Strategic Partners & Allies
Informing Change is proud to continue important areas of our nonprofit and philanthropic work with other consultants as well as key allies in the field, including Informing Change’s founders. Strategic partners collaborate with our staff on large projects that speak to their immense talents.
Jill has spent her career engaging in and bridging the public, private and independent sectors, including nonprofits and philanthropy. She has worked as a researcher, analyst, advocate, coach, consultant, social entrepreneur and business owner. Her passion and skills are in helping organizations and their leaders build a healthy, joyful, creative, values-based culture, and using information and experience to achieve meaningful results.
With a deep dedication to civic engagement and democratic practice, Jill launched and led two nonprofit philanthropic affinity groups—the Grantmaker Forum on Community and National Service and PACE, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement. She was a founding partner of Informing Change, a California-based evaluation and consulting firm that provides information-based consulting to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and leaders. Since 2007, Jill has been an independent consultant, providing coaching, support, technical assistance and facilitation to organizations and their leaders. Current and recent clients are: The Ford Foundation, The S.D. Bechtel Foundation, The Sonoma Community Foundation, The Raymond John Wean Foundation, IGNITE, Exponent Philanthropy, The Aspen Institute; Livingroom Conversations, PolicyLink; The Peninsula Jewish Community Center; The Henry M. Jackson Foundation; The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources; and The Generations Initiative.
Jill serves on the board of trustees of the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto, CA and on the Strategy Committee of the Seattle CityClub. She also serves proudly as a mentor for the “Scoop” Jackson Leadership Fellows program. In addition to her passion for improving practice, performance and leadership in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, Jill and her lifetime partner and wife, Fay Twersky, share their joyful lives with their two amazing children, David-Nathan and Jaz.
Beth Cousens is a consultant to Jewish educational organizations, working in areas of strategic planning and evaluation. Her clients have included UJA Federation of New York, American Jewish World Service, Berkeley Hillel, Repair the World, JESNA and other national and community-based organizations. Prior to her work as a consultant, as the Associate Vice President of Hillel’s Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience, Beth led Hillel’s Jewish educational strategy. In her five years with Hillel, Beth also led Hillel’s performance management efforts and served as a consultant to local Hillels.
Beth holds a PhD in the sociology of Jewish education from Brandeis University; she also holds an MA with Honors in Judaic Studies from Baltimore Hebrew University and an MSW from the University of Maryland. She spent five years as the educational planner for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, concentrating on services to adults in their 20s and 30s, synagogue education, teen Jewish identity, and expanding participation in Jewish overnight camping. Her dissertation research is entitled, “Shifting Social Networks: Studying the Jewish Growth of Adults in Their Twenties and Thirties.”
Beth is a Partner at ChangeCraft, a boutique consulting firm offering customized solutions to organizations and teams as they navigate change and growth. A trained coach and facilitator, Beth has worked in both the philanthropic and nonprofit worlds in over fifteen countries—from an India-based venture philanthropy fund to a San Francisco-based development organization which incubated conflict management organizations across the world, to Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental organization to Amnesty International.
Beth has focused her work on organizations at crossroads of significant organizational growth and change. In these times of flux, her consulting focuses on: (1) developing nimble strategies that reflect the external landscape and internal capacity that position organizations for change; (2) creating theories of change that allow organizations to identify and communicate their unique value add in the wider marketplace; and (3) bolstering leadership, managerial best practices, communication efficiencies and organizational culture shifts to ensure that internal strategy translates into sustained impact on the ground. Examples of relevant projects include consulting with non-profit organizations affiliated with the Global Fund for Children, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Dasra’s education-focused venture philanthropy portfolio, American Jewish World Service’s portfolio of post-tsunami grantees and Partners for Democratic Change’s international centers.
Throughout her career, Beth has used the tools of consulting, coaching, training and facilitation to help organizations develop smart growth strategies, healthy teams, innovative organizational cultures and robust leadership pipelines. Beth holds a Master’s degree in Religious Conflict and Conflict Resolution from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from the University of California, Berkeley.
