David La Piana

Founder and Chairman

Alameda, CA
Practice Areas of Interest

Arts & Media

Education/ Youth



Social Justice/ Advocacy/ Policy

Meet David,

our Founder and Chairman.


David La Piana (he/him) is passionate about helping people achieve results, whether it is powering a social change initiative, growing a direct service organization, or achieving greater impacts through new philanthropic strategies. He is motivated by new challenges and has made a career of developing novel approaches to complex questions. David brings a positive, solutions-focused approach to his work, partnering with social sector leaders, who are the experts in their own experience.

David is particularly skilled at helping clients with new, complex, and critical challenges that require out –of- the-box thinking and with bringing together diverse constituents to solve problems they share but might define differently. Prior to founding the firm in 1998, David worked in the refugee resettlement, food security, and children’s mental health fields. As CEO of East Bay Agency for Children, he led the organization through an extended period of unprecedented growth driven in part by mergers. He began his nonprofit career with VISTA as a community organizer working with migrant farm workers.

Select Clients

Select Publications

  • ACLU, nationally and the 3 chapters in California

  • Atlantic Philanthropies

  • Beneficial State Foundation

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Firelight Media

  • Ford Foundation

  • Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund


  • YMCA of USA

  • YWCA

David has authored a number of popular books, including:

Plus numerous articles appearing in Stanford Social Innovation Review, including:

He created The Next Steps Career Workbook for Senior Executives, and his latest work is Adapt, a primer for creating a more adaptive culture. As an acknowledged expert in the field, David was asked to contribute the entries for Strategic Planning and Business Planning in the Encyclopedia of Nonprofit Management, Leadership, and Governance.

“I love developing new approaches and fresh methodologies to help our clients.”