“In a year that saw political polarization and strife, we were also reminded, in 2015, that progress and positive change happens.
Marriage equality became a reality and, when you look closely, it turns out that effective foundations were instrumental players in this effort. Hope, too, for change and even bipartisan consensus was apparent in the area of criminal justice reform. Here, again, several foundations played a key role. While we tend to focus on where foundations have fallen short, it’s important to remember that foundations can and do make a significant difference, working with their grantees and other key partners.
Whether nationally, internationally, or locally, foundations matter. Their effectiveness matters. And that’s what the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is all about.”
So write CEP Board Chair Grant Oliphant and President Phil Buchanan in an introduction letter at the beginning of CEP’s 2015 Annual Report, just published earlier this month. 2015 was a busy and productive year for CEP:
- We published Assessing to Achieve High Performance: What Nonprofits are Doing and How Foundations Can Help, which shows that most nonprofits receiving funding from large foundations collect and use information about their performance, yet many want to gather additional — or better — data.
- As part of an operational benchmarking initiative, we published two reports: on foundation governance and the alignment between mission and investment practices, respectively.
- We provided 87 assessments to 75 different funders in 27 states and five countries, including 49 Grantee Perception Reports.
- We worked with individual and groups of funders on eight different engagements through our data-driven advisory services.
- Our YouthTruth initiative, which harnesses student perceptions to help educators accelerate improvements in their K-12 schools and classrooms, had its strongest year ever, surveying 82,703 students to help schools, districts, states, and education funders improve their work through listening to the voices of intended beneficiaries.
- More than 300 foundation leaders came together in San Francisco in May for our biennial national conference, Leading Effective Foundations.
Each of these pieces of our work is designed to help provide funders with the research, data, and insights to help them be as effective as they can be. It’s what has driven us in our 15-year history, and what continues to drive us in 2016. I invite you to download and read the report in its entirety here.
Ethan McCoy is senior writer, development and communications, at CEP.