Yoni is a Partner at ChangeCraft, a consulting firm whose work drives organizations and teams towards heightened impact and creativity. A renowned designer and facilitator of retreats and conferences, Yoni has nearly 25 years of experience as an organizational consultant, strategist and coach.
Yoni has offered strategic services to a wide range of organizations across five continents. His strategic services focus on the role of change management within the organizational process—alignment and support of organizational stakeholders, acquisition of skills, and strong interplay between strategy and organizational culture.
An innovator in the design and facilitation of “crafted gatherings”—conferences, retreats and trainings—Yoni has designed and re-shaped conferences across the nonprofit world, including the Conversation, the ROI Summit, the Hollyhock YSPE Conference, the Association of Small Foundation’s Skilled Juggler Retreat, and the Hillel Summer Institute. Working with nonprofit and for-profit clients, he has been engaged to dramatically shift organizational processes and management approaches. As a leading trainer of facilitators, he has worked with in-house facilitators as well as a generation of independent consultants.
Prior to the launch of Center for Leadership Initiative, ChangeCraft’s predecessor, in 2006, Yoni served as an independent consultant, first at Yesod Resource Management, Israel’s first philanthropic consultation firm, and later with nonprofit and philanthropic clients internationally. He has provided services to private and public foundations, ranging from values clarification, strategic work, field analyses and environmental scans, and training professional philanthropic staff. He has coached hundreds of professionals and senior executives as they navigate issues of strategy, organizational culture and sustainability.
Yoni was a founding member of the Elul Beit Midrash for cross cultural dialogue in Jerusalem and a teacher in numerous educational institutions throughout Israel. A graduate of Columbia University, Yoni also received private rabbinic ordination in Israel.
Kris is an independent consultant with nearly 15 years of experience conducting evaluation and research projects for numerous philanthropic, nonprofit and academic organizations. She brings a deep understanding of data and measurement to her work, with expertise ranging from the design of measurement processes, tools and systems to the collection, analysis and reporting of data. Kris serves as a thought partner and advisor on Informing Change projects, lending her methodological, strategic and content expertise.
During Kris’ nine-year tenure at Informing Change, she oversaw multifaceted evaluations and provided effective consultation to stimulate clients’ learning and application, primarily in the areas of health, leadership, education and organizational capacity. Her clients included Blue Shield of California Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Programs, The Center for Care Innovations, California School-Based Health Alliance, California Community Foundation, and others working to promote health and improve opportunities, primarily among vulnerable populations.
Prior to her work at Informing Change, Kris worked on program evaluations, policy initiatives, survey research projects and health education efforts. She worked at the Hawaii Outcomes Institute, writing comprehensive state and county health status profiles, and at Health Research for Action, evaluating an after-school program. She also has considerable direct service experience, including health education, counseling and case management. Kris holds Master’s degree in Public Health and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.
Kim Ammann Howard
For more than 25 years, Kim Ammann Howard has been designing and directing strategy, evaluation and applied research projects to inform the nonprofit, philanthropic and public sectors. She has developed particular expertise in leadership development, organizational capacity, networks and partnerships, systems change and field building across a range of content areas including health, education and youth engagement. As a former Director at Informing Change, she directed complex client projects, oversaw the health practice, and provided guidance to project teams on issues of methodology, as well as strategic direction to the organization.
Kim regularly shares her thinking and experiences in a variety of professional settings including those hosted by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Grantmakers in Health, the American Public Health Association, the American Evaluation Association, Network of Network Funders and the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Kim coaches and mentors students of various ages and provides assistance to nonprofits in a variety of capacities, including as a board member and pro-bono consultant assisting with organizational development and evaluation.
Before joining Informing Change, Kim directed applied research and evaluation projects at the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Prevention Research Center and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. At the Contra Costa County’s Health Services Department, she facilitated the design and implementation of prevention programs focused on a variety of health areas and staffed coalitions of representatives from nonprofit, public and private sector organizations.
