CFMT is thrilled to announce Katie Marchetti, our new Vice President of Philanthropic Services. This visionary leader’s extensive journey from legal expert to nonprofit co-founder has uniquely equipped her to guide our philanthropic efforts.

In our April Here for Good donor newsletter, Katie took some time to answer a few questions to help us highlight how her diverse and rich background presents a unique opportunity to engage our fundholders.


From Legal Expertise to Philanthropy Leadership:

Q: You’ve had a remarkable journey from working as an attorney to a marketplace executive to leading roles in various nonprofits and ventures, and now joining us as the Vice President of Philanthropic Services. How have your diverse experiences shaped your approach to philanthropy, and how do you plan to leverage this in your new role

I have worked in a few different industries and in four different countries at this point, but the end goal of each role was generally the same- grow the corporate enterprise or the fund so that you can make more money next FY, raise more money the next round, etc. The problem is that the end goal doesn’t really exist–when is the company big enough? When have you raised or made enough money? Who is ultimately benefiting from this success? At the end of the day, I was not happy with the answers. What did make me happy and fulfilled throughout my career was all of the nonprofit work and philanthropy I was doing in my free time, even though it was not directly aligned to my career. So the question became, how do I repurpose my corporate skillset to “make the world a better place?”

I took the last year to determine what they may look like- building Voices for a Safer TN and serving in a few other roles in Nashville such as the Fisk University Board of Trustees. What I found in Nashville nonprofits and the donors that supported them was awe-inspiring, but how could I get more funding and resources to these incredible folks doing incredible work? At the same time, my corporate and finance network was growing quickly with reintroductions to native Nashvillians and new introductions to Nashville newbies– all of whom were wanting to contribute to Nashville but not knowing how. CFMT was a one-stop shop for inspiration to pair the nonprofits and those who want to help them. So, here I am!

Championing Safety and Advocacy:

Q: As a co-founder and executive board member of Voices for a Safer Tennessee, you’ve been at the forefront of advocating for firearm safety and common-sense gun laws. What have been the key lessons from this advocacy work that you believe will be valuable in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing our community foundation?

Great question, and the list of lessons is long. I was pretty much a neophyte to advocacy work, other than canvassing and donating, and I had a lot to learn. Now the entity is a year old, my biggest lesson has been that there is far more that unites us than divides us. And, Tennesseans are awesome– and I am not biased at all being a native Nashvillian! We all want to continue to make this community and state better and safer– and we as citizens will bend over backward to help those in need- be they those who lost a family member to gun violence or someone who lost their house in a flood. From a political perspective, I have also learned that we have to find a way to talk to each other versus screaming across the aisle– even if the topic has historically been divisive. I have found (contrary to my original thesis!) that this is the only way forward.

I will take these lessons into CFMT knowing that we are all generally singing from the same hymn book, but may be on a slightly different page at times. Point being, we are all looking for ways to contribute and make this place safe and welcoming for everyone, particularly our most vulnerable.

Embracing Technology and Innovation:

Q: Your role at VC3 DAO involved building infrastructure for venture capital investing with a focus on Web3 and decentralization. How do you envision the integration of emerging technologies supporting philanthropy, and what opportunities do you see for our fundholders to further engage in innovative philanthropic ventures?

Technology is moving quickly, and the innovations and possibilities are fairly mind-blowing. Specifically on the philanthropy side, there are some truly impressive and effective organizations that, for instance, use blockchain in humanitarian crises, increasing the speed and reliability of cash and aid delivery to those who desperately need it. It is worth noting that some of the most inventive tech comes from places where they do not have the luxury of relying on a supportive government or bank system- so we have much to learn from those geographies.

Internally at CFMT, I want to ensure that the tech works for us, and we do not try to reorganize around a bright, shiny object just because it exists– be it AI, web3, etc. Entities that thrive use tech to solve existing problems and to accelerate growth, versus trying to retrofit a cool new toy into your current system. I have seen strategies stall because companies or entities are trying to implement tech they are not ready for. With CFMT, I think technology can provide very helpful transparency for fundholders and the nonprofits we serve; it is just a matter of choosing the right systems and products– all ultimately for the purpose of bringing nonprofits and fundholders closer.

Strategic Communication for Impact:

Q: With your experience as an executive coach at KNP Communications and advisory roles at various organizations, you’ve undoubtedly seen the power of effective communication. How do you plan to enhance CFMT’s communication strategies to better connect with our fundholders, amplify their impact, and support a stronger community of giving?

I first look forward to familiarizing myself with what is working and what areas may have opportunities for growth- and then can begin implementing a strategy. My coaching focuses on navigating the balance between credibility and connection. Whether you are doing a TED Talk or trying to get your kids to go to bed on time, your audience wants to ensure that you are qualified enough to have authority (which my children still doubt!) and that they have enough trust in you to digest it. On the investor side, I have seen the sizable difference in check sizes that are written to people they trust and those they don’t. I want to be a credible representative of the entities that rely on us for assistance. And though the playbook may be slightly different depending on the fundholder, I am hoping to employ a similar strategy when learning what motivates and impassions our fundholders and ultimately helping them connect to their chosen causes.

Vision for the Future:

Q: Looking ahead, what are your immediate priorities for CFMT, and how do you see your role evolving in the long term to meet the changing needs of our community?

Immediate priorities are to get up to speed with the operations of CFMT so I can begin truly contributing. My main descriptors of CFMT are urgency and opportunity. Urgency as we have a statistically older fundholder set, and we are battling a shrinking community foundation market. Opportunity, as we have a highly qualified team at CFMT, a very generous and loyal fundholder set, and are positioned in one of the fastest-growing cities in the US; all of this creates a recipe for growth. We have also historically only tapped a small sector of the Nashville market, and I would like to bring increased racial and ethnic diversity to our fundholder composition and bring the “Nashville newbies” into the CFMT fold. I do not want Nashville to become a “tale of two cities” between the have and the have-nots, and CFMT is perfectly positioned to ensure that does not happen. To paraphrase JFK, I want to see the rising tide that is Nashville truly lift all ships, so all of us can grow together.