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The Learning Conference 2015

June 10–11, 2015

Boston, Mass.

B2. Designing, Piloting and Evaluating Major Shifts in Grantmaking Strategy

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM–4:15 PM EDT
Duxbury (Fourth Floor Level)
Session Designer:

Roberto Cremonini, GivingData LLC

Session Description

Grantmakers undertaking comprehensive transformation of their grantmaking strategy must find ways to embed learning with others in each step of the process so that those who are impacted by the change have a say in it. Using a case-method approach, participants in this session will discuss Open Society Foundations’ two-year project that challenged 19 years of grantmaking practices in ways that would benefit both grantee organizations and its own operations. The project began in 2013 with a yearlong design phase. The following year six programs piloted and evaluated changes such as shifts in grantmaking authority and internal accountability practices. OSF staff and their advisor will share their experiences throughout the project, and participants will engage in a facilitated conversation
and analysis of the transformation. Participants will also leverage this example to develop strategies for engaging stakeholders and learning in deeper partnership with others before and during major organizational transformation processes. 

Primary Points Of Contact

Roberto, Cremonini

Session Designers

Roberto Cremonini, GivingData LLC


Sandra Dunsmore, Open Society Foundations
Speaker Biography

Sandra Dunsmore is director of the Grant Making Support Group, a new unit within the Open Society Foundations created in September 2013. She first joined the organization in 2008 as regional director for Latin America. Her areas of expertise are democratic practice, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding.

Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, Dunsmore acted as a consultant to various non-governmental organizations, including Open Society. She spent 13 years in Central America where she worked for the Organization of American States and the American Friends Service Committee, and consulted for the United National Development Program and USAID. Dunsmore then returned to her native Canada as president of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre—a bilingual not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preparation of police, military, and civilians for participation in peace operations.

Dunsmore received her BA with honors from the University of Manitoba and an MA in anthropology from the same institution.

Roberto Cremonini, GivingData LLC
Speaker Biography

Roberto Cremonini is a partner in GivingData, a company that develops business intelligence and data management solutions for foundations. Before joining GivingData, Roberto founded Cremonini Consulting Network and worked with foundations and nonprofits to improve their performance with knowledge management, learning practices, and innovative technology tools. Between 2003 and 2010, he was Chief Knowledge & Learning Officer at the Barr Foundation in Boston. He is a former trustee of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and The Cambridge Community Foundation and sits on the board of José Mateo Ballet Theatre. Roberto received his MS in electrical engineering, summa cum laude, and his PhD in computer science from the University of Bologna. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Julie McCarthy, Open Society Foundations
Speaker Biography

Julie McCarthy is director of the Fiscal Governance Program. Most recently she served as director of the support unit at the Open Government Partnership (OGP), where she provided strategic advice, conducted outreach to stakeholders, and fundraised. In 2011 she served as Senior Adviser to the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, working with the Obama administration and the Brazilian government to implement OGP initiatives.

In 2009, McCarthy was selected as a Franklin Fellow and Peacebuilding Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, helping to launch a multimillion dollar peace-building program in Liberia. Prior to this, McCarthy directed the Open Society Foundations’ Revenue Watch Program and then cofounded the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI), serving as its deputy director until 2009. And from 2002 to 2004, McCarthy was program associate for Globalization Reform/Iraq Revenue Watch at the Open Society Foundations as well as global coordinator for the Soros Foundation Network on the Millennium Challenge Account.

McCarthy graduated from Cornell University in 2002 and received an MA in International Relations with a focus on conflict and governance from Yale University in 2012. She sits on the advisory boards of the Revenue Watch Institute and International Budget Project and is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Session Materials