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Lessons from the Field: From Understanding to Impact

December 15, 2010

Three foundations -- the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the Energy Foundation, and the Wilburforce Foundation -- seek to make an impact on some of the most complicated challenges we face: civil rights, renewable energy sources, and wildlife protection. This case study provides an in-depth look at how these foundations cultivate an understanding of their fields and then turn that understanding into more effective grantmaking.

Lessons from the Field: Striving for Transformative Change at the Stuart Foundation

December 1, 2009

The Stuart Foundation's Child Welfare Program provides a compelling example of what can be accomplished by a foundation that has clear goals, coherent, well-implemented strategies, and relevant performance indicators. This case study describes how Stuart implements its strategy to achieve its goal to improve life outcomes for foster youth.

Essentials of Foundation Strategy

December 1, 2009

Identifies defining elements of strategic foundation leaders; characteristics of their plans, communications, grantmaking, and assessments; need to back strategic plans with logic models; and challenges. Includes excerpts of interviews and case summaries.

Aligning for Impact: A Report on a Gathering of Foundation CEOs, Trustees, and Senior Executives

August 31, 2009

Summarizes discussions from a March 2009 conference on foundation performance assessments, elements of effectiveness, accountability and transparency, the impact of social media, aligning for impact at a time of reduced resources, and other issues.

Lessons From the Field: Becoming Strategic: The Evolution of the Flinn Foundation

March 31, 2009

Describes the foundation's process of becoming strategically focused -- setting goals, defining metrics, implementing and communicating changes, partnering for greater impact, and measuring progress -- and the challenges and criticisms it faced.

More Than Money: Making a Difference With Assistance Beyond the Grant

December 17, 2008

Examines foundation efforts beyond grantmaking such as training, advocacy, and new investment strategies to increase grantee effectiveness and impact. Assesses the benefits of such help, grantees' views, and implications. Includes case studies.

Aiming for Excellence at the Wallace Foundation

June 26, 2008

Describes Wallace's efforts to improve its communication and interactions with grantees in response to a Grantee Perception Report, the resulting progress in subsequent reports, and the challenges of interpreting and applying comparative assessment data.

Lessons From the Field: Aiming for Excellence At the Wallace Foundation

January 1, 2008

Discusses the Wallace Foundation's efforts to improve its communications and interactions with grantees in response to results from its Grantee Perception Reports.

Lessons from the Field: Improving the Grantee Experience at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

January 1, 2008

Improving the Grantee Experience at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation describes how leaders at Packard identified and translated the elements of quality interactions and clear communications with grantees into specific criteria. The case study explores how they developed and implemented these criteria, called Grantee Experience Standards, as a way to strengthen the Foundation's relationships with its grantees. It also documents program staff's reactions to the standards and lessons learned from the process.

Beyond the Rhetoric: Foundation Strategy

October 1, 2007

How do foundations maximize their impact? What is the role of strategy? Is your foundation strategic? Are you? This groundbreaking research examines the current state of decision making at large, private, U.S. foundations. Through in-depth interviews with CEOs and program officers, the study examines foundation leaders' view and use of strategy in making decisions. Analysis of their responses reveals four categories of decision makers ranging from nonstrategic to strategic. Beyond the Rhetoric sets the stage for future CEP research on the role of strategy in creating foundation impact, and highlights practical implications for CEOs, trustees, and program staff.