Stone Foundation Reports and Publications

The Path to Scale: Ideas for Navigating NonProfit Growth. 2012 Convening of Education Grantees
Description       Full Report
The Stone Foundation hosted its fifth annual education grantee convening in Chicago, October 16-17, 2013. The meeting continued the foundation’s efforts to support a robust learning community among its education grantees, all of whom work toward improving the effectiveness of educators. The foundation designed the meeting to probe the specific challenges and possible paths forward that education organizations face as they grow, expand their reach and work to deepen their impact—themes the foundation has helped its grantees explore in annual meetings since 2008. At the 2012 convening, grantees candidly discussed change management strategies, organizational sustainability, evaluation and measurement, and communications.The report synthesizes key themes and ideas as these education leaders shared and learned from each other.
Organizational Growth and Change Management: Emerging Challenges and Lessons Learned. 2011 Convening of Education Grantees
Description       Full Report
The Stone Foundation hosted its fourth annual convening of education grantees in the fall of 2011. Representatives from grantee organizations in Boston, Chicago, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area gathered for a day-long session to discuss common challenges they face as they attempt to grow their work and scale their impact. Case studies of two grantees—Partners in School Innovation and the Boston Plan for Excellence—served as the centerpiece for the day’s deliberations and anchored the meeting in real-life organizational growth and management issues. Discussions focused on change management, organizational development, evaluation and relationships to school districts. The report synthesizes key themes and ideas as these education leaders shared and learned from each other.
Building to Scale: Best Practices for Using Evaluation to Improve Programs and Increase Impact
Description       Full Report
For the third year, the Stone Foundation convened its education grantees for a one day session to discuss challenges, compare lessons and develop strategies for strengthening their organizations. The 2010 Convening focused on best practices for using evaluation to improve programs and increase impact. Twenty education leaders from the Foundation's four grantmaking cities participated in discussions on the link between impact and scale, the value of formative evaluation and the role of a theory of change. Education First Consulting Group helped plan and facilitate the meeting and prepared the Convening report, which provides ideas and advice that can help nonprofit organizations as they work to quantify their impact.
Challenges and Considerations in Scaling Nonprofit Organizations
Description       Full Report
Scaling up in the nonprofit sector was the topic of the Foundation's second convening of its education grantees. Twenty education leaders from the Foundation's four grantmaking cities came together for this one-day session focused on the challenges and considerations involved in scaling up their organizations' work. Themes that surfaced included the importance of organizations understanding their impact before going to scale, the applicability of for-profit strategies to nonprofit growth efforts, and the complexities of the education sector that make going to scale especially difficult. Education First Consulting Group helped plan and facilitate the meeting and prepared the convening report, which includes grantee growth stories and key lessons from the day's discussions.
Developing Human Capital to Improve Urban Education
Description       Full Report
In October 2008, the Stone Foundation convened its Education grantees from Chicago, Boston, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area to explore what they are learning from their work and how these lessons inform future practice and policy opportunities. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago facilitated the Convening and documented outcomes of the day in this report, which summarizes discussions that took place and highlights common themes that emerged: the challenges of taking individual programs to scale; meeting the needs for organizational capacity and development in order to implement reforms; and undertaking meaningful assessment and evaluation of education reform efforts. The Convening was a starting point for articulating and advancing grantees' collective knowledge. The experiences of the grantees both during and following the Convening validate the idea that the candid exchange of information is empowering to programs as they seek to gain the most benefit from and to sustain their innovations. Given the success of the Convening and the high level of interest in urban school reform, the Foundation will be exploring a number of ways to facilitate continued grantee collaboration and shared learning.
Conversations With Leaders Report
Description       Full Report
Grantee insights on their work, the field & philanthropy We believe it is important to document and share what we are learning from our grantees — to add to a body of knowledge that informs our thinking and aids the work of our grantees and other grantmakers. With this in mind, in early 2007, the Stone Foundation contracted with a consultant, Perry Chen from Pear·e Consulting, to conduct a series of in-depth interviews with eight of the foundation's Education and Youth Development grantees. The purpose of these conversations was not to evaluate each grantee's work, but rather to distill lessons about effective practices and strategies that could benefit the field and inform the Foundation's grantmaking. Program leaders embraced this opportunity to reflect and candidly share their perspectives on their work and their sector. This report highlights their observations about successful strategies, trends in youth development and educational reform, and thoughts for philanthropy. While these reflections will be valuable to funders and grantees alike, as the report notes, . . . the most valuable result may be simply opening this space — to continue these conversations and to keep learning from the field.
Learning From The Field
Description       Full Report
Report on Stone Foundation Youth Development Convening In 2006, the Stone Foundation convened its youth development grantees from New York and San Francisco so they could learn from each other and develop connections that would strengthen their work with young people. Capacity-building was a key issue echoed throughout the day. Participants underscored the need for help with strategic planning, financial systems development, fundraising and other areas that are central to their organizational health and sustainability. Read about the themes and recommendations that emerged from this Convening, as well as steps the Foundation has since taken to launch a capacity-building grants program.