Foundation strategies often target difficult and complex societal problems.
Many of these strategies, however, founder early into implementation as
staff struggle to move the strategy from paper to reality.
In their strategic work, foundations find that they need ways to learn
more about what is and is not working. Once a strategy moves into
implementation foundation staff need ways to consider when to regroup or
change course and just as important, how to identify real success.
Patrizi Associates has found successful and practical approaches to address these issues. Our experience in developing foundation strategies combined with our expertise on evaluative thinking, data collection and learning has been critical to our success. We help foundations identify what they need to learn and practical ways to get timely information that they can use to inform
decisions, particularly when challenges arise.
"In my view, Patti Patrizi is the go-to person for insights into how
dysfunctional elements in organizational culture create problems.
Then she expertly facilitates a culture-changing process for solving
problems and generating ongoing learning and adaptation. Those who
have a deep passion for inertia and nonsense need not apply. All
others: get in line. She's that good."
-- Michael Quinn Patton, former president, American Evaluation
Association and evaluation consultant
Patrizi Associates has worked with dozens of foundations and nonprofit
organizations in four key areas:
Providing strategy advice linked to learning and impact for
• The California Health Care Foundation
• International Development Research Centre
Developing institutional capacity to track and evaluate
• William Penn Foundation
• Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural
• The Master Card Foundation
"Patti was extremely helpful to the William Penn Foundation when it
established its first Evaluation function as part of the implementation
of its 2002 strategic plan. Patti helped us develop our evaluation
system that aligns program strategy with outcome goals, working
with newly-appointed evaluation staff and program staff to clarify and
articulate program goals, outcomes, and indicators in a way new to the
Foundation. Nearly ten years later, we continue to use the system she
helped us create."
-- Helen Davis Picher, Director of Evaluation & Planning, William Penn
Evaluating large scale system change efforts:
• The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's investment in U.S.
• The Rockefeller Foundation's Rebuilding New Orleans Initiative
• The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's End-of-Life grantmaking
Carrying out developmental evaluations to inform the design of new programs or adjustments to existing programs:
• New York State Health Foundation
• The Center for Urban Development Excellence
For a list of representative Patrizi Associate projects click here.
We work closely with foundation staff and their key grantees to develop
useful information to guide their program development. We provide and
support interpretation of data for ongoing decision making. We believe that
strategy is an ongoing process of learning and adjustment; however, it is not nor should be, meandering. Rather we focus the work by emphasizing the linkages among impact, strategy and the kind of learning that can advance both.
Patti Patrizi has worked domestically and internationally in evaluating the efficacy of foundation, government and nonprofit strategies in areas as diverse as community development, food security, libraries, environment, healthcare and education.
Much of her work is also informed by her years with the Management and Behavioral Sciences Center of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where she applied systems thinking to organizational learning and strategy. Having served as the evaluation director of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Patti brings a depth of understanding to the challenges that foundations as well as nonprofits face. As an independent evaluator, she has directed dozens of evaluations.
Over the last 10 years, Patti Patrizi has written and edited many monographs
intended to improve the work of foundations. These monographs include a series titled "Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project," which was published by the Foundation Center. She has also edited two volumes of New Directions in Evaluation with Michael Quinn Patton. The first is "Teaching Evaluation Using the Case Method." The second is "Evaluating Strategy." A recent article with Liz Thompson "Beyond the Veneer of Strategic Philanthropy" published in the Foundation Review presents classic challenges facing foundations in their effort to develop and deploy strategy.
In addition to her work with individual clients, Patti is the Director of the Evaluation Roundtable, a group of evaluation and program executives
dedicated to improving evaluation practices across philanthropy.
Elizabeth Heid Thompson
Liz Thompson is a Senior Consultant at Patrizi Associates and the Assistant Director of Evaluation Roundtable. Liz has extensive experience in designing and conducting evaluations of foundation and non-profit strategies.
A particular focus of her career is the use of strategic communications to further programmatic strategies. Prior to working with Patrizi Associates, Liz was the Executive Vice President at Sutton Group, a strategic planning and marketing communications firm in Washington DC. At Sutton Group, she designed and managed audience research studies and market assessments for organizations, communication campaigns, and social change programs.
Her clients included major foundations and government agencies.
Prior to the Sutton Group, Liz worked in The Pew Charitable Trusts' planning and evaluation division. She designed and managed evaluations in all of the Trusts' program areas, with an emphasis on the Environment, Health and Human Services and Religion.
If you would like to discuss a potential project, please contact Patrizi Associates at (215) 320-3220 or email Patricia Patrizi or Liz Heid
The mailing address is:
4 Penn Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103