CEP Speakers

Staff at CEP are available to speak on a variety of topics such as current giving trends, effective giving, and the role of America’s nonprofit sector in a moment when a strong sector is needed more than ever.

Profile of Ellie Buteau

Phil Buchanan, president of CEP, is a passionate advocate for the importance of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Hired in 2001 as the organization’s first chief executive, Phil has led the growth of CEP into the leading provider of data and insight on philanthropic effectiveness. Phil is author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count, published in 2019 by PublicAffairs and named the “Best Philanthropy Book of the Year” by Inside Philanthropy. He is co-host of a podcast, also called Giving Done Right, with CEP’s Grace Nicolette. Phil is a frequent blogger for the CEP Blog, author of op eds that have appeared in publications such as The Financial Times and The Boston Globe, and a frequent commentator on philanthropy in the media. In 2016, he was named the Nonprofit Times “influencer of the year” and he has been named 10 times to that publication’s “Power and Influence Top 50” list.

Ellie Buteau, Ph.D., vice president, research, leads the creation of CEP’s data-driven research. An expert in research design and statistical analysis, Ellie is an authority in the fields of foundation strategy, performance assessment, and funder-nonprofit relationships. Most recently, she spearheaded the efforts for CEP’s latest research release, Overlooked, a two-part report that spotlights how AAPI and Native American communities are overlooked by funders.

Kevin Bolduc, vice president, assessment and advisory services, leads the creation and delivery of CEP’s performance assessments, including the groundbreaking Grantee Perception Report (GPR), which he helped design after joining CEP in 2001. Kevin is a frequent speaker to funder boards and staff on topics of high-quality grantmaking.

Jen Vorse Wilka leads YouthTruth, a rapidly growing national nonprofit housed within CEP that harnesses student perceptions to help K-12 educators accelerate improvements in their schools and classrooms. Jen speaks frequently to education funders and school and district leaders about making education systems more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the students they serve.

Sonya Heisters, deputy director of YouthTruth, works with educators to thoughtfully engage with student perception data to accelerate meaningful change. Sonya speaks with education funders and school and district leaders about the process of collecting, interpreting, and acting upon stakeholder feedback.

Grace Chiang Nicolette, vice president, programming and external relations, works closely with the President on the organization’s partnerships, outreach efforts, communications, and innovative programming, including oversight of CEP’s biennial conference for foundation executives. Grace is a frequent speaker at conferences and to foundation and nonprofit boards and staff on topics of philanthropic effectiveness and also philanthropy in China.

Austin Long, director, assessment and advisory services, leads relationships with funders using CEP’s assessments and customized advisory engagements and assists in the development of new assessments and services. Austin is a frequent speaker at national conferences and to funder boards and staff on topics of grantee, donor, and foundation staff feedback.

Jimmy Simpson, Jr., Senior Manager of Partnerships at YouthTruth, is a passionate advocate for education and social justice and has been a speaker at some of the largest education conferences in the United States. Jimmy works with his colleague, Dr. Jennifer de Forest, to deliver interactive workshops on YouthTruth research and trends in students’ perceptions of the school experience for school districts, non-profit associations, and foundations. They have recently led sessions for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s education team, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth, a consortia of foundations and school districts across northern California, and other statewide philanthropic partnerships.

Dr. Jennifer de Forest, Ed.D., Senior Manager of Partnerships at YouthTruth, is dedicated to continuous improvement and to helping educators to get better at getting better. Jen works with her colleague, Jimmy Simpson, Jr., to deliver interactive workshops on YouthTruth research and trends in students’ perceptions of the school experience for school districts, non-profit associations, and foundations. They have recently led sessions for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s education team, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth, a consortia of foundations and school districts across northern California, and other statewide philanthropic partnerships.

Have Questions?

Grace Nicolette, Vice President, Programming and External Relations

  • gracen@cep.org
  • 617-208-7103

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