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In many ways, methods for monitoring, evaluating, and learning (MEL) of a particular grant are well-established. For donors, however, assessing impact often requires evaluating an entire portfolio. Proven practices for assessing portfolio progress, performance, or strategy quality and tactics for incentivizing adoption by program decision-makers are much less documented.

Open Society Foundations (OSF), like many foundations, views portfolios as a crucial unit of analysis, but is still determining the right approach for MEL. Central to this journey is that ‘addressing insoluble problems’ and flexible grantmaking are key philosophies underpinning OSF’s work.

During this session, two program officers responsible for MEL across multiple portfolios (women’s rights and fiscal governance), will share the theory and practices of designing and implementing models, our challenges, and what’s next. We are particularly interested to hear from others grappling with portfolio design and evaluation, attribution, and organizational culture shifts to learn and share during this session.

Speaker Info:

  • Megan Colnar, Session Facilitator
  • Zsuzsanna Lippai, First Author or Discussion Group Leader
  • Megan Colnar, Second Author or Discussion Group Leader