Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D., former chief learning officer at The California Endowment, will serve as editor-in-chief of special issues for The Foundation Review in 2023-2024. To mark the occasion of the journal’s 15th anniversary, Dr. Yu will oversee the development and publication of two special issues, working with independent learning and evaluation consultant Tom Kelly of KEL Advising. Together, they will lead a strategic assessment and reimagination of The Foundation Review to maximize the journal’s accessibility and relevance for foundation practitioners and researchers and increase its global reach.
Launched by Dr. Teresa Behrens at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in 2009 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Foundation Review is the nation’s first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy and the only journal written by and for foundation staff, boards, and those who work with them. With a combination of rigorous research and accessible writing, the journal’s content empowers foundation practitioners through knowledge building to put new ideas and good practices to work for more effective philanthropy.
“I am delighted to take The Foundation Review into its next decade as the leading philanthropic knowledge and practitioner-oriented resource,” said Dr. Yu. “Philanthropy is undergoing a seismic shift, increasingly addressing root causes of inequities, global legacies of racism, and other forms of oppression through advocacy, systems change, and power building. The Foundation Review plays an integral role in elevating our field’s understanding of these broad trends and our ability to take action on them.”
“While much has changed [since the launch of] The Foundation Review, its unique contribution to knowledge and practice remains just as critical today. Dr. Yu will not only build on the journal’s exceptional legacy but will empower the next generation of field-building.”
Throughout its first 15 years, The Foundation Review has engaged more than 1,000 authors from 450+ institutions around the world — including foundations, nonprofits, universities, healthcare groups, and more. Individual articles and full issues are accessed daily by researchers and practitioners from all over the globe eager to discover emerging practices, learn from case studies, and engage in deep reflection on the field. The journal is available both in print and online, and journal content has been downloaded more than 500,000 times.
“The journal’s focus on peer-to-peer learning has been critical to its relevance supporting grantmaking practice yielding greater impact and innovation,” said Lesley D. Slavitt, executive director of the Johnson Center. “While much has changed in the sector since Dr. Behrens first launched The Foundation Review, its unique contribution to knowledge and practice remains just as critical today. Dr. Yu will not only build on the journal’s exceptional legacy but will empower the next generation of field-building. The scale, scope, and depth of her accomplishments and commitment to the field are without comparison, and I look forward to working with Dr. Yu as a worthy successor to Dr. Behrens.”
Dr. Yu has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of research, evaluation, and philanthropy, with special expertise in education, the nonprofit sector, public health, and racial equity. Prior to overseeing learning, strategic development, evaluation, and impact activities at The California Endowment, she served as vice president at Social Policy Research Associates.
Dr. Yu holds a Ph.D. in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University and is the contributing author of numerous publications, including The Handbook on Leadership Development Evaluation (Jossey-Bass, 2006) and “Philanthropic Investment in Power,” as well as co-editor of the “Building People Power” series published in Stanford Social Innovation Review. Dr. Yu has served as board chair of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and as a member of the National Academy of Science Roundtable on Population Health Improvement.
“[Dr. Yu] has been a stellar leader in philanthropy, not just in the fields of evaluation, learning, and knowledge, but also programming,” said Huilan Krenn, director of learning and impact at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “She is always looking for the most cutting-edge practices, ideas, and players that can augment the intended positive impact on the vulnerable population philanthropy serves. She will be a fierce editor-in-chief for The Foundation Review special issues to push the envelope and move our sector to a new level.”
Within philanthropy, evaluation and learning are experiencing significant change as the broader sector adjusts to fundamental shifts in grantmaking practice, power sharing and relationship building, and leadership. In 2024, The Foundation Review will explore these major themes as well as the challenges and opportunities they pose for the sector through two special issues that will take the place of the journal’s typical cycle of four annual issues. Under Dr. Yu’s leadership, the special issues will examine how evaluation and learning practices have evolved in philanthropy, how global shifts are impacting practitioners’ approach to understanding impact, and where the field may be headed next.
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