Panel BREAKOUT SESSION ONE: 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Redesigning Funding Models and Funder-Grantee Relationships

The “overhead myth.” The “nonprofit starvation cycle.” There are countless well-documented and well-researched reports that show how the deprioritization of infrastructure holds organizations back and prevents effective generation of impact. And yet, the idea that low overhead is what defines an effective nonprofit, and that charitable giving should be directed to organizations who spend the highest percentage on programming, is longstanding and pervasive—found everywhere from grant applications to viral Facebook posts.

How can foundations and funders stay accountable to their own missions and metrics while allowing their grantees to be most effective? What improvements can new models of funding bring to the sector at large? How can funders and grantees communicate and collaborate to achieve goals driven by shared values? In this session, we’ll examine innovative ways that funders are supporting organizational capacity and forging stronger funder-grantee relationships—and how this can be leveraged to reshape a broken paradigm.


Victoria Dunning: BUILD Program Officer, Ford Foundation

Allison Moomey: Management Consultant, Management Assistance, Robin Hood Foundation

Marissa Guananja: Program Officer, Family Economic Security at W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Ashley B. Berendt: Vice President, TDC


Judith Chevalier: William S. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Economics, Yale School of Management


Panelist Bios:

Victoria Dunning is a program officer for BUILD at the Ford Foundation. The 5-year, $1 billion BUILD initiative builds institutions and networks through multiyear general support and institutional strengthening. Victoria also leads BUILD’s efforts in learning and evaluation. She has more than 20 years of philanthropy and international development experience with nonprofit organizational development, assessment, and evaluation, particularly in the Global South.

Prior to joining Ford, Victoria was executive vice president of The Global Fund for Children, where she provided grants and capacity-building support to small grassroots organizations around the world. She previously served as senior program officer for women and population at the United Nations Foundation, where she oversaw a program portfolio on strengthening youth health and development and maximizing access and quality of reproductive health services with the UN and international NGO partners. Before that, Victoria was at the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health where she oversaw research and evaluation activities on youth development and women’s health in East and West Africa. Her previous positions include NGO sector adviser at USAID Tanzania, clinic manager for the Young Men’s Clinic in New York City, project design and development trainer with developing-country professionals, and Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. Victoria is a frequent speaker and writer on philanthropy practice, capacity building, and learning and evaluation at universities, conferences, and in philanthropy and social sector publications. She has a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and international affairs from Mount Holyoke College.

Allison Moomey is a Management Consultant at Robin Hood. She works with Robin Hood’s community partners to meet capacity building needs across a variety of areas, including strategy, technology, and human capital. Prior to Robin Hood she worked at McKinsey & Company, where she spent time as both a generalist consultant and as the US Manager for Generation, a workforce development nonprofit McKinsey launched in 2014. Before her time in consulting, she worked as a Kiva Fellow and Teach for America Corps Member. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and BS in International Business from Pepperdine University.

Marissa Guananja is a program officer for Family Economic Security at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. As a member of the Family Economic Security team, focused on systems change, Guananja identifies and supports grantmaking that  improves the economic security of low-income and workers of color. She stewards investments in organizations and leaders that elevate worker voice and protect worker rights, and that build the economic power of communities of color. Guananja recommends proposals that address the precarity and volaity that low-income workers and communities of color face. From addressing the root causes of that precarity – the fissuring of the workplace, the impact of technology on workers, and the diminished avenues for workers to seek recourse for workplace grievances – to identifying tools and resources that allow families to navigate uncertainty – a robust social safety net and safe and affordable financial products and services.

Before joining the foundation in 2015, Guananja served as the director of CONNECT (operated by The Neighborhood Developers) in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and managed staff, committees, and board members to carry out CONNECT’s mission of moving families in poverty to economic stability. Marissa has also held various positions with Neighborhood Developers, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and served as a board member with Massachusetts Community and Banking Council. Marissa received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles, and her master’s degree in public policy from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Marissa is fluent in Spanish.

Ashley B. Berendt joined TDC in 2013. She specializes in the design, management, and implementation of complex, multi-year philanthropic initiatives and planning projects. She works with grantmakers to analyze funding ecologies, identify organizational capacity challenges and opportunities, and create sound philanthropic programs with realistic outcomes. In addition to support for grantmakers, Ashley’s practice also includes nonprofit research and analysis; board assessment; municipal planning; strategy coaching; and process facilitation. With over ten years of experience in nonprofit, foundation, and research organizations, Ashley brings multiple perspectives from across the sector to her work with clients.

Prior to joining TDC, Ashley managed project strategy, operations, and development in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont on behalf of the Cultural Data Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts (now DataArts). She led and supported philanthropic initiatives and client-based work at Tides Foundation in San Francisco; conducted nonprofit research at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University; and supported public opinion research at Peter D. Hart Research Associates in Washington, D.C.. Ashley began her career at the statewide organization, California FarmLink, where she managed small business development programs and designed a revolving loan fund for low- to middle-income farmers. Ashley holds a BA in religion and sociology from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School, where she studied the intersection of ethics, politics, and civil society.

Judith Chevalier's research is in the areas of both finance and industrial organization. Some of her recent research examines the interaction between customer reviews and firm strategy, consumer foresight in markets for durable goods, the impact of state regulations in the market for funeral products and services, and the taste for leisure as a determinant of occupational choice. She has written a series of papers on the economics of electronic commerce, the interaction between firm capital structure and product market competition, price seasonality and cyclicality, and tests of models of agency relationships and career concerns, and firm diversification. Recently, her work has focused on the effects of new technologies on firms, individuals, and policy. She is a former co-editor of the American Economic Review and of the Rand Journal of Economics.