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Honing in on a big idea: helpful learnings from Last Mile Health

Stanford University recently hosted a terrific Engine of Impact event, featuring inspiring lessons from the high-impact nonprofit, Last Mile Health. On November 27th, Engine of Impact co-author and King Philanthropies President and CEO Kim Jonker and Last Mile Health cofounder and CEO Raj Panjabi took part in an exciting discussion on “Achieving Impact in the Social Sector”, co-hosted by the Stanford King Center for Global Development and the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and moderated by Laura Hattendorf of the Mulago Foundation.

To an audience comprised of students, faculty, Stanford alumni, and social sector leaders, Panjabi shared his personal lessons of leadership and learnings so far at Last Mile Health. Lauding the importance of themes of “focus, focus, focus” in Engine of Impact’s Chapter 1, “The Primacy of Mission”, Panjabi stressed the importance of focus in a nonprofit’s activities (versus breadth and diversification). Panjabi shared that the early years of Last Mile Health looked very different from what the organization is today. Initially, Last Mile Health’s interventions were broad, including agriculture, sewing & more! But by honing in on a single concept – professionalizing community health workers – Last Mile Health has achieved massive impact. It was featured as an exemplary organization in Engine of Impact, cited for its current clear and focused mission. Last Mile Health was also featured in Engine of Impact for its impressive ability to scale.

Photo courtesy Holly Hernandez, Stanford King Center for Global Development
December 13, 2018, in Events, Photos

Strategy Is All About What You Say NO To

On November 15th, Kim Jonker, President and CEO of King Philanthropies, and Tim Hanstad, CEO of the Chandler Foundation and cofounder of Landesa, led a discussion at the ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Organizations) Annual Conference in Austin, TX. Kim shared insights and themes from Engine of Impact, with Landesa as a case example of an organization that has mastered so many of the essentials of strategic leadership. Audience members were keen to ask Hanstad, who just stepped down after 32 years at the helm of Landesa, about the challenges posed and lessons he’d learned co-founding a small organization that went on to have incredible impact at scale. “Strategy is all about what you say no to,” said Hanstad. He shared that his team’s commitment to Landesa’s focused mission led the Landesa team to turn down enormous sums of grant money that would have led the organization astray.

November 28, 2018, in Events, Photos

Meehan and Jonker speak at 92Y

Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker recently spoke at the 92 St Y in New York City, offering insights on the leadership essentials necessary to achieve impact in the nonprofit sector.

The discussion was moderated by Kathy Spahn, CEO of the award-winning nonprofit Helen Keller International. Olympic Gold Medalist Maya DiRado introduced the speakers and shared reflections of how Engine of Impact had influenced her own journey into the social sector.

June 30, 2018, in Events, Photos

Creating Engines of Impact in Africa

Last week, Kim Jonker moderated a panel at the 2018 Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF) conference in Redwood City, Calif. The panel, “Building an Ecosystem: When Generosity Meets Strategy,” focused on the growth of philanthropy in Africa. In introducing and leading the session, Jonker drew both on her work at King Philanthropies, which sponsors ambitious programs in Africa, and on her and Bill Meehan’s work for Engine of Impact, which explores (among other topics) the nexus of generosity and strategy.

post at the GPF website summarizes the session:

Strategy is a planned set of actions that enable you to achieve your goals. However, many organizations in the social sector have strategies that lack focus and spread their resources too thin. Kim Starkey Jonker, president and CEO of King Philanthropies, sat down with Valerie Dabady, manager of the Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Department at the African Development Bank and Dikembe Mutombo, chairman and president of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, to discuss how philanthropists can effectively identify or build organizations with strong, targeted strategies. A former NBA player, Mutombo emphasized the importance of collaboration as a central part of strategy. “Anything you want to do in life, you have to understand you need to work as a team,” he said. Building on this, Dabady pointed out that knowing who to work with, and making the right partnerships for your organization is critical.

A complete video recording of the session appears below.

May 9, 2018, in Events, Photos

Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker speak at the HBS-GSB Board Summit

The 4th Annual HBS-GSB Board Summit, titled “Building High-Impact Non-Profit Boards” and jointly hosted by Harvard Business School Community Partners and Stanford Graduate School of Business, featured a keynote presentation that included a fireside chat with Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker.

March 19, 2018, in Events, Photos

Kim Jonker at the Boston Foundation

Kim Jonker spoke at an event cosponsored by The Boston Foundation, the Barr Foundation, and the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. Yolanda Coentro, the President and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, moderated a discussion on the impetus for writing a book on the social sector, the elements of strategic leadership, and broadly, the challenges facing the sector today.

February 12, 2018, in Events, Photos

Meehan and Jonker at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, 2018

Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker were speakers at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, co-hosted by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. They appeared on a panel with Raj Panjabi, co-founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, and Brian Trelstad, a partner at Bridges Fund Management and a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School, and also on a panel with Georgia Levenson Keohane, author of two books on social enterprise and a Professor at Columbia Business School, and Chris Jochnick, President and CEO of Landesa.

February 10, 2018, in Events, Photos

Big Apple Book Launch (Photos)

In conjunction with the official publication of Engine of Impact on Nov. 14, Bill Meehan and Kim traveled to New York City for a series of interviews and events. One event, hosted by the New York chapter of the Stanford Alumni Association, took place on Nov. 16 at Upper East Side home of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Zia Khan, vice president of initiatives and strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation, moderated the event. After Khan’s interview with Meehan and Jonker, the authors answered audience questions and then signed copies of the book.

Here, courtesy of the event organizers, are photos from the event.

November 27, 2017, in Events, Photos

Stanford University Book Launch (Photos)

In conjunction with the official publication of Engine of Impact on Nov. 14, John Hennessy, former president of Stanford University, moderated a discussion with Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker on Nov. 9, hosted on the Stanford campus by the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS).

Photos from the event:

November 9, 2017, in Events, Photos

Kickoff at Stanford

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker launched their efforts to promote Engine of Impact in a special event at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)—the institution where much of the thinking and research in the book originated. Jon Levin, dean of GSB, joined Meehan and Jonker for a wide-ranging discussion of themes and lessons from the new book. The event, held at Cemex Auditorium on the Stanford University campus, was part of Alumni Weekend at GSB.

Meehan and Jonker, speaking to a packed auditorium, talked at length about the steps that GSB alumni can take in their role as business leaders and nonprofit board members to boost the impact of organizations in the social sector. In a striking moment during the interview, Dean Levin asked attendees to raise their hand if they currently serve on a nonprofit board. The overwhelming majority of GSB alumni at the event—as many as three-fourths of them—raised their hands. Attendees expressed curiosity about serving in that role more effectively, and Meehan urged them to use that curiosity as an asset. “Keep asking dumb questions until you figure out what the smart questions are,” he said.

Photograph by Robert E. King

October 30, 2017, in Events, Photos

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