Laurie Michaels, Open Road Alliance

Laurie Michaels
Open Road Alliance

Laurie Michaels, Ph.D., is an individual philanthropist based in Aspen, Colorado. Prior to founding Open Road Alliance, a private philanthropic fund, in 2012, Michaels maintained a practice in clinical psychology.

Through Open Road Alliance, Michaels and her team make charitable and recoverable grants to nonprofits in need of contingency funds. Her experience has led her to actively advocate for change within the philanthropic sector by highlighting the need for better risk management in grantmaking. She is a contributor to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, SSIR, and Forbes as well as a speaker at forums such as Fail Forward, Clinton Global Initiative, GEO, Council on Foundations, and Global Philanthropy Forum.

Michaels currently serves on the Board of Directors for PATH and Search for Common Ground. She served on the board of the Aspen Community Foundation for 12 years and had been Board Chair for four years ending in 2013.

Michaels earned a B.A. from Williams College. She holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Colorado State University.


Articles by Laurie Michaels

  • Laurie Michaels

    The Funder Problem: Good Intentions Aren’t Enough

    Despite their good intentions, funders are often the biggest barriers to social enterprises or nonprofits achieving impact. Open Road Alliance, a philanthropic initiative that gives emergency grants to impact-focused organizations, gathered and analyzed five years of data about roadblocks faced by over 100 grantees. Nearly half of the problems the group found were caused by funders. Laurie Michaels describes the three categories of funder-related barriers that account for the most frequent challenges – and offers some surprisingly easy fixes.

    Social Enterprise
    impact investing, nonprofits, philanthropy, social enterprise
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