Why aren’t you doing more to help foundations and others listen to those they seek to support?

That was the question Fay Twersky, then of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, put to Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) in 2007. The Gates Foundation had used CEP’s Grantee Perception Report (GPR) to hear from the nonprofits it funded, but Fay wanted CEP to go a step further in gathering feedback. 

That simple question led to a conversation, and a lot of research, that resulted in CEP launching YouthTruth in 2008.

At that time, youth perception data was not widely recognized for its value in driving inclusive change processes, nor was it understood to to be the leading indicator of academic outcomes that research has now established it to be. Asking students to assess their school experience was a radical idea. Phil and Fay (now president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation) co-founded YouthTruth with Valerie Threlfall, YouthTruth’s founding director (now Executive Director of Listen4Good), working closely with a number of CEP staff.

YouthTruth is based on the simple but powerful premise that when you get timely feedback from those you’re trying to serve, and really listen to that feedback to make changes, you get better. As Fay often says, it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, as the three YouthTruth co-founders explained in this 2013 Stanford Social Innovation Review article

We’ve Come a Long Way

YouthTruth has been supporting school systems to collect and act on student and stakeholder feedback since 2008.

Go Us!