Kim holds a PhD in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a BS in Nutritional Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.
Malka is an independent consultant specializing in civic engagement, government reform, and cross-sector collaboration. She has more than 30 years’ experience helping philanthropy, nonprofits and government agencies with organizational development, capacity building, strategic planning, process design, meeting facilitation, and research and writing. Malka has developed and managed civic engagement processes in the areas of water quality and sustainability, air quality, land use planning, transportation, recycling, public budgeting, neighborhood revitalization, downtown redevelopment, youth development, and public health. She recently authored, with Jill Blair, a paper for the Aspen Institute’s Forum on Community Solutions to define and describe a model of civic infrastructure for the 21st century.
Malka founded the nonprofit Community Focus in 1990 to facilitate more effective implementation of public policies by increasing community participation. She also served as a program officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, developing and managing grants in the areas of conflict resolution, civic engagement and California governance reform, and was the founding managing director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University.
As a senior associate with the Center for Collaborative Policy at California State University, Sacramento, Malka recently facilitated the Governors’ Task Force on Drinking Water Reorganization and is part of a statewide team of consultants working with diverse stakeholders to collaboratively implement the new California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. She is also the co-founder of Civity, a national initiative concerned about barriers of race, class, and culture that divide communities.
Malka has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University.
Maya Enista Smith
Maya Enista Smith has over a decade of experience in the civic engagement, leadership, youth development and community engagement fields. Maya works as a nonprofit and philanthropic consultant with clients including the Born This Way Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Headstand, Next Generation Scholars and Health Leads. Her passion is twofold—identifying and supporting Millennials leaders and helping to increase effective collaboration within the nonprofit world.
Maya began her consultant work after serving as Chief Executive Officer of Mobilize.org since March 2008, and Chief Operating Officer previously. Mobilize.org is a growing and innovative Millennial organization whose mission is to empower and invest in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems. During her time with Mobilize.org, Maya grew the organizational budget from $230,000 to over $1.2 million and helped support over 200 innovative Millennial-led projects on important issues ranging from supporting Millennial veterans to addressing community college completion to using technology to increase civic engagement.
In addition to her consulting work, Maya serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the One Percent Foundation, and on the Advisory Board for CIRCLE, and the Working Group for the Civic Health Index of the National Conference on Citizenship. For her leadership, Maya has been awarded a Youth Action Net Fellowship, the Independent Sector NGEN American Express Fellowship, Utne Reader’s 50 Visionaries Changing Your World Award, WIN’s Young Women of Achievement Award and Gelman, Rosenberg + Freedman 20011 EXCEL Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Management. Most recently, Maya was awarded the competitive Prime Movers Fellowship of the Hunt Alternatives Fund, a multi-year fellowship program for emerging and established social movement leaders working at the national level.
Maya, very proud of her Jersey roots, grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey and attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She currently resides outside of San Francisco with her husband, David, her son Hunter and their two black labs, Hudson and Zinny.
An Informing Change co-founder, Fay was recruited by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006. At the Gates Foundation, she developed and led their Impact Planning & Improvement team—developing a strategy lifecycle process that enabled grantmaking teams to engage in clear problem-identification and strategy development within a continuous learning and improvement framework.
Fay left her Gates Foundation post in 2010 when she was invited to Israel to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Director General of Yad Hanadiv—the Rothschild Family Foundation, based in Jerusalem. Her work with Yad Hanadiv was primarily to advise on issues of strategy development and measurement but during her tenure, she assumed the additional responsibility of serving as Co-Chief Programme Officer—supervising the programme team and leading the Programme Director Forum.
In the fall of 2011 Fay returned to the United States to work with Paul Brest, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as a Senior Fellow. In this position Fay offered advice and support to the foundation’s teams related to refining and consolidating its measurement efforts. In January 2013, Fay was named the Director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group. In this role, Fay will support the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to improve its philanthropic practices and lead the Foundation in developing, measuring, and evaluating new and existing strategies and initiatives.