Thank you for making our 2014 inaugural speaker series such a success!
Building Blocks for Creating Greater Impact
We are grateful that 305 nonprofit, philanthropy, and government leaders from 154 local organizations were able to participate in this free series. 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 this page for summaries, links to presentation decks and speaker-suggested resources for each of the 5 Sessions.
Session 1-5 Summaries and Links
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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
Creating Strategic Conversations the 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.
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.