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The Learning Conference 2015

June 10–11, 2015

Boston, Mass.

A2. The State of Network Evaluation

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM–12:15 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Duxbury (Fourth Floor Level)
Session Designer:

Madeleine Taylor, Network Impact

Session Description

Changemakers everywhere are investing in and building networks — from large-scale, cross-sector collective impact initiatives to more targeted efforts to promote policy change or improve the delivery of services. All of this activity has made evaluation of networks a priority for funders and others who want to learn more about what networks can help achieve and how to build them most effectively. As a result, the field of network assessment is coming into its own and can be a powerful tool for putting network members at the center of tracking their progress to inform future strategy. Moderated by an evaluation practitioner, this session will present recent trends and lessons learned by grantmakers in supporting network evaluation. Participants will learn the fundamentals of designing and funding network assessments and explore the implications of these findings for their own work.

Primary Points Of Contact

Madeleine , Taylor

Session Designers

Madeleine Taylor, Network Impact


Kimberly Haskins, Barr Foundation
Speaker Biography

Kimberly Haskins is a senior program officer at the Barr Foundation, which has a mission to invest in human, natural, and cultural potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Her portfolio has included early education, charter schools, experiential education, and K–12 district investment. She currently manages the Foundation’s grantmaking in early education, which is focused on ensuring that Boston’s children enter school ready and are reading proficiently or better by third grade. She also co-manages the Barr Fellowship, a program to celebrate and connect extraordinary nonprofit and public school leaders. Kim has been a senior director for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, where she managed a team of staff and volunteers responsible for the annual investment in community-based organizations, and an auditor for Bank of Boston (now Bank of America). Kim holds an MBA and a certificate of nonprofit management from Boston University’s School of Management and a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kimberly M. James, Ph.D., W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Speaker Biography

Kimberly James is an evaluation officer in the Learning, Impact and Innovation team at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Kimberly provides leadership and technical assistance in the foundation’s evaluation-related functions, which includes developing evaluation frameworks; identifying indicators that measure and assess the foundation’s overall progress and impact; partnering with the foundation’s programming staff to integrate learning and evaluation activities; and collaborating with external partners to advance practices in philanthropy and the evaluation field. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is exploring approaches and methods for evaluating their network efforts.

Madeleine Taylor, Network Impact
Speaker Biography

Dr. Taylor is the CEO and a cofounder of Network Impact which provides social-change agents with strategies, tools, research, and consulting expertise to design and use networks for social change. For more than 20 years, Dr. Taylor has worked with public and nonprofit organizations and national foundations on strategy, program development and assessment, most recently with a focus on social impact networks. Over the last decade, she has contributed to the design, implementation and evaluation of a wide range of network initiatives in the U.S., including network organizing to support policies that benefit rural people and places, cross sector initiatives to promote immigrant integration, regional collaborations to end homelessness, and network efforts to increase place-based civic engagement. Dr. Taylor has developed numerous tools for network assessment and works with other field- builders to provide grantmakers and others with practical up-to-date information about effective network evaluation. Dr. Taylor received her Ph.D. In Anthropology from Brandeis University and spent her early professional career working in southern Africa. More information is available at

Session Materials