For 35+ years, Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D., has been producing evidence- based tools to help nonprofits, foundations, and others working in social justice, to strengthen the work they’re doing, and providing methods for program evaluation. Some of his best publications and blog posts relating to that work are available on this website.
Philanthropic effectiveness can be measured on many levels – individual, community, and system. Each level has different needs and requires its own unique approach, and the most effective philanthropic efforts are those that address all three. For guidance to donors in making philanthropic choices that will foster stronger community development, align with their values, and demonstrate effectiveness, click on one of the Topics.
Regardless of the motive of givers, people want to know that their contributions have helped make the world a better place. Evaluation practices that recognize “bottom lines” based in human rather than financial values are essential if we’re to learn how well foundations and nonprofits are delivering the goods. Click a Topic to see posts that show practical and doable approaches to better evaluating philanthropic endeavors and outcomes.
The idea of Justice as the fair treatment of all people, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or any other differentiating factor, is being tackled by institutional philanthropy and nonprofits around the world. Click a Topic to explore.
Every community has assets and resources that can be strengthened for the benefit of all its members. Here are inspiring examples of successful community development efforts, in our own backyards and around the world, and ideas for how activists, community organizers, grantmakers, donors, and nonprofit managers can support and implement effective projects that achieve greater social justice and asset development in their communities.
New Book Offer
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Evaluating Your Choices
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Recognizing that impactful change sometimes begins with the work of one person, Dr. Mayer has now created a blueprint for individual donors who want to make a difference but want to know more about evaluating their options.
It will also be relevant for those staffing and leading institutional foundations and nonprofits.
By young adulthood, the future Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D., had developed a keen interest in social justice and community change, and a strong desire to make the world a better place. In college he was hired by a social science think tank in Washington, D.C., where he was introduced to approaches to organizational assessment. This experience, and exposure to the principles of social reform as experiments, inspired him later to pivot from academia to his eventual career as a thought leader in effective, evidence-based program evaluation for philanthropic and humanitarian-focused organizations. The author and educator has evaluated programs for large and small foundations and nonprofits throughout the US and beyond, taught at major universities, and recently turned to supporting individuals learning to delve into impactful community development and social justice. Read on to learn more about his work and how it applies to positive local outcomes and system change – from grassroots community organizing efforts to large-scale equity building change.