OPEN Member Spotlight:
Corey Newhouse – Public Profit
Why did you found Public Profit?
Like many evaluators, I found this field while searching for the right professional fit for myself. I
knew I wanted to work with mission-driven organizations, learned that direct service wasn’t my
forte, and am a curious person. Evaluation ticked all those boxes and more.
As I got to know the evaluation consulting field, I saw an opportunity to create a small firm that
focused on evaluation and learning and that sought to balance rigor with usability. A fortuitous
call from a would-be client allowed me to launch Public Profit in fall 2007.
What are the most exciting areas of growth and learning in evaluation?
I’m really heartened to see foundations taking a more realistic approach to evaluation and
learning. Foundations are acknowledging what it takes to do this work well within mission-
driven organizations, and are investing in it, both through capacity building initiatives like
Listen for Good and PropelNext and by incorporating evaluation and learning into allowable
grant expenses. And more and more foundations are willing to look within, such as by
participating in initiatives like Glass Pockets and the Grantee Perception Report.
I’m also seeing big changes in how evaluators think about their role, with concomitant impacts
on the skills they need to do their work. For many of us, the days of the big, fat summative
report are waning, as mission-driven organizations increasingly seek rapid feedback to inform
practice. This requires a more nimble, facilitative approach to evaluation that is new ground for
many of us. It’s a terrific opportunity to learn from colleagues in other fields, including strategic
planning, community organizing, and organizational development.
What are some fun things you’re working on now?
In spring 2019 we’ll re-release our Creative Ways to Solicit Stakeholder Input guide, which
describes a variety of non-traditional ways to seek input from clients, visitors, and participants.
The expanded guide has updated activities and examples specific to museums and cultural
institutions, working with multi-lingual communities, and incorporating feedback opportunities
into program offerings themselves.
We’ve used ripple effect mapping (REM) methods with a number of our clients in the last few
years, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it! We like REM because it is asset based and emergent,
while still being quite rigorous and thorough. It’s a terrific fit for collaborative and network-
based initiatives, since it helps to illuminate connections between different activities and actors, and point to opportunities for future targeted action. We plan to share what we’ve learned at the
2019 AEA conference and possibly through a webinar.
What’s on the horizon for Public Profit?
Now that we have offices in Eugene, Oregon and Oakland, California, I’m exploring the ways in
which our team I can support mission-driven organizations across the west coast. We’ve
expanded our services to include strategic program design and evaluation capacity building,
which we hope will make our partnership that much more beneficial for our clients.