September 09, 2019

Michael Bigley Joins Venable LLP as Director of The Venable Foundation, Inc., Its Philanthropic Arm

4 min

WASHINGTON, DC (September 9, 2019) – Venable LLP is pleased to announce that Michael Bigley has joined the firm as director of The Venable Foundation, Inc., the philanthropic arm of the firm. Mr. Bigley has more than 18 years of experience developing responsive strategies for nonprofit organizations and institutional grantmakers to impact local communities in meaningful ways.

Mr. Bigley most recently served as the deputy director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. During his tenure, the Commission increased total grant dollars to nonprofit organizations and individual practitioners from $14M to $25M, making it the largest government funder of the arts per capita when compared with other states and U.S. territories. While at the agency, Mr. Bigley spearheaded grantmaking strategy to ensure equity in funding, oversaw all internal operations, and represented the agency as part of a three-year interagency collaboration to develop the first Cultural Plan for DC, which established policy and investment recommendations for the government to build upon the city's cultural community.

Before this, Mr. Bigley served as the program officer for the arts and humanities, capacity building, and HIV/AIDS with The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, one of the largest private foundations focused on the metropolitan DC region. In this role, he managed a funding portfolio of $5M in grants to 100 nonprofit organizations and served as the chair of the Washington Grantmakers Arts and Humanities Working Group and vice chair of the Washington AIDS Partnership, a funder collaborative that is working to end AIDS in the District of Columbia.

Lindsay Meyer, president of The Venable Foundation, Inc., said, "The Venable Foundation allows us as a firm to ensure that our commitment to service reaches beyond our clients' business and legal objectives, and into the communities in which we live and work. We are thrilled that Michael has joined us in our mission and look forward to expanding the foundation's impact with him at the helm."

Robert Waldman, vice president of The Venable Foundation, Inc., said, "Michael brings a wealth of experience managing grant portfolios and collaborating with leaders throughout the community to expand the impact of nonprofit organizations. His thorough knowledge and innovative leadership style will be a major asset as we continue to grow the foundation in service to our firm's communities."

Commenting on his move to Venable, Mr. Bigley said, "I am excited to join the Venable Foundation in this important role. I have seen firsthand the power of philanthropy to transform communities and organizations, and it is an honor to steward Venable's resources to deepen its impact in the regions we serve."Mr. Bigley received an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute in 2009, his M.S. in Childhood Literacy from Saint Bonaventure University in 2002, and his B.S. in Elementary Education, Social Studies, from Saint Bonaventure University in 2000.

The Venable Foundation, Inc. was established in 1983 to support a wide variety of charitable, civic, and cultural endeavors, as well as public interest law needs in our communities. In 2017, the Foundation awarded one-time impact grants totaling $750,000 to five legal aid organizations in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Indeed, in the last 10 years, the Venable Foundation granted more than $25 million to worthy organizations that provide critical support to those in need. These include children's services and funding for disadvantaged families and individuals; homeless shelters and food programs; community organizations, hospitals, hospices, and local chapters of national health organizations; and educational, artistic, and cultural events and organizations. The Foundation is funded by the partners of Venable LLP. For decades, the Foundation was led by former Venable chair and former attorney general of the United States Benjamin R. Civiletti. His leadership and stewardship of the Foundation set the standard for Venable's long tradition of unparalleled giving.


Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC that serves as primary counsel to a worldwide clientele of large and mid-sized organizations, nonprofits, high-net-worth entrepreneurs, and other individuals. With more than 850 professionals across the country, including California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, the firm strategically advances its clients'' objectives in the U.S. and around the globe. Venable advises clients on a broad range of business and regulatory law, legislative affairs, complex litigation, and the full range of intellectual property disciplines. For more information, please visit