Building a New Grant Program from Scratch

Across multiple engagements, I created a new theory of change, grant guidelines, application form, review criteria, and evaluation framework for ACLU’s Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives department, helping the organization reimagine nearly $25 million in annual capacity-building grants to 54 state and local ACLU chapters. Later, I was involved in redesigning the organization’s knowledge management platform to streamline collaboration across 1500+ national and affiliate staff. (2019-20)

Tying Team Accountability to Wise Decisions

I advised the Omidyar Network on the development of its Learning & Impact plan, with particular attention to designing team and organization-wide accountability systems that incentivize smart decision-making habits and practices as an alternative to traditional outcomes-based accountability. In addition, this engagement helped support the creation of a framework to help philanthropic institutions respond to the uncertainty created by the COVID crisis. (2020)

Upskilling the Evaluation Team

I delivered training, decision support services, and executive coaching to help Walton’s Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Department orient its work behind the purpose of supporting strategic decision-making at the foundation. The team had cited my published writing to make the case to the board for this focus as part of its new five-year strategic plan. (2020)

Evaluation Planning for Social Innovation Programs

I helped Melbourne, Australia-based Creative Victoria and its grantees develop eleven separate program strategies and evaluation frameworks for two different grant programs. One program focused on fostering DEI efforts in the creative industries, the other on bringing together creative talent and policy experts to pilot innovative solutions to important social challenges. (2018)

Designing a Complexity-Aware Grant Approval Process

For more than 18 months, I worked with Democracy Fund’s Strategy, Impact and Learning team to bolster organizational capacity for strategic decision-making and develop a framework for risk assessment and mitigation across the organization. Deliverables included a training for 35+ senior and program staff covering forecasting skills and decision analysis, a concept paper, and recommendations to strengthen the approval process for nearly $40M in annual grantmaking. (2018-20)

Forecasting Costs and Benefits

I built a quantitative decision model to help First 5 Monterey County (F5MC) choose whether to renew a major four-year collective impact initiative comprising half of the organization’s budget and almost all of its available grant funds. (2018)

Optimizing a Grant Portfolio for Equity

I worked closely with this small place-based foundation to develop a new, equity-forward theory of change for its grant programs. In addition, we developed “mathless” systems for its four-person staff to make grant decisions with cost-effectiveness in mind. The recommendations were presented to and approved by the organization’s board of directors. (2018-19)

Evidence-Based Decision Support for Global Aid

I helped this $750M global humanitarian nonprofit’s Evidence to Action team redesign the evidence-based decision-making process it uses to select program interventions across more than 40 countries. (2019)

Fostering Coordinated Response to Global Crises

I sourced grantmaking opportunities on behalf of the Philanthropy Commons, a philanthropic collaboration platform funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation featuring the participation of more than a dozen major institutional funders. The Philanthropy Commons originated out of Schmidt Futures’s efforts to foster philanthropic coordination in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. (2021)