PEJE is committed to learning about more effective ways to exercise our philanthropic mission with day schools. Toward, that end, we commission external evaluators to provide us with feedback about our program initiatives as well as assessments of our overall philanthropic performance. In 2006 we engaged The Center for Effective Philanthopy (CEP)to help us benchmark our own performance as a grant maker and provider of management support services. CEP conducted confidential surveys of current and recent grantees. Sixty-one percent of our grantees–an impressive yield–completed detailed questionnaires, leading to a Grantee Perception Report that compares our performance with 163 foundations and with a smaller cohort of foundations similar to PEJE (Jewish organizations, foundations with an educational mission, or organizations that provide management support services). We are extremely appreciative to those who took the time to respond to the survey and to provide us with very thoughtful feedback.
A summary of the CEP Grantee Perception Report is included here, along with PEJE’s response to the findings.
PEJE’s Response to the 2006 Grantee Perception Report What Have We Learned?
▪ As compared with other foundations—many of which are larger and heavily endowed—PEJE is highly rated in its impact on and understanding of the day school field, as well as our ability to advance knowledge in the field.
▪ PEJE is also highly rated in terms of our reporting and evaluation processes. Grantees commented on our expertise in Jewish day school education and on our coaches’ “invaluable” guidance and management/planning expertise.
▪ In terms of fairness, responsiveness, and comfort in approaching us if a problem arise, grantees rate PEJE about the same as organizations in our cohort, but this is below the median of all foundations.
▪ Areas where PEJE’s performance could be improved in order to match the larger pool of foundations include: impact on the school or the community; assistance in helping schools secure funding from other sources; and the clarity of our communications.
From the Outside In: Strengthening Jewish Day Schools Through Community and Collaborative Interventions by Bonnie Hausman and Suzanne Kling, June 2006
School Improvement Journey Grant Summary of Findings
As part of our regular program evaluations, PEJE commissioned an evaluation of the School Improvement Journey grant. The following summary highlights the essential information of what we have learned about assessment and coaching strategy through grant-making. We believe that knowledge gained from this PEJE grant experience and a thoughtful review of this Summary of Findings provide valuable insights for leaders of Jewish day schools as well as for those in other organizations serving the day school field. Topics covered include:
▪ The Board Chair-Head of School Relationship
▪ Board Leadership
▪ Leadership Succession
▪ School Readiness for Assessment
▪ Institutional Assessment
▪ PEJE Grant Management
School Improvement Journey Grant Summary of Findings Prepared by Bonnie Hausman, PEJE Senior Program Officer, R&E, and based on the SIJ Executive Summary (Bechoffer, et al.), 2008.