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Evaluation and Impact Investing: A Three-Part Webinar Series

Evaluation and Impact Investing: A Three-Part Webinar Series

The American Evaluation Association’s Social Impact Measurement (AEA SIM) working group, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, the Council of Michigan Foundations, and the Mission Investors Exchange announce a new webinar series, “Evaluation and Impact Investing,” designed to engage evaluators and impact investors on the opportunities for, and necessity of, using evaluative thinking in social finance and impact investing.

The ability to assess and evaluate social impact investments — i.e., program-related investments, mission-related or -driven investments, social and development impact bonds, individual impact investments, and blended deals — is in its adolescence. While a small subset of the professional evaluation community is engaged and making significant contributions to social impact measures, the talent and expertise of evaluators remains underutilized. Evaluative thinking can enhance the quality, rigor, and thus the credibility of the social impacts investors and investees seek.

“While a small subset of the professional evaluation community is engaged and making significant contributions to social impact measures, the talent and expertise of evaluators remains underutilized.”

The three-part series focuses on the three program phases (planning, implementation, and recalibration), and how evaluators can use their skills in each phase. Speakers represent institutional and individual investors and experienced impact investing evaluators. Both new and experienced professionals in the social impact investing sector will come away from each session with examples of ways evaluators and investors can work together, ideas for evaluative elements to include at a particular phase of an investment, and examples of social impact investments being made.

These free webinars will be hosted by Teri Behrens from the Johnson Center and John Sherman of pfc Social Impact Advisors (representing the AEA SIM working group), and will be recorded and made available online following the live sessions.

Photo: Teri Behrens

Teri Behrens, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and editor in chief of The Foundation Review, the Johnson Center’s quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy. Previously, Dr. Behrens served as director of the Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning which includes The Grantmaking School, LearnPhilanthropy, and The Foundation Review. Prior to coming to the Johnson Center, Dr. Behrens served as director of evaluation for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, providing leadership for the Foundation’s overall evaluation program.
Photo of John Sherman

John Sherman, M.P.H., is co-founder and senior managing director of pfc Social Impact Advisors (pfc). He brings over 30 years of experience dedicated to enhancing the impact of philanthropy — foundations, individual donors, and the social change nonprofits they serve. He has managed nonprofit advocacy organizations, co-directed a foundation, and advised over 100 other foundations’ strategic planning, grantmaking, and evaluation in the U.S., Canada, and China. He has also advised on a series of case studies examining the role of leadership and social investing.

Logo: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Logo: American Evaluation Association
Logo: Council of Michigan Foundations

Logo: Mission Investors Exchange

Using Evaluative Thinking at the Social Impact Investment Planning Stage
Thursday, September 26, 2019  //  11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. ET  //  Free

Both the Rockefeller Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation have evaluation and impact investing teams that enjoy close working relationships. In this first of three webinars on evaluation and impact investing, team members from both organizations will share their serious commitment to measuring their foundation’s impact investment portfolios across the investment life cycle. They’ll focus on how they incorporate evaluative thinking into the early stages of the impact investing process.

Joanna Cohen, Senior Evaluation Officer at the MacArthur Foundation, will describe how the foundation’s approach to learning is applied within impact investing practice at the fund level, beyond individual transactions. She will address theory of change development, evaluative thinking during pre-due diligence, and more.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Veronica Olazabal and Mike Muldoon will provide both evaluative and finance perspectives about impact measurement and management (IMM) at the foundation. Veronica will share how the evaluation team built a strong relationship with the foundation’s innovative finance team, while Mike Muldoon will provide insight on how this relationship has tangibly influenced the team’s investment practice.


  • Joanna Cohen, Senior Evaluation Officer, MacArthur Foundation
  • Veronica Olazabal, Director, Measurement, Evaluation, and Organizational Performance, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Mike Muldoon, Director, Innovative Finance, The Rockefeller Foundation

Moderator: Jane Reisman, Ph.D., Social Impact Advisor

Watch the Recorded Webinar

Applying Evaluative Thinking to Active Impact Investments
Thursday, October 10, 2019  //  11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. ET  //  Free

This second installment of the “Evaluation and Impact Investing” webinar series focuses on the role evaluators can play in monitoring and evaluating active investments, particularly from a gender lens.

Using its active gender-lens investments as examples, including an ongoing collaboration with MasterCard Foundation, representatives from Engineers Without Borders Canada and EWB Ventures will discuss how they utilize evaluation to support investees and the investment team after an investment has been made. Participants will learn how to effectively use evaluation from a gender-equity lens to monitor and assess the social returns of active investments and communicate those findings to the investment team and the investee.

Likewise, investors will learn ways to better apply evaluative thinking and evaluation from a gender-equity lens in their active investments.


  • Selina Delimini, Social Impact Measurement Evaluator, Engineers Without Borders Canada
  • Laura Allan, Gender Expert, Engineers Without Borders Canada
  • Sandra Abrokwa Owusu-Kyerematen, Country Director for Ghana, Viamo

Moderator: Courtney Bolinson, Impact Evaluation and Learning Manager, Engineers Without Borders Canada

Watch the Recorded Webinar

Using Evaluation to Improve Social Impacts of Current and Future Impact Investments
Wednesday, October 30, 2019  //  11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. ET  //  Free

This final webinar in our three-part series highlights the ways in which evaluators can use their skills to help investors at the end of an investment, including how to recalibrate their investments and identifying the social impacts to be measured in future investments.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and its third-party evaluator, KKS Advisors, will discuss the recent evaluation of WKKF’s Mission Driven Investing (MDI) portfolio, how it is being used to both look back and to look forward, and the role of KKS Advisors in the evaluation. The Johnson Center’s Jason Franklin will address how individual and non-foundation institutional investors use and can better use evaluators in determining social impacts at the close of an investment.


  • Andrew Brower, PRI Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Sophie Lawrence, KKS Advisors
  • Thomas Cobti, KKS Advisors
  • Jason Franklin, W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Moderator: Tory Martin, Director of Communications & Engagement, Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Watch the Recorded Webinar