A Note from Phil Buchanan:

As 2013 approaches, I find myself reflecting on the fact that almost exactly a decade ago we introduced the Grantee Perception Report (GPR). The GPR made—and continues to make—a real difference by bringing the candid views of grantees into the corner offices and board rooms of foundations and by encouraging foundations to gauge how they are doing relative to others.

For many, the result has been a jolt that leads to focused change and efforts to improve. That change is happening at foundations big and small.

Today, our work is about much more than the GPR, as you can see in the following update. We’ve developed additional tools that bring the voices of foundation staff, community foundation donors, and the people who should matter most—intended beneficiaries—front and center. And we have a broad research agenda that brings new insights to foundation leaders about what’s effective, drawn from the data sets we’ve developed and other data collection efforts.

While we’re proud of our role supporting foundations’ efforts to make more of an impact on issues, communities, and lives, we recognize there is a long way to go for institutional philanthropy to reach its full potential.

We’re confident it can be done.

The ten year anniversary of the GPR reminds us that foundations—often portrayed by critics as incapable of change—can indeed listen to the perspectives of those on the ground and improve their work.

As 2012 draws to a close, all of us at CEP are inspired to continue our work for the decades to come. Thanks for your engagement, support, and ideas.

Happy holidays,


Majora Carter to Speak at CEP Conference

Urban revitalization strategist Majora Carter is slated to join us as the featured dinner speaker at our 2013 National Conference, Pursuing Results: Effective Foundation Practice.

Majora founded and led Sustainable South Bronx from 2001 to 2008 and she hosts the Peabody Award winning public-radio series The Promised Land. Since 2008, her consulting company, The Majora Carter Group, has exported climate adaptation, urban revitalization, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically under-performing communities. Based on her extensive experience and new work, Majora will share her insights on philanthropy.

Our conference will be held May 21-22 at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, MI. A full program and list of presenters can be found on our website. Don’t forget to register by February 1, 2013 to take advantage of discounted rates.

Empowering Foundation Employees

The title of our most recent report says it all: Employee Empowerment: The Key to Foundation Staff Satisfaction. And our research shows that you can empower foundation employees by providing clear direction, showing devotion, and giving useful performance reviews. You don’t need light workloads or extravagant salaries. In other words, it’s all about leadership.

Download a copy of the report and join the discussion on our blog, featuring a post from report co-author Vice President of Research Ellie Buteau.


Vince Stehle Joins CEP Board of Directors

We’re pleased to announce that longstanding advisor and early supporter of CEP Vince Stehle will join our board in 2013. Vince is the executive director of Media Impact Funders, an association of grantmakers committed to advancing the field of media arts and public interest media funding.

Nathan Hutto Joins YouthTruth

Nathan Hutton joins us in January as the new manager of YouthTruth, our national student survey project. Nathan brings several years of analytical leadership experience, most recently with Horizons for Homeless Children, where he was the senior director of research and evaluation.

Sign Up For 2013 Surveys

There’s still time to sign up to solicit feedback and insight from your foundation’s grantees, staff, and donors through surveys launching in February 2013. Contact Vice President of Assessment Tools Kevin Bolduc to learn more.

CEP Blog Roundup

With a redesigned look and over 70 posts from 36 different authors, The CEP Blog reached a wider audience than ever before in 2012. November and December saw a number of highlights, including:

  • Independent consultant Cindy Gibson’s post “Searching for Certitude in the Nuance of Numbers” sparked an active conversation on the trouble with pursuing data as an end in itself. As one commenter noted, “The cacophony of flatulent chatter about the promise of data and information in the social sector has reached the din of a million nails on a giant cosmic chalkboard.”
  • CEP’s Director of Talent Brian Hughes discussed how CEP incorporates data in its approach to talent management—and the results we’ve seen from those efforts.
  • Guest authors Pratichi Shah, president and CEO of Flourish Talent Management Solutions, and James R. Knickman, president and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation, wrote about how they’ve approached empowering employees.
  • CEP’s Vice President of Assessment Tools Kevin Bolduc reflected on the Grantee Perception Report’s past, present, and new look in a three-part series.

To receive the full slate of blog content as it’s posted, subscribe to our RSS feed or join us on Twitter and Facebook to further engage in the discussion.