2014 Topics & Panelists: Scroll down for summaries

  • Session 1:
    Building Blocks: An Introduction
    featuring Fay Twersky, Tess Reynolds,
    and Kathy Reich
  • Session 2:
    The Importance of Business Plans and Models
    featuring Jehan Velji, Sam Cobbs,
    and Kenji Treanor
  • Session 3:
    Deepening Your Case for Support
    featuring Jen Ratay, Lance Fors,
    Irene Wong, and Mara Low
  • Session 4:
    Strategic Conversations that
    Accelerate Change

    featuring Lisa Kay Solomon and Diana Scearce
  • Session 5:
    Leadership and Culture
    featuring Heather McLeod Grant, Erin Ganju,
    and Vincent Pan

Registration Now Open!

Session 2: Collective Impact for Driving Systems Change
Framework and Case Studies


Space for 165 Participants | Tickets $20 | Click to Register through EventBrite


Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Sobrato Center for Nonprofits: Redwood Shores

350 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City, CA 94065 Map

Jeff Edmonson,
Managing Director, StriveTogether
Ann Mathieson, Founding Director, Marin Promise Partnership
Joe Herrity, Lead Project Manager, Opportunity Youth Partnership
moderated by
Kavitha Sreeharsha,
Program Officer, Sobrato Family Foundation

9:00 am – 9:30 am Networking & Continental Breakfast

9:30 am – 11:15 am Program


In recent years Collective Impact has been a top nonprofit buzzword, all the while the many facets of the approach have not been fully understood.


Jeff Edmondson, Managing Director of StriveTogether based in Ohio, will help deepen our understanding of the potential and results of the Collective Impact approach. He will share about his organization’s work to support communities across the country to create local education ecosystems to support children and youth from cradle to career. These communities use data to consistently implement and improve strategies through continuous improvement and collective impact.


Two case studies will bring these frameworks to life — Marin Promise Partnership and Opportunity Youth Partnership based in Santa Clara County. Ann Matheison and Joe Herrity, who lead these efforts respectively, will contribute to a panel discussion, moderated by Kavitha Sreeharsha of the Sobrato Family Foundation.


Our Speakers


Jeff Edmondson is Managing Director of StriveTogether, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. Prior to founding StriveTogether, Edmondson was the founding executive director of the StrivePartnership in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, a partnership of postsecondary, K-12, business, philanthropic, non-profit, and civic organizations aimed at increasing education outcomes for students throughout the region. StrivePartnership is one of the most notable collective impact initiatives and Edmondson has drawn on the work of the Partnership to develop StriveTogether and the national Cradle to Career Network.



Ann Mathieson has a background in marketing, education and philanthropy. She is the founding director of the Marin Promise Partnership, a cradle to career collective impact initiative focused on closing the achievement gap in Marin County.  She recently retired as a trustee and Board Chair of the Marin Community Foundation, which oversees the billion dollar Buck Trust and over 300 donor advised funds. Ann worked for 15 years as a marketing executive, first at Hallmark Cards and then with Collagen Corporation, a bio-medical start-up. She has been a two-term trustee at Marin Academy, an independent high school and was a co-founder and President of the Bay Area “I Have a Dream” Foundation, a college access program for underserved students


Joe Herrity is the Lead Project Manager for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte focused on the Opportunity Youth Partnership, a county-wide collaborative aimed at improving secondary and post-secondary education and career outcomes for Santa Clara County’s most vulnerable and disconnected youth and young adults. He operates as lead backbone staff for the implementation of a Collective Impact effort funded by the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund. He previously worked in various positions at Freshlines for Youth (FLY).




Kavitha Sreeharsha, born and raised in Silicon Valley, is a program officer at the Sobrato Family Foundation, where she oversees SFF’s decade-long program of unrestricted cash support for our region’s critical health and human service nonprofits. She is also developing the Pathways for Success program to promote economic opportunity for all Silicon Valley residents. Kavitha has spent the past fifteen years as a program manager and attorney working in community services, policy and advocacy, training and technical assistance, organizational management, and corporate social responsibility. Her focus has been low-income communities and working immigrant families, for whom she has developed community programs, coordinated coalitions and managed grants and organizational finances. Kavitha also co-founded and directed the Global Freedom Center which provides training to stakeholders to increase human trafficking identification and prevention.


2015 Sessions: Summaries and Links


Session 1: Performance Management:
Creating data driven cultures focused on continuous improvement and high performance


Our 2015 Speaker Series kicked off on February 24 with a conversation between Sobrato Family Foundation CEO Rick Williams, and nonprofit leader and expert on evaluation and measurement Tiffany Cooper Gueye, Ph.D., CEO of BELL / Building Educated Leaders for Life. Dr. Gueye shared her insights, as well as examples of tools and best practices she employs to build a culture of performance management and continuous improvement. She described how performance management systems, based on clearly-defined metrics, have driven organizational alignment and clarity for both staff and board members. She relayed how these systems have deepened BELL’s impact on the students it serves, and positioned it for national growth and scale. And, she walked attendees through examples of dashboards BELL uses to measure and track program and operational performance.


