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Effective Matters: January 2024

Date: January 31, 2024

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Watch Now: CEP2023 Plenary Recordings

You can now watch CEP2023 plenary session recordings on CEP’s YouTube channel!

Ranging from philanthropy’s role in strengthening democracy to the future of the global climate crisisthe effects of MacKenzie Scott’s giving on the philanthropic landscape to how funders and public institutions can partner to tackle big issues like closing the racial wealth gap, we are pleased to share this set of video recordings from our recent conference with you.


New Report from YouthTruth: Making Sense of Learning Math

YouthTruth, an initiative of CEP, surveyed more than 89,000 students to better understand student experiences and perceptions about learning math. The report “Making Sense of Learning Math: Insights from the Student Experience,” released earlier this month, addresses questions such as how high school students perceive the math learning experience, how they see themselves as math learners, and what insights they offer for creating more engaging math education. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the report will inform the Foundation’s efforts to improve math education across the U.S.

The findings of the report reveal that:

  1. Many high school students perceive “school math” or “education math” as lacking inherent value and as disconnected from their practical needs. Students express a strong desire to acquire “real” math skills that will empower them to pursue the future they envision for themselves.
  2. Students who have strong math identities and positive math learning experiences describe their relationships with their teachers as an important source of their determination to learn math.
  3. Students explain that their desire to learn math is inhibited by uninteresting work that dampens their intrinsic motivation to acquire math skills.

Read the Report

YouthTruth Executive Director Jen Vorse Wilka to Leave Role This February

CEP’s Jen Vorse Wilka announced she will be leaving her position as executive director of YouthTruth at end of February 2024. Wilka has led YouthTruth through a period of rapid growth since she became executive director in 2015. She first joined CEP in 2011.

“Jen Vorse Wilka has been a transformational leader,” said CEP President Phil Buchanan. “She has provided strategic clarity and direction and taken YouthTruth from a promising idea to a national force.”

“I’ve cherished the work that we do, the incredible people I’ve had the privilege to work with, and the mission we strive towards,” said Wilka. “I’m leaving with the utmost confidence in the team to carry forward this critical work uplifting student voice.”

YouthTruth’s Director of Organizational Learning and Communications Jen de Forest, Ed.D. will serve as interim executive director as CEP and YouthTruth launch a national search for new leadership in the coming months.

Continuing the Conversation: Emerging Impacts of MacKenzie Scott’s Giving

MacKenzie Scott’s large, unrestricted gifts are having dramatically positive effects on recipient organizations and the communities they serve and have so far rarely resulted in the challenges or difficulties that many predicted, according to CEP’s recent report, Emerging Impacts: The Effects of MacKenzie Scott’s Large, Unrestricted Gifts.

Since its release, the report has sparked new and continued discussions in the sector about the implications of and lessons to be learned from Scott’s approach to philanthropy. You can find some of those conversations in the following resources:

  • CEP’s recent webinar featuring a presentation of the report as well as a discussion with nonprofit and philanthropy leaders.
  • This series of posts on the CEP blog in which leaders of foundations, philanthropy serving organizations, and nonprofits speak to the findings of the research and their own experiences with Scott’s giving.

Finally, find the full report here.

More Opportunities to Listen to Your Stakeholders in 2024

To respond to increasing demand, CEP has added two more survey rounds to the schedule in 2024. This means there are even more opportunities and greater flexibility for grantmakers seeking to gather actionable feedback via CEP’s assessment tools — the Grantee Perception ReportDonor Perception Report, and Staff Perception Report — or Advisory Services this year. Reach out now to find out more and learn how you can gather actionable feedback in 2024.

Latest on the CEP Blog

What We Learn When We Listen: Student Feedback and Foundation Strategy
“he listening practices underpinning this project and these findings are evergreen and apply well beyond those working and funding in education. Perceptual feedback from those we seek to help is an integral part of developing, iterating, and improving philanthropic strategy across many domains.” – Jen Vorse Wilka, YouthTruth

Reparations is an Investment in the Future
“hilanthropy’s role in reparations is not to replace the federal government in providing the scale of redress and racial healing the nation needs. Nor are philanthropic grants to Black-led organizations reparations. However, our research highlights three key roles for funders…” – Tonyel Edwards, Cora Daniels, and Ivy Nyayieka, The Bridgespan Group

10 (Additional) Lessons Learned for Funders Considering the Grantee Perception Report
“The GPR is the gift that keeps on giving to the whole organization. In contrast to research that is relevant to only one team or skimmed by a few staff, GPR stats and comments have fueled Luminate team discussions and decisions for the past three years.” – Laura Bacon, Luminate

10 Things Your Grantees Might Be Saying About You
“What follows is a list of 10 quotes from CEP Grantee Perception Reports that bring into focus the rich perspectives that nonprofits provide about funders, and how important these sentiments can be in reframing how best to listen to partners, build relationships, and measure impact.” – Joseph Lee, CEP

Learning from Grantee Feedback: Policy, Process, and Cultural Changes That Make a Difference
“Between and 2017, CEP administered the on behalf of Ford four times … and our results were consistently disappointing. Our scores were rarely higher than average. And on the dimensions related to our relationships with grantees our scores were stubbornly in the bottom third, if not fifth, on most indicators.” – Luc Athayde-Rizzaro and Bess Rothenberg, Ford Foundation

CEP Recommends

A special report on philanthropy from The Economist offers a sweeping look at trends and movements in philanthropy, from the no-strings giving of MacKenzie Scott to the rise of donor-advised funds to the effective altruism movement and more. Find it here >>

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