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Steven E. Mayer has over 30 years of experience conducting studies of organizational effectiveness throughout the nonprofit arena. His work, first as the founding director at Rainbow Research, Inc. (24 years), now at Effective Communities, has been consistently acknowledged for its contribution to improved understanding and performance by his clients: foundations, nonprofit organizations, and community groups. His concern has been consistent: to help socially concerned organizations respond more effectively to social problems and opportunities.

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Organizational Effectiveness – Steven Mayer’s formal training is in Industrial/Organizational psychology (Ph.D., University of Minnesota), but he brought that discipline into the philanthropic and nonprofit arena.  His work has been local in nature but in a variety of settings throughout the United States, in Minnesota, and in Western and Central Eastern Europe. He does his work in the spirit of constructive co-discovery, helping nonprofit organizations improve – rather than prove – their organizational effectiveness. The essential question is, “How can we better assess, appreciate, and improve the quality of performance in the philanthropic and nonprofit arena?” His work with foundations helps them develop their grantmaking skills, programming performance, and productive relations in their communities.

Program Evaluation Most of Steven’s projects and publications focus on the effectiveness of work done by foundations and nonprofit community organizations. He helped pioneer the “lessons learned” and “best practices” styles of evaluation, as well as procedures for organizational self-assessment, demystifying the process of evaluation so that people can use it constructively. More recently, he has brought his measurement experience to address the challenge of communicating in both quantitative and qualitative terms the benefits of philanthropic action. 

Capacity Building and Strategic Grantmaking – Most of Steven’s publications and presentations concern organizational effectiveness in the philanthropic sector. They fall into three basic categories: Philanthropy, Community, and Social Justice; Evaluation, Support, and Organizational Development; and Nonprofit and Independent Sector Issues. 

Dr. Mayer has done work for many of the country’s Top 25 foundations, for dozens of its community foundations, and hundreds of its nonprofits and community groups.  A select list of his publications since forming ECP can be seen on the Articles page of this website.

A more detailed curriculum vitae for Steven Mayer (pdf)

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Susan Doherty is a skilled program designer, administrator, and trainer and facilitator. Her formal education included an emphasis in intercultural communication and cross-cultural psychology, group process, training methodologies, leadership, and conflict resolution, achieving a Master of Arts degree (Antioch University, 1993). Until 2000, her professional career was based in Alaska.

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Nonprofit Management – Susan recently served as Interim Executive Director at AchieveMpls. Prior to that, she designed and directed AchieveMpls’ Career and College Initiative  to put a career and college center in each Minneapolis high school and partner with the community to provide information and opportunities to students. Susan started and served as director of Leadership Experiences International (LEI), a nonprofit organization based in Anchorage with the mission of building the capacity of youth to work together for common purposes in groups and organizations. She has also been the Executive Director of the Oregon Governor’s School for Citizen Leadership and served as Interim Director of the Youth Farm and Market Project in the Twin Cities. She is currently on the board of Minneapolis College Preparatory School and has also served on the boards of Hospice of Anchorage andYouth Farm and Market Project

Training – For more than 25 years, Susan has designed and conducted training for a variety of groups, especially in the fields of education, youth leadership, and school reform. As the Director of Alaska’s Student Leadership Project, she designed and conducted leadership workshops for secondary students throughout Alaska on topics such as team building, group process, planning processes, and meeting management. She also served on the design team and then on staff of Altemus Leadership Development Programme for young adults from Central and Eastern Europe. As a member of the National School-to-Work Technical Assistance Providers network, she provided training and assistance to administrators, teachers, employers, and community organization members involved in School-to-Work systems throughout Alaska. She designed and conducted in-service training for teachers and counselors throughout Alaska. She also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Planning and Group Facilitation – Susan has designed and facilitated planning meetings for such diverse groups as school district staff, private industry councils, regional job centers, statewide summits on domestic violence, community-based youth development projects, and public housing resident councils. Working with a statewide council of more than 30 educators, employers, government agency staff, and community-based organization representatives, Susan designed and facilitated a process designing Alaska’s School-to-Work system. She was on a team that designed Alaska’s Human Resource Investment Council. Susan also facilitated cross-cultural exchanges for high school students in the U.S. and Asia.

A more detailed curriculum vitae for Susan Doherty (pdf)


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