2016: A Year in Review at CEP

Ethan McCoy

2016 marked CEP’s 15th anniversary. In the decade and a half since its founding, CEP has published nearly 40 pieces of research, worked closely with more than 300 funders through our assessments and advisory services, hosted six national conferences, and surveyed more than a half a million students through our YouthTruth initiative.

In 2016, a year of political change in the U.S. which has led foundations to think deeply about their work and role, we at CEP continued our work to help foundations understand and improve their effectiveness. A summary of our activities is included in CEP’s just-published 2016 Annual Report.

Highlights include:

  • We published Sharing What Matters: Foundation Transparency, a research report which finds that foundations are doing well in certain areas when it comes to transparency, such as sharing information on their grantmaking processes and goals and strategies, but are less transparent when it comes to how they assess their own performance and share lessons learned from what has worked and what has not.
  • In partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation (CEI), we completed the most comprehensive data collection effort to date on evaluation practices at foundations, publishing what we collected in a report titled Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices.
  • We surveyed and interviewed more than 200 foundation leaders to collect a snapshot of their views on the changing landscape in which they work, practices they believe hold the most promise for helping foundations reach their potential, and the most pressing issues that will influence foundation philanthropy in the coming years, publishing our findings in The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective.
  • Accompanying our Future of Foundation Philanthropy research, we published a collection of essays from foundation CEOs reflecting on its findings. Contributors included Darren Walker of Ford Foundation, Carol Larson of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Stuart Comstock-Gay of the Delaware Community Foundation, among others.
  • We worked with 72 clients — in 28 states and eight countries — on 88 different assessment and advisory services engagements, including 50 Grantee Perception Reports (GPRs).
  • We released two explainer videos featuring foundation leaders speaking to the power of CEP’s work and the GPR, published a long-form essay by Phil Buchanan on the big issues facing foundation philanthropy, and continued to host a dialogue on effective philanthropy on the CEP blog.
  • Our YouthTruth initiative surveyed more than 148,000 students, while expanding its services to include new family and staff surveys and launching a new series of publications sharing findings from analyses of its aggregate dataset of student perceptions.

I invite you to download and read the report in its entirety here to learn more about CEP and our work. If you have any questions about how any pieces of our work help funders better define, assess, and improve their effectiveness — and, as a result, their intended impact — don’t hesitate to reach out.

Ethan McCoy is senior writer, development and communications, at CEP.

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