About Dr. Byron Harrell

Managing Partner at Philoptima Consulting
June 2006 – Present

Managing Partner

Managing Partner

Adviser to numerous private foundations on the design and implementation of strategic approaches to boost mission-related grant-making impact. Author of “Supercharged Giving” (Amazon) and “Size Matters” (Philanthropy). Installs sophisticated but easy-to-use responsive and strategic grant systems. Guides Senior Management in functional assessments to measure and adjust for greater enterprise effectiveness. Assists hospitals, insurers and other nonprofit organizations emerge as effective grant-makers following successful conversion of nonprofit assets to private foundation status. Facilitates board and management retreats as part of the development of effective strategic grant-making systems tied closely to community need. Serves as executive coach to foundation CEOs and boards.

Former Chairman, Academic Advisory Committee, Board Member at Louisiana University Medical Center
January 2011 – 2016

Academic Advisory Committee Chairman and Board Member for the new 400-bed $1.3 billion replacement hospital for the Katrina-destroyed Charity Hospital. Harrell SppeakingThe new Academic Medical Center is now under construction and will open in 2015. The currently operating “interim hospital” functions in smaller facilities formerly owned and operated as a private catholic-oriented hospital known as Hotel Dieu. The interim facilities may not be permanently used as an acute facility after the new hospital opens under terms reached with FEMA. Dr. Harrell is a board member of the interim facility that is a part of the Louisiana Children’s Hospital network. He serves as Chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Board that links the educational mission of the hospital with the faculties of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

AUTHOR at Supercharged Giving: The Professional’s Guide to Strategic Phianthropy
Updated January 2017

Dr. Harrell is the author of “Supercharged Giving: The Professional’s Guide to Strategic Philanthropy” SuperchargeGiving Coverwhich helps guide grant-makers to dramatically boost the effectiveness of their spending as a direct link between their mission through goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. He teaches visual concept mapping to demonstrate the theoretical connections of a grant logic model to help donors improve accountability, clarity, precision and outcomes.

AUTHOR at SIZE MATTERS: Why Big Foundations Fail

January 2014 Dr. Harrell developed a new measurement instrument for foundation performance using the framework originally theorized by Tom Peters in his classic best-selling business book “In Search of Excellence”. Using this new instrument, he surveyed dozens of private foundations (large and small) and hundreds of grantees. He found an inverse relationship between size and success. The larger the foundation, the less it’s grantees consider it a success! Published in “Philanthropy”, his research presents ample evidence that SIZE MATTERS!

President Large Private Health Legacy Foundation
1989 – 2015

Formerly the President and Chief Executive Officer of a large private grant-making foundation in New Orleans and part-time consultant in strategic philanthropy. Designed and implemented strategic grant-making systems and approaches to improve enterprise effectiveness and impact.

Board Chairman at Southeastern Council of Foundations
2010 – 2011

imageChairman of the Board of Trustees of this 350 member association of private, family, corporate, and independent foundations across eleven southern states.

Skills & Expertise

Strategic Philanthropy, Group Facilitation, Public Speaking, Research.


Tulane University School of Medicine Doctor of Science,
Health Services Research Trinity University    Masters of Science,
Health Care Administration West Texas A&M University    BBA,

Business Finance Father of five and grandfather of nine.  Mississippi Tree Farmer, Byron raises bees, fish and blueberries on a family farm in Mississippi. Senior Rotarian (retired).