The two-part video of Session 1 is now posted on our YouTube page. For a list of useful resources on Performance Measurement / Evaluation, visit our Resource Guide. A subset of Session 1-specific resources is highlighted on our “Recently-Added” page. And if you’re interested in a pdf copy of Session 1′s presentation deck, click here.


2014 Sessions 1-5: Summaries and Links


We thank our generous and gifted panelists, along with the 305 participants from 154 local organizations who helped make 2014′s inaugural speaker series a success!


Our goal was to provide an opportunity for local leaders to come together and explore ways to strengthen programs and services to best address the complex challenges facing this Silicon Valley region. Series content focused on the building blocks key to creating impact, including theories of change and logic models, aligned performance metrics, and business models that support sustainability and scale. The Foundation believes furthering the development of these tools is not only important to our own success, but that of our region’s nonprofits, and critical to attracting more philanthropic resources to address local needs.


Please visit our YouTube page for videos of Sessions 1, 2, 3, and 5, and scroll down for summaries, links to presentation decks and speaker-suggested resources for each of 2014′s five sessions.


Session 1:
Building Blocks for Creating Greater Impact: An Introduction


Our series kicked off February 19th with a panel featuring Fay Twersky and Tess Reynolds, moderated by Kathy Reich. They discussed the key building blocks for creating impact, including the importance of theories of change and logic models, aligned performance metrics, and business models focused on sustainability and scale. The panel provided an overview of what these terms really mean, why they are vital for driving social change, and illustrated practical examples of implementation — addressing some of the misapprehensions leaders may face.


Click here for a pdf copy of the resource list shared at the event. (All of these resources and more are incorporated in our new Resource Guide.) You may also access a two-part recording of the session posted on the Sobrato Family Foundation’s YouTube channel.


Session 2:
The Importance of Business Plans and Models


This March 19 event began with an interactive discussion among participants, followed by a conversation with featured panelists—Jehan Velji, Portfolio Manager, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and Sam Cobbs, CEO, First Place for Youth— moderated by Kenji Treanor, Senior Program Officer for Education here at the Sobrato Family Foundation. The panel discussed how nonprofits can create business plans and models focused on sustainability and scale. They demystified these terms and outlined why they are vital to building higher impact nonprofits.


Click here for a list of our speakers’ suggested resources (also found in our Resource Guide) and here for a pdf copy of the session’s slide deck. You may also view a two-part recording of the session posted on the Sobrato Family Foundation’s YouTube channel.


Session 3:
Deepening Your Case for Support


This highly-interactive April 29th event was moderated by Jen Ratay, Executive Director, SV2, in conversation with Lance Fors, Community Leader & Board Chair of Reading Partners, New Teachers Center & SVP,  Mara Low, Program Director here at the Sobrato Family Foundation, and Irene Wong, Director of Local Grantmaking, David & Lucile Packard Foundation. This panel of seasoned foundation grantmakers and nonprofit leaders explored how the building blocks for creating greater impact are essential to helping nonprofits “make the case” and tell a compelling story about their work and impact. They demystified the process they go through to make decisions, and reflected on both the common mistakes and best practices they see when they evaluate proposals from nonprofits.


Click here for a list of our speakers’ suggested resources (also found in our Resource Guide) and here for a pdf copy of the session’s slide deck. The two-part session recording is posted on the Sobrato Family Foundation’s YouTube channel.


Session 4:
Creating Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change


In our fourth session, held at SCNP-San Jose on May 20, Lisa Kay Solomon and Diana Scearce explored how to design strategic conversations to help leaders engage diverse groups to accelerate change—bringing the best design thinking approaches from the for-profit sector to our nonprofit leaders. The session provided practical tools to support organizations’ ability to convene stakeholders, staff, and their boards in meaningful strategy sessions to confront the adaptive challenges they face in their work. Lisa Kay Solomon is the author of the recent Wall Street Journal best seller, Moments of Impact, a book that offers a simple creative process to help leaders and teams tackle their most challenging issues. Diana Scearce is the Evaluation and Learning Director at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and a former director at the social change consulting firm Monitor Institute, where she led a range of initiatives helping foundations, nonprofits and multi-stakeholder groups grow their impact.


Session 4 was a workshop format and was not filmed, but a pdf of the session’s slide deck is available here. (Key resources on this topic can also be found in our Resource Guide.)


Session 5:
Leadership and Culture


Our fifth and final event in the series took place on Wednesday, June 11 in Redwood Shores. It featured Heather McLeod Grant, author of Forces for Good, the Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits, in conversation with Erin Ganju, Co-Founder/CEO, Room to Read, and Vincent Pan, Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action.


Effective leaders and strong cultures create life-giving oxygen, instilling purpose and energy in organizations to drive great performance; the building blocks for achieving greater impact, (such as theories of change, performance metrics and sustainable business plans) are critical but insufficient without them. Good leadership and strong culture bring good plans to life.


This session explored what effective leadership looks like in a rapidly changing world, where traditional organizational models are being transformed by new models based on networks and movement building. It also tackled the elusive topic of culture and why defining and building strong organizational culture is critical to building sustainable organizations that can scale. Panelists explored the latest research and best practices, and also candidly shared their experiences.


Click these links to view the set of our speakers’ suggested resources (which are also found in our Resource Guide) and the Session 5 slide deck. The three-part session recording is posted on the Sobrato Family Foundation’s YouTube channel.