About Sharilyn

Sharilyn Hale - Watermark Philanthropic Counsel

Sharilyn Hale, M.A., CFRE, President
Photo: Michael T Photography

Sharilyn helps those who want to make the world, or even just their community, better. She enables philanthropists and their families to unearth and achieve their philanthropic goals, and supports social profit organizations to deepen their performance even through times of change and transition. With a 20+ year career spanning the philanthropic sector, she draws on expertise in philanthropic strategy, family engagement, organizational development, and board governance.

Serving clients across Canada and the Caribbean, Sharilyn is an advisor with the NYC-based 21/64 Foundation to support multi-generational family philanthropy. She is also a governance advisor and trainer with BoardSource and member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

With a deep history and track record in the local and international philanthropic communities, she serves on the Board of the Toronto Public Library Foundation and is a leadership volunteer for the Imagine Canada accreditation program for charities in Canada – and coaches organizations to achieve these standards.  She was a Provincial Appointee to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is Canada’s largest grant-making foundation; and having begun her career as a professional fundraiser, Sharilyn is Past Chair of CFRE International, the global credential which sets the standard for effective and accountable fundraising.

She is an invited speaker and educator to professional communities around the world in the areas of philanthropy, board governance, and fund development. She has written numerous publications and is co-author of the classic text “Achieving Excellence in Fundraising” (3rd ed. 2011, Wiley), and “Excellence in Fundraising in Canada” (2011, Civil Sector Press), as well as “Giving in the Caribbean” for the Palgrave Handbook on Global Philanthropy (2015).

Sharilyn is a recognized expert in women’s philanthropy and for her ability to combine on-the-ground practical experience with the best of philanthropic theory and research. With an MA in Philanthropy & Development herself, Sharilyn was among a group of leaders to initiate Canada’s first graduate degree program in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University.  A Research Associate with the Centre for Global Generosity, she is currently earning a doctorate in leadership, where her research focuses on governance and succession in family foundations.


Sharilyn’s network within the local and global philanthropic and nonprofit communities is extensive. To best meet your needs, Sharilyn is able to easily and effectively draw on or partner with other world-leading experts. She is also affiliated with the following organizations:

board source trainer logo
institute of corporate directors logo
21 64 logo
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