Buff Kavelman founded the Kavelman Group Philanthropic Advisors (TKG) in 1997 to serve individual donors, foundations, and nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, board development, philanthropic initiatives, and external affairs. She is recognized for increasing organizational capacity, launching new initiatives, building effective partnerships, and raising institutional profiles, and she has over 25 years of experience in the philanthropic world, as both a funder and a nonprofit executive.
Prior to establishing TKG full-time in 2007, Kavelman was executive director of University Programs and Events in the president's office at Columbia, where she was also a member of the senior management team in University Development and Alumni Relations during the $4 billion campaign. Under her direction, Columbia's World Leaders Forum was cited by The New Yorker as a leading center for international exchange of ideas on global challenges. Before joining Columbia, Kavelman launched and directed the Smithsonian's National Design Awards at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, called one of the most prestigious awards in the United States by The Wall Street Journal. She also served as director of program development at the American Academy in Rome at the height of its centennial campaign, where she oversaw the Rome Prize Fellowship competition and all other public programs.
Kavelman served as a Center management panelist in 2009.