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President & CEO's Report for May

May 5, 2010


We are delighted to announce that the Hewlett Foundation has awarded us a $75,000 grant to assist us in transitioning to CN 2.0 (short hand name for our planned revamped rating system). This is the largest grant (nearly four times as much as any other) in our entire history! Furthermore, it comes from one of THE top foundation experts on charity analysis. Actually, to say that we are delighted is an understatement!


We plan to use the funding to cover some of the overall costs of developing CN 2.0. In addition, a significant portion of the funds will be dedicated to developing a training program for graduate students who will be helping us in analyzing charities with CN 2.0. The funding will also help cover the costs of supervising the work of the students. This is a very exciting model for us to test, as it may help us to expand our capacity to evaluate charities while keeping our cost down. The graduate students will earn college credits for their work with us as well as learn about the critical information needed to evaluate a charity’s overall performance. So we will be helping to educate future charity leaders and philanthropic supporters of the sector, while they help us to expand our capacity. A win-win!


Meanwhile, we have been continuing in our efforts to develop the CN 2.0 tool they will be utilizing. To that end, we have engaged the help of Steve Goldberg, author of the fascinating book – Billions of Drops in Millions of Buckets: Why Philanthropy Does Not Advance Social Progress. Steve has helped us to develop a strategic framework for our efforts. In addition, he is helping us to engage a number of “best of breed” organizations who have been developing complimentary tools we hope to integrate into CN 2.0. At the same time, our Advisory Panel has provided invaluable feedback to us as we prepare to roll out dimension two of CN 2.0 – which assesses accountability and transparency – on July 1st of this year (assuming all goes according to plan!).


Another person who has become a critical supporter and pro-bono consultant to Charity Navigator is Dr. Robert Penna (lead author of the resource rich book – Outcome Frameworks). In addition to providing help with managing my blog site (www.kenscommentary.org), Dr. Penna has been my co-author on a number of recently published articles (see here, here, and here). Dr. Penna is also about to publish his second book titled – The Outcome Toolbox. Charity Navigator is a proud supporter of the book, with our logo prominently displayed within it and a Foreword written by yours truly. We will be making electronic copies available on our web site as soon as the book comes out. Finally, Dr. Penna is assisting us in responding to numerous requests we are getting to take Charity Navigator into other countries.


In the midst of all of this activity, we moved our offices from Mahwah to Glen Rock, NJ. Our new address is: 139 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, NJ 07452. We made this move to be more financially efficient by cutting our monthly rental costs by two thirds. We will use that savings to allocate more of our resources to our primary purpose – to conduct the detailed analysis and rate charities so we can be an even better guide to intelligent social investing! To that end, let me introduce you to three new staff - Chunchen, David and Michelle, as well as a full time volunteer professional – Tetyana Pilyukova. With their help we continue to strengthen our capacity to serve you.


All the best,

Ken Berger  
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