Member Spotlight: Lindsay Smalling

Throughout the year we like to recognize exceptional Members within our community that are making a lasting impact in the Bay Area. Please take a moment to learn more about this extraordinary Member and Co-Chair of our Education Circle!

Lindsay Smalling

Director of Programming


Member Since February 2010

FCF: In October you will be participating in our 15 Year Impact Reception, honoring Full Circle Fund partners who have made a notable impact in the Bay Area. What impact have you made as a Member of Full Circle Fund that you are most proud of?

LS: One thing I love about Full Circle Fund is the ability to have impact at different levels. I'm proud of the impact that I had as a team lead for Beyond12, where we provided valuable support at a very early stage in an organization that continues to blow me away as it grows. I'm proud of the impact I've been able to have in the Idea Jams - they are quick but high impact and I've stayed connected to the organizations afterward. And probably my favorite role with Full Circle Fund is as a Co-Chair of the Education Circle, where I try to make an impact by listening to our members and helping them build lasting relationships with great organizations and leaders in the Bay Area.

FCF: Can you share some memorable advice or piece of wisdom that has been beneficial for navigating your journey in philanthropy?

LS: When I first got into philanthropy I noticed that there were a lot of heated debates about effective nonprofits or strategic philanthropy, large global efforts vs. small local efforts, and many other ways that efforts to create change were categorized, elevated, or condemned. These are often helpful or clarifying debates, but I eventually came to the personal opinion that we need local and global, tactical and strategic, rational and emotional philanthropy. Every individual has to personally decide what they value and how they want to financially support those values, and then continue to evolve that commitment throughout their life.

FCF: The annual SOCAP conference is a few months away. Can you share any trends or hot topics in social innovation and impact investing that are driving the program this year?

LS: Impact investing has had a big year: The G8 Social Investment Task Force reported back on their findings, the Pope held a conference on impact investing, major financial institutions (Bain, Blackrock, and BNY Mellon) added impact investing divisions, and David Brooks devoted a NY Times editorial to How to Leave a Mark. SOCAP draws a larger and more diverse crowd every year, with corporate and government participation adding to our community of impact investors, social entrepreneurs, foundations and nonprofits, and SOCAP15 looks like it's going to be the best conference yet.

FCF: What are you most excited about in the next 6 months?

LS: I am excited to see the wide variety of the 2015 Education Circle Grant Partners; they always reflect member interest but this year feels particularly diverse. Our impact on Bay Area education is really responsive to current needs and opportunities because Full Circle Fund attracts amazing members who don't shy away from messy or untested solutions. The impact in 2014 was really impressive and I wouldn't be surprised if the 2015 teams take it up another notch!

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