(Scroll down column on right for summaries)
- 2014 Session 1:
Building Blocks: An Introduction
featuring Fay Twersky, Tess Reynolds,
and Kathy Reich
- 2014 Session 2:
The Importance of Business Plans and Models
featuring Jehan Velji, Sam Cobbs,
and Kenji Treanor
- 2014 Session 3:
Deepening Your Case for Support
featuring Jen Ratay, Lance Fors,
Irene Wong, and Mara Low
- 2014 Session 4:
Strategic Conversations that
featuring Lisa Kay Solomon and Diana Scearce
- 2014 Session 5:
Leadership and Culture
featuring Heather McLeod Grant, Erin Ganju,
and Vincent Pan
- 2015 Session 1:
featuring Tiffany Cooper Gueye
and Rick Williams
- 2015 Session 2:
Collective Impact for Driving Systems Change
featuring Jeff Edmondson, Ann Matheison,
and Joe Herrity
- 2015 Session 3:
Business Models for Sustainability and Scale
featuring Craig Reigel, Janet Gless,
and Alexa Cortes Culwell
- 2016 Session 1:
How do we Nurture & Develop Great Talent in our Nonprofits?
featuring Crista Gannon, Michele McCormick, Aimée Eubanks Davis, Melissa Wang
and Catherine Crystal Foster
- 2016 Session 2:
Thinking Beyond the Annual Budget, with FMA
featuring John Summers, Rebecca Coker,
and Liz Bender
2017 Session Summaries and Resource Links
2017 Session 3: Toxic Inequality
Difficult Conversations Toward Greater Equity & Mobility
Co-sponsored by Thrive, The Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County
Our third 2017 speaker series event took place Monday, June 19, and featured Dr. Tom Shapiro, Director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Dr. Shapiro shared with us some of the findings from his latest book, Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, & Threatens Our Future. Sobrato Family Foundation CEO Rick Williams then moderated a panel which included two local leaders working to create greater equity in our region: Eric McDonnell of United Way Bay Area, and Avani Patel of the Peery Foundation.
Speaker-recommended resources sent to attendees before the session include: The Place Where the Poor Once Thrived [San Jose] by Alana Semuels, published in The Atlantic in February 2016; Family activist Mia Birdsong’s May 2015 TED Talk The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn’t True; and Busted, America’s Poverty Myths–a January 2017 podcast published by Radiolab / On the Media.
2017 Session 2: Learning for Impact
Tools, concepts, and practical guidance for SV organizations, and a first look at SFF’s new grantee opportunity, The Sobrato Impact Lab.
Our second 2017 speaker series event on May 23rd featured Steven LaFrance, Learning for Action Founder and CEO, who provided historical context and practical advice about improving organizational learning and evaluation. Elise Cutini, Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, shared how her organization’s process has evolved and improved over the years, providing real-world examples of both qualitative and quantitative data that help the Children’s Fund measure its impact.
SFFs Program Officer of Impact and Learning Maggie Hobstetter, and Mara Williams Low, SFF’s Program Director also provided a sneak preview of SFF’s new grantee opportunity, The Sobrato Impact Lab–a 1.5 year cohort utilizing both individualized- and peer-to-peer learning, in order to expand and accelerate the evaluation efforts of select SFF grantees. Click here for more information.
2017 Session 1: The Giving Code
Presentation, Panel & Interactive Workshop on Silicon Valley Nonprofits & Philanthropy
Co-sponsored by SVCN
Open Impact’s Heather McLeod Grant kicked off our 2017 Speaker Series by sharing findings from the newly-released report The Giving Code: The State of Silicon Valley Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Providing a holistic portrait of the region’s nonprofit and philanthropy ecosystems, Heather outlined key differences between what local philanthropists expect and what local nonprofits are prepared to provide.
Drawing on data from The Giving Code, Rick Williams, CEO of the Sobrato Family Foundation, moderated a panel discussing how nonprofits and funders can address these disconnects. Patricia Gardner of SVCN provided field-level insights, and Camille Llanes-Fontanilla of Somos Mayfair and Kwok Lau with SV2 shared experiences from their partnership.
Following the panel, attendees participated in a short brainstorming session, where facilitators guided groups through collaborative work on potential solutions for the system. Attendees discussed the region’s emerging “giving code” and are sparking a new conversation—one that creates a region of vibrant nonprofits and committed philanthropists who see significant, scalable, place-based change as one of the most important outcomes they can hope to achieve.
