an organization that supports children who have a seriously ill parent to grow and expand nationally.

This family foundation hired BPA to help it establish its grantmaking approach and practices. The adult children of the foundation's founder run and operate the foundation. Part of BPA's task was to educate the second generation in how to work with grantees, determine grant making guidelines and procedures, operate a foundation office, and evaluate the impact of their funding. After two years of coaching, the adult children took full charge of their family philanthropy and have become philanthropic leaders in their community.

BPA studies have informed the philanthropic field on approaches to funding; the influencef of gender, age, geography, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity on the nature of grantmaking; and, emerging trends in charitable giving. Studies include:

  • Understanding Collaboration between Federations and Foundations in Communities with Separately-Incorporated Jewish Community Foundations
  • Corporate Giving of Hispanic-owned Companies in Miami-Dade County*
  • Charitable Giving by Gay People*
  • South Florida Gives*
  • South Florida Gives II
  • Foundations in Uncharted Waters: The Challenges of 2001
  • A Philanthropic Force: New Foundations in South Florida

*These studies were conducted and completed by Deborah Bussel while in the employ of Donors Forum of South Florida.

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Deborah Bussel