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FERN C. PORTNOY is an advisor to individual philanthropists, private foundations and public charities. She has over 35 years of diverse experience in philanthropy informed by the following employment history.


Piton Foundation – CEO, Director

Piton is a private grant making foundation based in Denver, Colorado. Fern provided over a dozen years of leadership to start-up, build and manage all aspects of the foundation including establishing mission, developing grant making guidelines, designing and implementing grant making and program related investment strategies. During this period, Piton awarded over $35 million in grants and loans. Initiated and managed precedent-setting partnerships with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations serving as an intermediary for their work in community development and poverty. Recognized as a national leader in philanthropy.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – Director Major Gifts

Worked closely with the president and chairman of the board to develop and execute strategies to identify, cultivate, solicit and manage major donors.

Colorado’s Ocean Journey – Interim CEO

At the request of the board of directors provided interim general management for this $100 million aquarium. Served as full-time advisor/mentor to the new CEO through the transition. Expanded fundraising and sponsorship, coordinated staff activities and interfaced with the board of directors. Played a major role in the aquarium’s financing through a $57 million bond issue and $40 million in individual and corporate contributions and sponsorships.

Current or Former Member:

Alliance for Global Good
American Parent Communication
Annette Urso Rickel Foundation
Anti-Defamation League of the
Rocky Mountain Region
Berkshire International Film Festival
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Colorado, New Mexico & Nevada
Colorado’s Ocean Journey
Hunt Alternatives Fund
Independent Sector
Leadership Denver
Mile High United Way
National Council on Foundations
National Equity Fund
Pace Membership Warehouse
Pew Charitable Trusts’ Neighborhood Preservation Commission
Piton Foundation
Public Education Coalition
State of Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission
 (appointed by Governor Richard D. Lamm)
Women’s Foundation of Colorado (Founder)


“Fern brings wisdom, creativity and sophisticated thinking to solving complex problems.”
- CEO Nonprofit Organization

CONTACT: 917.375.0938 | 223 Egremont Plain Road #36, Great Barrington, MA 01230 |