Interview -Paul Brest, Jed Emerson, Katherina Rosqueta, Brian Trelstad, Michael Weinstein (Alliance)

1 April 2009

One of the most perennially vexing questions in philanthropy is how to assess the impact of funding, especially where there’s no obvious way of putting a price on the end product. A recently published paper on Measuring and/or Estimating Social Value Creation, written by Melinda Tuan and commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, features different models adopted for this purpose by a number of US foundations.

Alliance talked to representatives of some of these foundations about the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches, what they had learned from the research, and what they see as the next steps for the field. Fay Twersky (Gates Foundation) comments.

At one level, the different foundations are doing very similar things. As Katherina Rosqueta of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy remarks, ‘all of the approaches, including SROI [social return on investment], employ the same fundamental ratio: impact-cost or cost-impact. We all recognized that.’ Within this broad approach, however, there are some interesting nuances.

Read the full article here.