Rethinking Your Foundation’s Approach to Mission, Measurement and Success


Featuring David Grant, author of “The Social Profit Handbook: The Essential Guide to Setting Goals, Assessing Outcomes, and Achieving Success for Mission-Driven Organizations”

In the world of philanthropy, the conversation has shifted from evaluating outputs to outcomes, leaving many feeling overwhelmed and unclear about how to best measure the impact they want to achieve through their philanthropic investments. We all agree that demonstrating success is important, but we may be limiting that success by how we think about measuring it.

Members heard from David Grant, whose book, “The Social Profit Handbook,” offers those who lead, govern and support mission-driven organizations and businesses new ways to assess their impact in order to improve future work rather than merely judge past performance. He discussed what it takes to make the mental shift in how we approach assessment, the time that is required and the forces that work against us. David shared some case studies of foundations that have used assessment approaches that inform program designs and learnings for large-scale social issues. Members left this session with concepts they can use immediately to begin doing assessment that leads to the success defined by your foundation’s mission.

Foundation leadership, staff and trustees were encouraged to join us for this special opportunity to hear from David Grant.


David Grant is the former president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey, where he was responsible for development and evaluation of programs in the foundation’s major areas of giving (arts, education and environment), as well as the foundation’s major initiatives (poetry and nonprofit capacity building). Grant now consults with people and organizations that have a social or educational mission, specializing in strategic planning, design of assessment systems and board development. During his years at the Dodge Foundation, Grant delivered more than 100 keynote addresses on a range of topics, led workshops titled Measuring What Matters for more than 200 nonprofit organizations and received numerous awards.

Grant’s career has centered on innovative teaching and learning. In 1983, he and his wife, Nancy Boyd Grant, co-founded The Mountain School of Milton Academy, a highly regarded, semester-long interdisciplinary environmental studies program in Vermont for high school juniors from throughout the country. Previously, David was a national consultant to schools and leader of workshops on topics of curriculum and program design, professional development, assessment practices and school climate.

He has served as chair of the board of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and a member of the board of directors of the Surdna Foundation. He is currently a trustee of three social profit (formerly called nonprofit) organizations.

He lives in Strafford, Vermont.