David La Piana

Managing Partner

Alameda, CA
Joined La Piana Consulting
A word that sums me up is
The most interesting thing happening in the social sector today is:
Helping them make connections and see their organization in new ways, see new potential solutions to challenges.

David helps social sector executives to develop powerful strategies while becoming better leaders for their staffs, boards, and communities. He helps clients quickly home in on their most important strategic issues and begin to develop real, practical solutions. He has authored a number of popular books, including The Nonprofit Strategy RevolutionThe Nonprofit Mergers Workbooks I and IIPlay to Win, and The Nonprofit Business Plan, and numerous articles appearing in Stanford Social Innovation Review, including “Merging Wisely,” “The Nonprofit Paradox,” and “When Organizational Change Fails.” David has consulted to a wide cross-section of nonprofits including AARP, ACLU, the Ford Foundation, Beneficial State Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Y USA.

“I have had the privilege of working with many of the top civil rights groups in the country and, as hard as the work is, I feel I’m doing something really important helping people who do amazing work on all our behalf.” 

David’s background includes community organizing as well as nonprofit management and executive leadership. Prior to founding La Piana in 1998, he was CEO of a children’s mental health nonprofit, leading it through an extended period of unprecedented growth driven in part by strategic mergers. He also served as a VISTA volunteer organizing migrant farmworkers, and held management roles with food security and refugee organizations. He has an MPA from the University of San Francisco and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. He has also studied at the University of Madrid.

David is available as a speaker and media resource on a variety of topics including nonprofit trends, philanthropy, leadership, and change management. He recently presented at the BoardSource Leadership Forum on effective CEO/board chair relationships and at the United Way of Greater Houston on strategy development in uncertain times.

“My attitude is that organization problems are solvable and that the key is to help teams step up, pull together, and get it done.”