Ep 68: Trust-Based Parenting and Philanthropy with Pia Infante

Ep 68: Trust-Based Parenting and Philanthropy with Pia Infante

I’m so honored to bring you this reflective conversation about investing from a place of trust in our dreams of becoming mothers, in our children, and in the causes we believe in, with someone who has been a dear friend and colleague for over a decade, Pia Infante.

As Trustee and Co-Executive Director of the Whitman Institute, Pia leverages decades of multi-sector experience as an educator, facilitator, organizational development consultant and more. In her work at the Institute and as a speaker, she advocates for radically embodied leadership and trust-based philanthropy in settings that have included Harvard Kennedy School: Center for Public Leadership, Ashoka Future Forum, Net Impact, Council on Foundations, International Human Rights Funders Group, and Skoll World Forum to name a few.

Before Pia joined The Whitman Institute, she and I worked together for years as facilitators of a practice called “adult reflection” and also supported one another in our own lives as participants in a women’s reflection circle. I consider her part of my “root system” and so appreciated the opportunity to reconnect and uncover lessons about Pia’s decade-long fertility journey, her relationship with her mother and her ancestors from the Philippines, her experience navigating post-partum depression and the waters of new motherhood, and her perspective about money as energy we can get circulating by investing in organizations and movements over the long-term, from a place of deep, relational trust.

The thread of trust weaved through the entire conversation. I hope you leave this conversation as I did, renewed and inspired to trust the unfolding of your own epic life journey, of your children’s development in their own time and in their own way, and in your own power to invest in the causes that matter to you.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This Episode is Dedicated by:
etsuko Kubo of On The Move

This episode is dedicated to the diverse group of 30 women who are mothers, like etsuko, that work for On the Move (OTM) on behalf of themselves, their children and communities.  OTM’s initiatives offer a powerful and groundbreaking combination of strategies seeking to engage and develop new leaders, collaborate with partners in rigorous systems change, and foster communities that are inclusive and equitable.

Based in Napa, OTM was founded in 2004 with a mission to develop and sustain young people as leaders by building exceptional programs that challenge inequities in their communities. Working for over 14 years to expand throughout the Bay Area, OTM has implemented programs and initiatives that develop the next generations of community leaders who reflect the diversity of the communities in which they live and work.

In partnership with local communities, OTM has explored innovative approaches to closing the achievement gap for children of color, transforming outcomes for former foster youth, promoting health and wellness across communities, and building strong, engaged families.

For over a decade On The Move has created and implemented innovative programming that challenges communities and local leaders to push beyond mediocrity and into excellence. Supported by a track record of results-oriented programming and in partnership with the hundreds of established community partners, OTM works to unite communities and focus on the safety and inclusion of all people.

Learn more about OTM and their work here

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • Lessons learned on Pia and her wife Nzinga’s decade-long fertility journey to having their daughter Laniakea and the extra challenges a queer couple faces on that quest.
  • Being present with our intention without being attached to every facet of the outcome
  • Mindful engagement with our children and not trying to force our kids into a prescribed timeline or way of doing things
  • Whitman Institute’s decision to “spend down,” the concept of money as “energy” and why Pia wishes more of us would get money circulating
  • Thoughtful ways philanthropists and donors can shift the power dynamic with those they fund to be more equitable, building non-transactional relationships, reciprocal relationships, and investing as partners
  • Why a funder’s job is to put gas in the tank of those they fund, not to tell them to use this GPS or follow this particular map.
  • The challenges of post-partum depression and that feeling of love and terror simultaneously Pia experienced as a new mother
  • The power of building new circles of community and how connecting with other mothers struggling with the same issues helped Pia crawl onto a life raft from what felt like a swamp.
  • Investing in our children, ourselves, and in the causes we care about

Resources Connected to this Episode:

Additional Resources from Pia:

This Week’s Challenge:

In this episode, Pia challenges us to tap into the power of money as energy and to get it circulating by making a monthly long-term commitment to a cause we think will contribute to an epic life. I said yes to this by personally committing to a monthly, long-term donation to the organization featured in the episode’s dedication, On the Move, and also decided to engage my children and husband in making a long-term commitment to a cause that matters to them by year-end.

Learn More About Pia:

Pia Infante is the Co-Executive Director of The Whitman Institute, which seeks to leverage the power of trust-based philanthropy to promote more equitable practices in resourcing social good.

As Trustee and Co-Executive Director of The Whitman Institute, Pia draws on decades of multi-sector experience as an educator, facilitator, organizational development consultant, executive coach, non-profit manager, business owner, writer and speaker to advocate for trust-based practice. 

Pia also speaks and teaches on radically embodied leadership and trust-based practice in many settings including Harvard Kennedy School: Center for Public Leadership, Ashoka Future Forum, Opportunity Collaboration, Net Impact, Council on Foundations, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, International Human Rights Funders Group, and Skoll World Forum 2017. 

She proudly serves as the Board Chair for the Center for Media Justice. She is an I.C.F. certified executive leadership coach, holds a M.A. in Education from the New School for Social Research, and a B.A. in Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley.

Connect with Pia:


Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia Ray

My incredible guest, Ashia Ray, and I have set aside October 3rd from noon to 1 pm for a Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia. To register, join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group to find announcements. Click mothersquest.com/comunity to join.

Watch out for a Bonus Episode!

If you want to know what is on Ashia Ray’s bookshelf, join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group where we will be releasing bonus audio to the group next week!

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative

If you identify as a woman podcaster, I hope you’ll join us for the third season of the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative. Our group recently committed to the topic of immigration from a social justice perspective, and we invite you to join us by committing to record an episode that can shine a light on this important issue. To take a look at past seasons and get more information visit www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com.

Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto 

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

On the Move and etsuko Kubo
Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/