Learning is a Team Sport

Dear Colleagues:

Learning is on my mind these days. On the home front, we are about six weeks into an entirely remote school year with no signs of that changing anytime soon. And on the professional front, I’ve just wrapped up presenting at my third all-virtual conference. Though I miss the opportunity to connect in person, I’m impressed by how far we’ve come in such a short time with the ability to use technology to bridge distances and other barriers, such as improving diversity and inclusion at industry events. Not everyone has the time or budget to travel, but now that no longer needs to be a barrier.

Learning is also on my mind because here at Candid we also started a big transition over the summer by launching our new Candid Learning website as a single destination for trainings, resources, and learning experiences to improve the way you do your work. The first phase of Candid Learning was to transition the learning content for grantseekers into the platform, and that is now complete. All the fundraising capacity building courses that our audiences rely on can be found there, and we have also pivoted to offering all of our events and courses in an all-virtual format given present day realities.

Because Candid has learning tools for grantmakers and grantseekers, the site is designed to be a destination for both audiences, and also includes easy pathways to content from GrantCraft and GlassPockets. In the future, we’ll further integrate these sites into Candid Learning, and build out a new funder resource area to help you more easily find relevant webinars, guides, articles, and other donor learning tools. As part of this effort, we will also be adding webinars and training modules for grantmakers and we are in need of a pilot audience to test our initial offerings, which will focus on training about Candid’s data tools, researching funding trends, and improving what is known about your foundation. If you or your colleagues would be interested in helping us by volunteering to in serve in this role, please contact me.

Learning is also key to an industry collaborative I’ve had the pleasure of working on over the last 18 months, and this week, that work comes to fruition with the launch of several products from our partners at FEAN, the Funder and Evaluator Affinity Network, which is a national network of evaluation professionals working to deepen the impact of evaluation and learning in philanthropic practice. This week, FEAN’s “Action Teams” launched a Call to Action Series of five briefs, decision tools, open letters, discussion guides, and more that address urgent issues in the philanthropic sector and provide actionable recommendations to achieving a stronger and more equitable field of practice. The “Action Team” I co-led along with my colleague, Ashleigh Halverstadt of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, was focused on improving the sharing of foundation evaluation knowledge.

It was great to work on this as it was a natural extension of GrantCraft’s #OpenForGood Guide and campaign, and allowed us to once again remind the field that, particularly at a time when philanthropy is thinking about ways to improve its record on equity, what you know shouldn’t be about who you know. Please join Candid and our partners at FEAN in affirming the importance of sharing evaluation knowledge. The FEAN Knowledge Sharing toolkit includes an Open Letter we encourage you to sign expressing your commitment to improve your institution’s open knowledge practices, along with a discussion guide that you can use at the start of your next evaluation effort to ensure that the knowledge you intend to create is also intended to be shared.

In closing, learning is a team sport, and particularly with the enormity of the challenges we face this year, I’m glad we don’t have to face these hard-won lessons alone. Looking forward to seeing your name added to the Open Letter and to our pilot audience group!

In community,
Janet Camarena