CEP offers data-driven, customized advising to funders — including individual funders and donors, groups and collaboratives, and philanthropy-serving organizations — to help them better understand and improve their effectiveness.

Advisory engagements leverage CEP’s deep knowledge about philanthropy and what matters to foundation stakeholders. We help funders answer important questions regarding their work, identify and address existing challenges, learn and share with their peers, and hear from their valued constituents.

Drawing from more than a decade of experience designing surveys, conducting interviews, building comparative data sets, analyzing data, and facilitating discussions, CEP conducts its work with a high level of rigor and a focus on providing actionable insights.

If you’re interested in exploring a customized advisory project, please be in touch with Mena Boyadzhiev to learn more about how we can support your work.


CEP has been a critically important resource to the Hilton Foundation as we set out, a decade ago, to become a more strategically effective foundation. Recently our foundation has been undertaking a review to prepare for future growth. In 2017, we asked CEP to be a partner to help us reflect on our current position in the philanthropic ecosystem and how our approach can help us maximize our future impact, while living our founder’s values.

CEP has played an instrumental role in helping us address these questions. Their great listening and thoughtful questions, unique knowledge of philanthropy, and excellent analysis brought new insight and helped us chart a path forward.

Edmund J. Cain, Vice President, Grant Programs

Customized Surveys and
Focus Groups of Key Stakeholders

CEP surveys diverse groups of foundation stakeholders on their perceptions of a funder’s impact, communications, grantmaking practice, and more.

Recent Projects

Recent Projects

  • Focus groups with grantees and foundation staff to identify opportunities to improve funder-grantee relationships
  • Survey of policymakers and community business leaders about a foundation’s local economic-development strategy
  • Assessment of the expertise and perceptions of impact of a foundation’s advisors
  • Review of the perspectives and experiences of members involved in designing and guiding a collective planning effort
  • Survey of stakeholders from the private, nonprofit, or public sector, including academia and other foundations
  • Survey of a regional association’s membership to inform strategic planning efforts


CEP provides groups of peer funders support in collecting and sharing internal operational and structural data.

Recent Projects
Recent Projects
  • Support for a group of leaders from more than a dozen foundations in sharing and understanding the key structures and strategic priorities related to their teams’ roles
  • Facilitation of the open sharing of organizational structures across a confidential group of close peers; providing profiles, analysis and identification of commonalities and differences in practice


CEP works with boards and staff as they develop plans to implement effective practices.

Recent Projects
Recent Projects
  • Investigation of what it would take for a funder to move from a more responsive to strategic grantmaking approach
  • Analysis of the level of rigor in a corporate funder’s due diligence process, including comparisons to peer funders
  • Assistance in the design of a funder’s new general operating support program

Assisting in the Creation
of Performance Indicators

CEP structures efforts to develop and use organizational performance indicators to help funders track progress, learn from experience, and modify plans as appropriate.

Recent Projects
Recent Projects
  • Review of organizational scorecards for comprehensiveness and utility
  • Synthesis of a funder’s comprehensive history of performance feedback from multiple CEP assessments; identification of themes and trends over time; creation of a discussion guide for a board strategic planning retreat
  • Assistance in identifying the starting points to collect key information to track a funder’s progress across programmatic and organizational initiatives

Building Capacity

CEP designs and delivers workshops and group learning opportunities for boards and staff at one foundation or with groups of foundations.

CEP’s interactive Working Well with Grantees workshop helps foundation staff understand and act on the research-based practices that define and support strong relationships between funders and grantees. Including profiles of exemplars, this workshop is appropriate for affinity groups, regional associations, or individual funders.

Overall Assessment
of Effectiveness

Using CEP’s definition of foundation effectiveness as a framework, CEP collects and analyzes the information and examples a funder needs to determine its capacity, effectiveness, and opportunities for improvement.


Mena Boyadzhiev


617-492-0800 x158

Contact Mena

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