Max Freund, MA, MIIM — Partner
Max Freund is a consultant, coach, and evaluator specializing in leadership, strategy, and governance for civic engagement and social impact. Max’s passion for social equity and systems-level changemaking guides his work in communities ranging from Southern California to Africa and Latin America. He specializes in coaching teams, boards, and community collaboratives to apply evidence-based practices in shared leadership, strategic thinking, and program evaluation to increase leadership, collaboration, and organizational effectiveness.
Max’s professional and consulting background includes extensive work in youth development, community health, and higher education. In his 22 years in the social impact sector and 12 years as a consultant, Max has provided counsel on capacity building and leadership programs with over 70 nonprofits and corporations ranging from volunteer-based groups to international NGOs and foundations. Engagements have included organizational assessment, board/governance development, team effectiveness, succession planning, strategic planning, and program evaluation.
Prior to co-founding LF Leadership, Max was a consultant with The Alford Group, a national consulting firm to the nonprofit sector that has assisted more than 1,000 clients nationwide over its 30-year history. There he provided strategic and tactical fundraising counsel to organizations in the religious, K-12, higher education, and community development sectors. Previously, Max served as Assistant Director of World Service at YMCA of the USA, where he carried out a nationwide campaign raising $1.2 million annually for international programs and partnerships of the Y. He also administered grantmaking to overseas YMCAs for organizational and program innovation. Before that, he directed the Cape Town, South Africa site of Play for Peace, a youth leadership development and intercultural reconciliation program, and worked in the national office of the American Lung Association and in the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University’s School of Public Health.
Max currently holds an appointment as Senior Associate for Leadership Development and Evaluation at the Claremont Evaluation Center, an applied social science research institute of Claremont Graduate University committed to applying transdisciplinary scholarship and evidence-based best practices for continuous improvement of organizations and communities. There, he has served as an advisor and facilitator of stakeholder engagement processes for strategic planning engagements with several local K-12 school districts. He is currently part of a team evaluating a 5-year statewide college success and leadership program using a cohort-based support model with disadvantaged students on seven campuses at three regional sites in Washington State.
In his volunteer service, Max is past Co-Chair of the San Bernardino County Community Vital Signs Initiative. He served on the Vital Signs Initiative’s MAPP Planning Committee that developed a countywide Community Transformation Plan to promote health and well-being through systems change and value-based service approaches. He is also Past Chair of the San Bernardino County Capacity Building Consortium, a unique group of funders and capacity builders advocating for strategic funding and support services to make the county’s nonprofit sector more effective, responsive, innovative, and sustainable. During his chairmanship of the Capacity Building Consortium, he led the group’s production of an economic impact study on the value added by the nonprofit sector and a systems-level countywide Capacity Building Strategic Plan. He also serves as a member of the Research to Practice Committee and Governance Affinity Group of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, as well as a Leader in Training with The Mankind Project.
Max is a Certified Governance Trainer for BoardSource, the leading national resource center on nonprofit governance. This certification recognizes his mastery of BoardSource methodology, curriculum, and theories, and authorizing him to deliver BoardSource’s five core board trainings on board roles and responsibilities, fundraising, structure, recruitment, and performance. Max is also certified by the TCC Group as a facilitator of their CCAT (Core Capacity Assessment Tool) for use in nonprofit organizational capacity building. He has received training in numerous other consulting and facilitation tools and techniques.
Max is a former Teaching Faculty in the Masters in Social Impact program at Claremont Lincoln University. He holds a M.A. in Organizational Behavior from Claremont Graduate University and a Master’s degree in Intercultural and International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, as well as a Certificate in Fundraising Management from DePaul University.
He is currently completing his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Claremont Graduate University’s School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, conducting his dissertation research on shared leadership within nonprofit boards of directors. He is a member of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, ARNOVA, the Academy of Management, and the American Evaluation Association.
Having lived in India, Africa, and Central America, Max loves exploring the multicultural musical and culinary landscape of the Los Angeles region. He also enjoys cycling the roads and hiking the trails of the San Gabriel foothills.