A note by itself is not a symphony.  Philanthropy, like music, demonstrates what individuals can accomplish together. 


Michael Kesselman has worked as a professional foundation officer and philanthropy consultant for the past 25 years.  As Senior Program Officer and Deputy Director for Programs at the Koret Foundation in San Francisco, he was responsible for

  • Recommending grantmaking policy and procedures to the Board of Directors
  • Support for arts and culture
  • Reviewing capital grant requests, including construction, renovation, and equipment
  • Research and evaluation of individual grants and program funding categories
  • Funding in the State of Israel, which included annual support to seven major universities as well as the foundation’s primary focus on economic development and job creation
  • Annual grants to United Ways, Jewish Federations, and settlement support to emigrés in the Bay Area and in Israel
  • He was architect of the foundation’s successful Models of Collaboration and Economic Stabilization.

As Program Director at The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in Baltimore, Michael was responsible for local, national, and international grantmaking in the areas of

  • Workforce development: low-wage workers, people with disabilities, ex-offenders, dual-client strategy, sector programs, etc.
  • Homelessness
  • Hunger
  • Supportive housing for former drug addicts, the homeless, and ex-offenders.

As an independent consultant, Michael

  • Designed a successful collaboration of senior-serving agencies for the city of Daly City, California
  • Led a consortium of U.S. and Russian nonprofits who were considering a strategic alliance between human rights activists and environmental groups.  The project centered around the trial of former Russian nuclear submarine captain, Alexander Nikitin, who was accused of treason for working with environmental groups drawing attention to the country’s unsafe handling of nuclear waste
  • Established a limited partnership between Alliance Francaise de San Francisco and foolsFURY Theater Company, which led to their receiving a major grant from San Francisco’s Creative Work Fund to translate and produce a new play by Fabrice Melquiot, considered one of France’s most significant young playwrights
  • Acted as U.S. Representative for Life & Enviroment, an umbrella group of some 50 environmental NGOs in the State of Israel
  • Acted as Interim Director of Business and Finance for Temple Beth Jacob, a conservative synagogue in Redwood City, California
  • Established a pilot project in 2001, the Organic Waste Recycling Project of Northern California, which was designed to demonstrate how and why environmentalism and commerce are natural partners and not adversaries.  Site partners included U.C. Berkeley, Amy’s Kitchen, Bonfante Gardens, Lake Elementary School, Jewish Home for the Aged, and Asilomar Conference Center.  The project’s Advisory Board included Ray Anderson, Janine Benyus, Paul Hawken, Gary Liss, Penny Livingston-Stark, James Stark, and Edward O. Wilson
  • Acted as Interim Executive Director of San Francisco’s Planning for Elders, working to improve the quality of life of seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers through advocacy, organizing, education and training
  • Designed and directed a youth philanthropy project that turned a class of seventh graders into a grant-making foundation that leveraged more than $500,000 from $4,500 in grant funds.  The Seventh Grade Fund has since been replicated in a number of cities around the country
  • Taught grant writing courses at University of California Berkeley Extension, San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning, and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.



Alliance Francaise de San Francisco; A Miner Miracle; Auerbach International; Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews; Benetech; Bureau of Jewish Education; Biosystem Solutions; B’nai B’rith Youth Organization; City of Daly City;  CompassPoint Nonprofit Services; Development Corporation for Israel; The Entrada Group; foolsFURY Theater Company;  Israel Law Center/Shurat HaDin; Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the East Bay;  Koret Foundation; Life & Environment; New Bridges to Jewish Community; Okizu Foundation; Planning for Elders; San Francisco Circus Center; San Francisco State University; Seventh Grade Fund; Shalom Bayit; Temple Beth Jacob; Union of Councils for Soviet Jews; University of California Berkeley Extension; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Z Space Studio.