Susan Ingmire of Ignite Philanthropy Advisors
How did you start your business?
Ignite Philanthropy Advisors
was formed in July 2009, as successor to BeneFactors and InterAct for Change
. InterAct for Change is an Ohio nonprofit affiliate of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati
, a large grant-making organization. It acquired BeneFactors LLC, a strategic advisory and administrative services company, in 2007.
I served as vice president for InterAct for Change from early 2007 until June 2009. Ignite acquired its distinguished roster of philanthropic services clients shortly thereafter.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I have worked in philanthropy with family foundations, trusts and nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years. The tradition of individuals or families joining together to make the world a better place is near and dear to my heart, although I confess that I grew up in a family of very modest means. Through hard work and perseverance, I became the first [person in my family] to graduate from college.
I am an optimist and believe wholeheartedly that committed citizens can change the world through giving back. In founding Ignite, I sought to create an independent philanthropic consulting firm that works collaboratively with each client to achieve their unique giving goals in innovative and practical ways.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
The Hamilton County Business Center
has been an excellent resource for us during our first three years of operation. As a tenant of HCBC, we have access to administrative support, business planning, mentorship, conference rooms and more.
What inspires you?
I am continuously inspired by the generosity of the human spirit. I believe that giving is deeply personal. The causes our clients care about and the goals they hope to achieve are based on their experiences, their passions and their values. It is inspiring to watch our clients use their resources to improve the community in new and sometimes life-altering ways.
What’s next for you and your company?
A couple of months ago, we upgraded our technology platform, so one of our goals for 2013 is to streamline our back office functions. It’s not sexy, but I’m hoping it helps me get out of the office more often. We have a great story to tell—for we offer a unique service. I plan to network with attorneys, CPAs and wealth advisors more frequently in 2013. They usually have relationships with the types of clients we target.
In addition, each new year, our clients begin with a clean slate for grantmaking. So we get excited all over again by helping our clients employ innovative strategies to achieve their dreams. It is inspiring to watch new initiatives unfold each year.
Interview by Robin Donovan