PEG began working with Education Through Music in mid-2016, retained by senior leadership and the Board to help the organization understand likely paths to growth in New York and nationally. ETM had grown very rapidly in the preceding years; after completing our diagnostic work, we identified areas in which the ETM’s growth had outpaced its organization (including recruiting and staffing, project management, and alignment between teachers and the central program staff). We recommended that the organization take a brief hiatus from growth while making necessary investments in staff, the organization, and their evaluation effort. We also recommended that ETM recruit a several key positions including that of Chief Operating Officer. The Board and leadership endorsed these recommendations and launched an initiative to create the structures required for growth. After the 2017 hiatus, during which time a COO was hired, ETM began to again increase its footprint in New York and was able to do so in a way that created little of the past organizational strains that expansion had previously entailed. ETM has formalized its national expansion effort and is presently on the verge of opening new programs outside of New York.
“Our leadership and Board were immediately impressed with PEG’s broad and deep knowledge, succinct and direct communication style, and pragmatic approach to planning. They tailored their analytical approach to our questions and capacity, and budgeted time and money efficiently towards helping us develop the answers we needed. We especially praise the lead consultants on our project, John Newsome and Warner Fite, for their acumen, integrity, enthusiasm, leadership, and outstanding project management skills. They were able to develop extremely strong rapport with Board and staff very quickly. They deftly managed the balancing act of becoming trusted extensions of our team while maintaining proper professional boundaries. The result was an efficient staff and board driven diagnostic and planning effort that boosted morale and cohesion in and of itself.”
– Katherine Damkohler, Executive Director
- ETM Strategic Plan, 2018-2022
- ETM Case (A): Costs and Growth at a Scaling Nonprofit
- ETM Case (B): Seeking Operational Excellence at a Scaling Nonprofit
(formerly the Mitchell Kapor Foundation) – SF Bay Area & National
John Newsome supported the Kapor Foundation (now the Kapor Center) on numerous equity strategy projects between 2006 to 2013. In 2006, John supported the Foundation’s expanded focus on “supporting organizations that provoke social change in communities of color, en route to equality.” Later (2008-2009 and 2012-2013), he supported MKF’s creation and scaling of the College Bound Brotherhood, an initiative that combines grant funding, TA, convening, and movement building to support Bay Area African American males to aspire to, prepare for, and attend college; and has advised Foundation leaders regarding ongoing operations, to ensure consistency with the Foundation’s social justice vision and values. He also has worked within the Foundation’s portfolio to support organizations and leaders to undertake rigorous strategy development and implementation planning.
“[PEG founder] John Newsome uncovered germane data, and consistently provided high-quality and high-level information, enabling [the Foundation] to lead our trustees through discussions about our direction.”
– Cedric Brown, CEO, The Kapor Center
- BBCBI Strategy Research
- White House Announcement
- Oakland Tribune: Scholars program helps black students in Alameda County
- Responsive Philanthropy: Small Foundation, Big Impact
From June 2015 to the present, a PEG team of consultants (including John Newsome, Rita Louh, and Jean Cooper) has supported the Foundation to develop a set of “guiding principles” for its equity strategy; synthesized Bay Area equity research & data (including feedback from Bay Area community members and stakeholders), and related implications; and developed scenarios and ultimately strategies for TSFF equity work going forward. John and Rita continue to support the Foundation through program strategy and grant-making implementation, leadership coaching, and organization-wide change management.
- The San Francisco Foundation: Advancing Equity…How We Created Our Equity Agenda
- The San Francisco Foundation: Advancing Equity: Reimagining the Ways a Community Foundation Delivers on Its Mission
- The Stanford Social Innovation Review: Listening To The Community To Reimagine How A Foundation Delivers On Its Mission
- San Francisco Chronicle: SF Foundation Drafts Plan to Tackle… Disparity
- San Francisco Business Times: Can Philanthropy Pull a Country … Closer Together?
- San Francisco Business Times: Foundation to tackle… “challenges” involving race, economic exclusion
Throughout 2014 and into 2015, a PEG team supported the Peter Kiewit Foundation (NE, which awards about $25 million annually in grants. We gathered, analyzed, and synthesized research and data about people, places, and issues in Nebraska;conducted leader and stakeholder interviews and focus groups across the state (culminating in a data and stakeholder feedback summary report, available on PKF’s website); and prioritized key areas for potential focus, based on the Foundation’s unique positioning. Ultimately, we codified a new strategy that increased the Foundation’s explicit focus on addressing “inequality of opportunity”—e.g., education and workforce development, community development, leadership development, and planning/ policy advocacy (PEG continues to advise PKF on strategy, implementation, and board governance).
“We engaged PEG to help us develop our foundation’s first strategic plan. They did an excellent job of gathering the data, asking the right questions, and guiding the process. But what really distinguished their work was how apparent it was to our team, to our board, and to our community how invested they were in our success and how passionate they were in making sure our work would lead to real impact… We emerged with a strong plan that aligned our board and staff and that we are now ‘living our way into’. Thanks PEG!”
