Transparency-Performance2Are Foundations and Nonprofits Seeing Eye to Eye? New CEP Research in The Foundation Review

Arguing that foundations and nonprofits need to understand each other’s perspectives in order to work productively together, CEP’s Vice President of Research Ellie Buteau and Senior Research Analysts Ramya Gopal and Mark Chaffin look at the perceptions of nonprofit and foundation CEOs on crucial issues in philanthropy in an article published in The Foundation Review last month. Buteau and her co-authors analyzed survey data from a variety of CEP research efforts for the article, entitled, “Transparency, Performance Assessment, and Awareness of Nonprofits: Are Foundations and Nonprofits Seeing Eye to Eye?

The article discusses the alignment, or lack thereof, between the perspectives of nonprofit and foundation CEOs on four aspects of foundation practice: foundation transparency with the nonprofits they fund, foundation support for nonprofit performance assessment, foundations’ awareness of nonprofits’ challenges and foundations’ use of resources to help address nonprofits’ challenges.

Gopal and Chaffin offer a summary of the findings in this video.


Why Collect Student Feedback?

In K-12 education improvement efforts, the student perspective is often missing. Research has shown that student perceptions are linked to academic outcomes, so for education funders and school leaders, it is vital to hear from students themselves about what is and is not working in their schools.

High Tech High – a leading charter network of twelve schools in San Diego – has used the YouthTruth Student Survey, a project of CEP, to gather student feedback to inform instructional, leadership, and school model changes since 2011. This new case study provides a compelling example of the meaningful changes that High Tech High school leaders made with YouthTruth’s actionable data from their students.

To learn more about YouthTruth’s work with school districts and networks, please email Jen Vorse Wilka, director of partnerships at YouthTruth.


A Juggling Act: The Foundation CEO Role

Artful-Jugglers_sliderPrecious little has been written about the unique challenges of being a  foundation CEO, argues Fay Twersky in a new report that elaborates on research she first presented at CEP’s May 2013 biennial conference in Detroit. Twersky, director of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group, explores what it takes to be successful in her piece, Foundation Chief Executives as Artful Jugglers. The article, published by CEP, is the first in what will be an occasional series of papers by authors outside the organization on the topic of foundation effectiveness.

“Fay’s piece lays out what makes being a foundation CEO uniquely challenging and she is able to quote – sometimes by name, sometimes not – CEOs discussing those challenges in startlingly forthright terms,” writes CEP President Phil Buchanan in an introductory letter to the report. “The result is a piece that should be read by every new CEO, every foundation executive that aspires to be a CEO, and every foundation board member charged with hiring and assessing the performance of a CEO.”


CEP on the Road

CEP President Phil Buchanan will discuss CEP’s research on what it takes to increase community foundation donor satisfaction at the Advancement Network 2014 Annual Conference in Cleveland, OH on October 19. For more information, and to register, visit the conference website.

CEP Director of Assessment Tools Austin Long will speak on how to “Improve Performance by Listening to Your Grantees,” at the 2014 Animal Grantmakers Conference on November 19 in Phoenix, AZ. Long will be joined by representatives from the Humane Research Council and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations as he discuss CEP’s research report Working Well With Grantees: A Guide for Foundation Program Staff. More information about the conference and registration is available here. 


New Faces at CEP


CEP welcomed three new Research Analysts to the Assessment Tools team in July. Chloe Wittenberg, who recently graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Political Science, will be working in CEP’s Cambridge office. Jen Cole, who recently earned a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Stanford University, and Matthew Leiwant, who recently graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Government and Mathematics, will join the team in CEP’s San Francisco office. Ethan McCoy, who recently graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in History, joined CEP’s Cambridge office in September as a Development and Communications Writer, as well.


CEP’s VP – Finance to Leave After 7 Years 

paulhVice President – Finance Paul Heggarty will leave CEP after seven years of what CEP President Phil Buchanan described as “outstanding service” to the organization.

In a blog post, Buchanan noted that CEP is “a very different place today, thanks in no small part to him.” Buchanan observed that, “Paul’s contributions to CEP would be difficult to overstate. He brought us to a new level of sophistication in our financial management; oversaw for a number of years our HR and administration functions; [and] did the projections and scenario planning that have allowed us to steer through…2009’s downturn.””


Seeking Your Feedback on CEP Research

CEP seeks your feedback on our recent research reports in order to understand and improve our research. If you read How Far Have We Come? Foundation CEOs on Progress and Impact, please respond to this short survey on the CEP website. Likewise, if you read What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving, please provide your feedback by filling out this survey. Finally, if you read Working Well with Grantees: A Guide for Foundation Program Staff, please respond to this survey on the CEP website.


Save the Date – CEP’s 2015 National Conference!


Leading Effective Foundations, CEP’s 2015 National Conference, will be held May 20-21, 2015 in San Francisco. The conference is the place for foundation CEOs, VPs, and trustees to discuss foundation effectiveness and hear from exemplars in the field. More details about the agenda and registration information will be available soon on the CEP website.


CEP is Hiring!

CEP is currently seeking an experienced and motivated Research Manager to join its Cambridge, MA office. Reporting to the Vice President of Research, the Manager will lead and support all aspects of complex research projects, from the conceptualization and design to the execution, analysis, and presentation of results both internally and externally. The Research Manager will mentor and train junior staff, as well as work collaboratively with departments across CEP. The successful candidate will have significant training and experience in research design and statistical analysis. He/she will also be detail-oriented, flexible, and passionate about creating positive social change.

For more information and to apply, see the full posting here.