Steve Lew is a senior project director at CompassPoint. He helps positional and emerging leaders increase their effectiveness in fundraising, governance, leadership, strategy, and multicultural group development. Steve brings over 18 years of training and consulting experience to each of his projects, along with a decade of hands-on experience in managing nonprofits. Steve was CompassPoint’s development director and a senior manager for several years, and previously served as executive director and development director in HIV and cultural arts nonprofits in San Francisco.
Steve’s work at CompassPoint has been deeply connected to building the strength of organizations, leaders, and networks in communities of color. He has co-designed and led the Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color and the Next Generation Leaders of Color Program and has been a fundraising and leadership coach for many of these participants for over a decade. He deeply appreciates nonprofit leaders who are on a path to align their personal values, practices, and impact more closely to the change they are working toward in their organizations.
His work has also been informed by his experience in developing and leading richly diverse nonprofit organizations, advocacy coalitions, and planning bodies for over a decade in response to the AIDS and HIV epidemic in San Francisco. As the executive director of an HIV service organization, he led the growth of their direct services and advocacy work from a volunteer operation to a thriving organization with an annual budget of $1.8 million and an annual donor and major gifts program rooted in the San Francisco's Asian & Pacific Islander community. He also served for five years on President Clinton’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council as a voice for culturally competent community-based programs and for people living with HIV. These experiences sharpened his own understanding of the unique role that community-based organizations and constituent advocates can play in changing policies and systems to be more equitable and to serve the common good.
Steve was born in Watsonville, grew up in Sacramento, and lived in Los Angeles and Long Beach before settling with his life partner in the Outer Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. He volunteers as a fundraiser for the Chinese Progressive Association and as a trainer for Class Action. He has previously served as a board leader for Project Inform, the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, and continues to serve as an advisory council member for the Horizons Foundation and the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: Printmaking
California State University Long Beach
Certification: Professional and Personal Coach
Leadership That Works
- CounterPulse: Steve worked on a team of CompassPoint staff to support this arts organization as it developed its organizational strategy and a theory of change. Steve facilitated conversations with the organizational planning committee and board to help them clarify and articulate their program strategies and values.
- Alliance for Community Transformations: Over two-and-a-half years, Steve worked with the board and staff of this domestic violence organization to create a different leadership structure that distributed leadership across the organization and gave more staff members opportunities for leadership and responsibility. This helped the organization build bench strength as they were growing and integrating new services and expanding regional impact. Watch the video to learn more about Steve’s work with the Alliance.
- Public Advocates: Steve provided consultation to this nonprofit law firm in multicultural organizational development as they created a plan for staff development and community engagement as well as tested out new workplace practices to strengthen communication about social and cultural differences. Learn more about Steve’s consultation and facilitation in multicultural organizational development in the report Multicultural Organizational Development in Nonprofit Organizations.
- Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles: Steve supported this nonprofit as they developed a fundraising strategy and coached their development team to evaluate development strategies and implement major gifts cultivation.
- "5 Peer Coaching Supports Fundraisers"
- "In Honor of Cesar Chavez"
- "Talking About Taxes" (from Ella’s Voice, blog of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights)
- Co-author, "Translating Training to Cultural Change: Two Case Studies," Grassroots Fundraising Journal, 2012
- Co-author, Multicultural Organizational Development in Nonprofit Organizations, 2011
- Co-author, Building Knowledge on the Fundraising Approaches of Nonprofits Based in Communities of Color, 2009
- Co-author, Nonprofits Talking Taxes Curriculum Toolkit, 2013
- Co-author, “What About Next Generation Leaders of Color?” Nonprofit Connect, 2009
“Thanks very much to Steve Lew for his help and facilitation. We went a long way as a team as a result of this retreat.”