2016 Session Summaries and Resource Links
2016 Session 1: How do we Nurture & Develop Great Talent in our Nonprofits?
A conversation with nonprofit and philanthropic leaders tackling this challenge
Co-sponsored by Palo Alto Community Fund
Our 2016 Speaker Series kicked off on May 17 with a conversation between Christa Gannon (CEO & Founder, Fresh Lifelines for Youth [FLY]), Michele McCormick, (Director of Talent & Administration, FLY), Aimée Eubanks Davis, (CEO, Braven), and Melissa Wang, (Director of Grantmaking, Tipping Point Community), moderated by Westly Foundation CEO and PACF Board Member Catherine Crystal Foster. The panelists shared insights about how their organizations have developed systems to attract, develop, and retain great staff, and have created a pipeline of talent that will sustain their nonprofits over time–difficult to do in a region facing a dramatic rise in the cost of living, and a lack of affordable housing that affects our clients and our teams.
2016 Session 2: Thinking Beyond the Annual Budget, with FMA
Practical advice and resources to build your organization’s financial planning practices
On September 15, 2016, FMA Director John Summers and Lead Consultant Rebecca Coker shared learnings from their years of experience supporting nonprofit capacity building, described why effective financial planning is important in today’s nonprofit environment, and how to think of financial planning as a critical element of strategy. After covering key components of strategic financial planning, including the annual budgeting process and planning on a multi-year basis, they were joined by special guest Liz Bender, Chief Finance and Growth Officer at First Place for Youth to testify to the importance (and positive outcomes) of strategic financial planning. Participants received guiding materials as well as time to reflect on the state of their own financial systems, and the session concluded with an introduction to free online tools and resources to support financial and multi-year planning.
The Session 2 presentation deck is available here, and the video is posted on our YouTube channel. Resources suggested by our speakers for session attendees are available through our Resource Guide, including Getting Your Nonprofit Budget Past ‘One Day (or Year) at a Time’ by Hilda Polanco, and the Program Based Budget Builder Demonstration by John Summers of FMA with the Wallace Foundation.
2015 Session Summaries and Resource Links
2015 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 channel. For a list of useful resources on Performance Measurement / Evaluation, visit our Resource Guide. And if you’re interested in a pdf copy of Session 1′s presentation deck, click here.
2015 Session 2: Collective Impact for Driving Systems Change
Framework and Case Studies
On Tuesday, April 28th, Jeff Edmondson, Managing Director of StriveTogether based in Ohio, relayed how communities across the country are using an ecosystem approach to solve overlapping social issues—breaking down traditional silos between organizations to develop common goals, success indicators, and methods to track progress community-wide. He was joined by Ann Matheison of Marin Promise Partnership and Joe Herrity of Opportunity Youth Partnership who shared insights from their own experiences applying the collective impact framework in the Bay Area.
The two-part video of Session 2 is posted on our YouTube channel. For useful resources on Collective Impact, see the “Theory of Change / Strategy” section in our Resource Guide. Click here if you’re interested in a pdf handout of Session 2′s presentation deck, and here for a copy of the handout Session 2 attendees received.
2015 Session 3: Business Models for Sustainability and Scale
Framework & Case Studies
Our third 2015 Speaker Series event took place Wednesday, May 27, featuring a conversation between Craig Reigel, CFO of Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), and Janet Gless, President of New Teacher Center (NTC), with Alexa Cortes Culwell, visiting practitioner at Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and managing director of Philanthropy Futures.
Craig shared a simple but groundbreaking framework that helps nonprofits clarify their business model and communicate clearly about the kinds of revenue they require to sustain and scale their program impact—while also paying for essentials such as infrastructure, R&D, and administrative costs. Janet then shared how New Teacher Center applied this framework to tells its story—positioning NTC to double its revenue to $60M by 2018, and serve more than 60,000 teachers through its district-embedded and online models.
The two-part video of Session 3 is now posted on our YouTube channel. Click these links for the session’s one-page handout, and a PDF of the session’s slide deck. For a list of additional resources about Business Models, visit our Resource Guide.
2014 Session Summaries and Resource Links
2014 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.
2014 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.
2014 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.
2014 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.
2014 Session 5:
Leadership and Culture
Our fifth and final event in 2014 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.