B7: Incorporating Beneficiary Perspectives Into Foundation Decision-Making
Tue Mar 13 2012, 10:15am–11:45am, St. Helens (Mezzanine Level)
Session Designer

Rhonnel Sotelo, Stuart Foundation

Session Description

The idea that grantmakers can learn and improve by listening to the ultimate stakeholders of our work sounds simple and is hardly radical. But, there are very few examples of funders rigorously collecting feedback from the intended beneficiaries of their grantmaking in order to inform their thinking about funding strategies — and how they might be improved. Research by the Center for Effective Philanthropy has shown that funders who collect beneficiary feedback report that they have a better understanding of how their strategies are actually working and a more accurate understanding of their grantmaking’s impact compared to funders who don’t collect such feedback. During this interactive session, participants will explore two diverse approaches for incorporating beneficiary perspectives and spend time in debating the applicability and lessons learned from both of these efforts for their own work.

Conference Theme

Collaborative Problem Solving

Valerie Threlfall, Center for Effective Philanthropy
Vice President - YouthTruth Initiative
Speaker Biography:
Valerie Threlfall is vice president of the Center of Effective Philanthropy's YouthTruth Initiative, an initiative to collect comparative and actionable feedback from students about what is working and not working in high schools nationwide. In addition, she also leads CEP’s West Coast office. Prior to joining CEP in March 2008, Threlfall worked as a nonprofit strategy consultant, serving organizations such as Global Giving, Partners in Health and Monitor Institute. Threlfall's nonprofit experience includes working at Opportunity Finance Network, a national association of community development financial institutions, where she published multiple papers on theory of change planning and how to create effective impact measurement systems.

She holds a joint master's of business administration and master's of public policy from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, respectively. Threlfall received her bachelor's in economics and public policy from Swarthmore College.
Stephany Bryan, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
Program Officer and Consumer & Family Liaison
Speaker Biography:
Stephany Bryan serves as program officer and consumer & family liaison for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. She represents the perspectives of consumers of mental health services and their families in the Hogg Foundation’s strategic planning, grant making, programs and policy activities. As both a mental health consumer and mother of a child with mental health needs, Bryan's personal knowledge of mental health services, crisis and recovery extend beyond the academic and political spheres.

Bryan has spent 16 years advocating for improvements to federal, state and local mental health policies and services. She also has served as a leader, mentor and adviser to consumers, family members, government agencies, policy makers and advocacy groups in Texas and nationally. Bryan previously worked with the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and the American Institutes for Research advising states implementing care systems for youth with mental health needs and their families.
Session Materials