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Kathy  LeMay

Kathy LeMay

Founder, President & CEO of Raising Change

Kathy LeMay

Founder, President & CEO of Raising Change


Kathy LeMay has committed her life to global social change. She began at the age of 14 launching an anti-apartheid campaign in her small Massachusetts mill town. Several human rights campaigns later which resulted in a LOT of press in a conventional rural community, she recalls her mother’s nervous boss saying, “Will your daughter be appearing in the newspaper as a REGULAR thing?” Kathy’s mother’s reply: “With any luck, absolutely yes.”

Since then Kathy has traveled the United States and the world listening to, learning from, and raising money for those who’ve survived war, genocide, gender-based violence and climate-induced disasters. In the course of her work, Kathy has raised $175M, led international women’s human-rights organizations, become a sought-after public speaker, a published author, and served as a philanthropic adviser to some of the world’s most renowned philanthropists. It was while she was in these halls of power that Kathy realized that she did not feel as though she had arrived. She felt lost and not found in philanthropy. 

Now, after thirty years in global social change, Kathy is going back to roots, back to where it all began. She’s rediscovering what it means to teach someone to read, to feed families at soup kitchens, and to radically listen to each person’s life and experience, and to share her story. Today, Kathy is capturing people’s stories and words through photojournalism and aims to host her first exhibit in 2020.

Speaker Videos

Seizing the Moment: The Time is Now for Women & Girls

There Is Greatness In You

Money Does Not Own You

Speech Topics

The Space Between Philanthropy & Humility

These days, philanthropy is all over the headlines: billionaires, celebrities, and folks from all walks of life are stepping up to tackle some of our most pressing social issues. It's an unprecedented global effort galvanizing people's time, treasure, and talents to change the course of human history. Indeed, philanthropy has become a part of our global lexicon and our evolving human consciousness. But what does it mean to have an emerging third sector whose success depends on its separation from the characteristics that propelled traditional forms of business—namely ego, personal pride, and traditional definitions of achievement? In this presentation, Kathy LeMay discusses how the elevation of humility, meaningful service, and profound commitment to the greater good can help philanthropy transform the globe.

The Calm in the Storm

When a prominent pastor from North Carolina argued that gays and lesbians should be rounded up and put behind an electrified fence to die out, Kathy LeMay refused to be poisoned by his words and others like them. Called “the calm in the storm” of the fight for gay rights, she urges her audiences to dispel their anger—right as it may be—and instead focus on empowering themselves and other marginalized individuals. “It’s not what people say to you but how you respond to them that defines who you are,” she says. Heralding this hopeful and humanitarian message, she insists that the gay community has an obligation to promote all human rights—not simply gay rights—and ought to use its social and political leverage to do so.

Unleashing the Change Agent Within

These days the news is filled with stories and headlines about philanthropy: big names, big causes, big wallets. We read about Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and giants of industry giving away 50% of their wealth to charitable endeavors. Amid this, what is the role for the rest of us? Raising Change president and The Generosity Plan author Kathy LeMay will inspire your audience to unleash within themselves their unique skills and capacities to change the world. You don't need to be a millionaire to make a difference!

Voice, Activism & Money: Women Creating the World We Know Is Possible

There is a lot of talk about what it will take to end poverty, cure illness, and create a fair world. But what will it take to make change that will last? Author Kathy LeMay will share stories of women throughout the United States and the world who have created a formula for success by combining their voices, activism, and money to create a better world. LeMay’s unique style of speaking will help your audience discover how they can bring together their voice, skills, talents, and resources to create change across the world or in their own backyard.

Going from Success to Significance

Years ago, a colleague of Kathy LeMay’s said, “After a great and productive career, I thought: Is this it? I knew then I was ready to go from success to significance.” What does it mean to live a significant life? How do you know if your life has a positive and powerful impact on the lives of those around you—family, friends, neighbors, and strangers? LeMay will share stories of people who have chosen lives of significance and how their lives have become more abundant and prosperous with deeper connections and less stress. Learn today how you can live a deeply significant life through heartfelt generosity.

Authentic Philanthropy: It's About the Relationship, Not the Transaction

Years ago, Kathy LeMay was pouring over an excel spreadsheet calculating the percentage likelihood that a donor would renew their gift. Sitting there she thought to herself, “how do I not know if they are thinking of making a new gift to this organization?” She suddenly realized that in the throes of wanting to make budget, she had forgotten what my purpose was: connect donors with a mission that can change the world. LeMay then called each of the donors who had made a gift before. She asked three questions that would become the cornerstone of her fundraising leadership. She ended up raising more money than ever before.

In this speech she shares the three questions she offered to donors to help them explore and discover their own change agency and how those three questions helped her step into true mission fulfillment.

Suffering Is Optional: Fundraising Effectively in Challenging Times

The Buddhists say that “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” While we know this instinctively, reduce suffering under the pressures of fundraising is no easy task. What are the best practices for approaching fundraising with focus instead of fear, adrenaline instead in place of anxiety, and determination and not defeat? There are methods that you can put into practice today that can begin to transform how you think about and therefore how you approach fundraising. Suffering needn’t go hand in hand with this high-pressure role. Learn the secrets of high performance fundraising leaders and bring your skills to a whole new level.


Books & Media


The Generosity Plan