– Jeff Kutash, Executive Director, The Peter Kiewit Foundation (former Managing Director, FSG San Francisco)
- PKF Strategy Highlights
- PEG Data & Interview Highlights
- Omaha World Herald: New Plan, More Goals for Kiewit Foundation
GLIDE is the largest, progressive megachurch in the United States is known for its commitment to “radical inclusivity.” From 2013 to 2015, John Newsome, Rita Louh, and other PEG team members supported GLIDE’s leadership and board in developing the organization’s first-ever comprehensive strategic plan, spanning both the Church and Foundation (programs). It culminated in a renewed focus on racial, economic, and social justice advocacy, and fostered deep relationships and “transformative impact” with San Francisco’s poorest and most marginalized populations. John, Rita, and their colleagues also worked closely with Glide leaders and trustees to support the organization’s governance and succession plans (and continue to provide periodic advisory support).
“The team at Public Equity Group (PEG) helped GLIDE create a new strategic framework to integrate the Church and Foundation visions. [John, Rita and Tom] facilitated a process that was inclusive, broad and expansive, yet focused enough for us to implement. What made the work so effective was that the PEG team took the time to understand our culture – what makes us tick – and used that understanding to help create a plan that was consistent with who we are, what we are good at, and who we serve. We highly recommend PEG for your strategic planning work.”
– Karen Oliveto, Senior Pastor; Rita Shimmin, Co-Executive Director; Kristen Growney Yamamoto, Co-Executive Director
(part of the Open Society Foundations’ “Open Places” Initiative) – San Juan PR
Since winter 2015, PEG founder John Newsome and PEG analysts have supported leaders from four organizations (funded by Open Society Foundations, or OSF) the Center for a New Economy, the ACLU of Puerto Rico; the University of Puerto Rico law school, and the Center for Investigative Journalism to launch a new organization and develop strategies to advance progressive change and long-term civic capacity across Puerto Rico. The effort is based on OSF’s “place-based” work in Baltimore, and is undertaken in close collaboration with Open Society Foundations’ leaders and board.
“John Newsome’s work during our 9-month strategic plan process was extraordinary. He had to craft the strategic plan for a new NGO that does collaborative work with other non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico. He was able to understand the complex environment we are working in, learn about our partner organizations and reconcile differing visions to help us craft a plan that honored the mission of the organization while re-focusing our objectives and fine-tuning our strategies. His commitment to the work was above and beyond what we expected—which is a clear testament to his professional abilities and his commitment to help organizations have a real impact on the social justice issues he cares deeply about…”
– Nuria Ortiz, Executive Director, Espacios Abiertos
- El Nuevo Dia: Junte Para Apoderar a Nuestros Ciudadanos
- Nuevo Dia: EA Sues the PR Government
- EA & CNE Launch Hurricane Recovery Fund
- Telemundo: EA Holds “Virtual” Budget Hearing
- EA Report on PR Corporate Tax Giveaways
In 2014-2015, a PEG team helped Tipping Point Community (a grant-making organization, modeled after NY’s Robin Hood Foundation, that raises and contributes $15 million to $20 million to Bay Area community organizations) develop an impact framework and strategy that redouble the organization’s focus on long-term impact, and aligns Tipping Point’s investment strategies, grantee support, and internal accountability metrics accordingly (e.g., more funding and TA over a longer period of time; greater investment in R&D to surface truly “breakthrough” solutions and increased accountability for progress). Previously, PEG teams supported Tipping Point to develop a grantee feedback report (based on comprehensive grantee surveys and interviews) and helped Tipping Point refine and focus its approach to grantee technical assistance.
“[PEG’s team members] are sharp, diligent collaborators who bring a mix of big picture thinking and a real understanding of on-the-ground challenges. They continue to provide invaluable support and guidance to our team as we use the strategy to better serve the 1.3 million people who struggle to meet their basic needs in our community.”
– Daniel Lurie, Founder + CEO, Tipping Point Community
(co-funded by the Sherwood Foundation & the University of Nebraska)
The mission of this University of Nebraska-based Institute, which has an endowment of $100 million, is to make Nebraska “the best place in the US to be a baby”—particularly for low income children of color, and children in rural NY communities. Since winter 2015, John Newsome, Jean Cooper, and PEG analysts have supported the Institute to develop a framework and strategy for closing the early childhood achievement and opportunity (or “equity”) gap, and mobilizing the state’s prominent university system, philanthropic and business communities, media, and local communities in support of this mission.
“Working with John Newsome and Jean Cooper has been extremely helpful to us a start-up with great ideas, high expectations, and talented people. John led us through a theory of change process that brought us together as a staff, helped us articulate our goals, and enabled us to clarify and focus our energies. Wherever John went and with everyone he met, he communicated his knowledge, skill, and professionalism. He has been a wonderful facilitator and an equally valuable ambassador for all we do. My staff and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with him.”
– Dr. Sam Meisels, Founding Executive Director
“Public Equity Group helped us develop a thorough and thoughtful plan to fully implement our theory of change and refined mission. [The PEG team members] were excellent process leaders, project managers, and thought partners. They were invaluable in ensuring that we were able to both realize our commitment to an inclusive process while simultaneously reaching concrete decisions and a clear, actionable plan. Perhaps of equal value, our work with PEG served to build our internal capacity to manage change, a long-reaching benefit to CHP as we move into implementation of our ambitious commitment to help homeless families and individuals not only secure housing, but reach long-term self-sufficiency and a greater quality of life.”
– Gail Gilman, Executive Director, Community Housing Partnership (CHP)