About

ebj_headshot_webHi there. I’m Eric. 

After spending over a decade working in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, I realized that many organizations struggle with the same issues: articulating the work they do, communicating their value and impact, and attracting support to their causes. 

Unfortunately, since most funding is restricted to projects, organizations focus all of their time and energy on “doing the work” without ever sufficiently working on themselves. As a result, many organizations lack a clear, compelling message that attracts the resources they need to grow and succeed.

I started working with nonprofits and foundations because I want to make it easier and more enjoyable for them to achieve their missions and build support for their causes. My mission is to help nonprofits and foundations more clearly articulate who they are, what they do, and why it matters in ways that strengthen and expand their communities of support. My hope is that one day we have a thriving nonprofit sector where organizations are able to effectively solve societal problems by accurately identifying their own unique niches within the broader landscapes in which they work and actively engaging in and growing their networks and communities of support.


What’s it like to work with me?

I know nonprofits and foundations have limited resources, so I try to make working together as easy and practical as possible. I take a very client-driven approach to delivering pragmatic tools that build my clients’ capacity to achieve their missions more efficiently and more effectively. 

At the same time, I believe my greatest value as an outside consultant is my ability to push clients to further their thinking and deepen their understanding of what they need to do to create meaningful impact. I accomplish this by asking questions, facilitating constructive dialogue, and surfacing unspoken assumptions and beliefs. In the end, I help align leaders and their teams with clarity, focus, and a shared sense of purpose. 

My work is guided by five core values:

  • Honesty and Authenticity. I believe that being open, honest, and authentic yields stronger relationships, so I do my best to be forthcoming, transparent, and tell it like it is. Sometimes that means a little tough love, but I do so only to produce the best results.
  • Pragmatism and Practicality. I want the results of our work together to be sensible, realistic, and easily utilized within the given context. While it is good to have aspirations, it is equally important to know your limits and constraints, and to focus on what is likelier and easier to get done under the present and future circumstances.
  • Compassion for Our Humanity. While it sounds obvious, I recognize that organizations are made up of human beings, and people all have their own needs, wants, interests, and feelings. The success of any work we do together depends on getting everyone in the organization aligned towards the same goals, so we must face any feelings, differences, or resistance with respect and compassion for our fellow human beings.
  • Diversity and Inclusion. Different perspectives and thinking are how we come up with the best path forward, and, when people are involved in the process, they are much more likely to feel a sense of ownership for the final product. So I strive to bring people together, give voice to dissenting opinions, and provide opportunities for everyone to share their feedback on the work.
  • Joy and Play. The work you do is important and the problems you face are serious, but I believe that we are more effective when we enjoy our jobs. So I always try to infuse some humor, creativity, playfulness, and enjoyment into our work. After all, just because I take the work seriously doesn’t mean I have to take ourselves seriously, right?

Why me? Here are 6 reasons I’m qualified to help you.

  1. I have over fifteen years of experience working in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, so I understand the ins and outs of charitable work. During my time in philanthropy, I supported organizations small and large to improve their financial sustainability, enhance their communications, conduct scientific research, and develop their programs. I worked at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation supporting integrated water management for the state of California, where I managed a portfolio of grants focused on financial sustainability and communications. Before that, I worked on the Andes-Amazon Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, where I developed and implemented program strategies and grant portfolios. Before working at private family foundations, I worked in communications, outreach, fundraising, and project management for environmental organizations.
  2. I know how to help organizations improve their work. As a consultant, I have worked with a diversity of organizations on strategy, messaging, communications, and organizational development. Some of my previous clients include the California Academy of Sciences, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Maker’s Ed, and EqualHealth. I have also worked as a consultant in the private sector, where I coached leaders, strengthened teams, and led change management and communications.
  3. I know how to help people develop new ways of working. I’m an experienced trainer with a thorough knowledge of adult learning and behavior modification. I’ve designed and delivered over a dozen trainings on messaging, planning, and fundraising for The Foundation Center, developing the communications and planning skills of nearly 200 executives and communications professionals from 160 different organizations. I was also a frequent advisor for The Foundation Center’s Proposal Writing Bootcamp, providing feedback to dozens of organizations on their fundraising proposals.
  4. I know how to help organizations develop clear, focused, and practical strategies. Through my work in private foundations and nonprofit organizations, I gained extensive experience with theory of change development, strategic planning, and logic models. I have developed my own approach to strategic planning, derived from methods in conservation to analyze environmental problems and design interventions to tackle them. 
  5. I know how to bring people together to get work done. I have been trained in Technology of Participation (ToP)® Facilitation Methods developed by the Institute for Cultural Affairs and have  facilitated meetings ranging from team meetings and internal dialogues to staff retreats and stakeholder convenings. I’ve worked with cross-cultural teams and international teams, and I know how to build trusting relationships with different audiences. I earned my master’s degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco, which taught me how to improve organizational performance through leadership, management, teamwork, systemic change, and constructive dialogue. And my training and experience in change management taught me how to assess, engage, and align stakeholders for the success of large-scale projects.
  6. I know how to understand and tackle big systemic problems. I have a master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree was in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. My background in environmental conservation taught me how to take a holistic, scientific approach to diagnosing and solving complex, systemic problems; how to communicate with and bring together multiple stakeholders with diverse interests; and how to use limited resources to design and implement practical interventions that create meaningful, lasting change. 

And a couple of fun facts about me: 

  • I am an internationally-recognized West Coast Swing dancer, instructor, and competitor.
  • In my spare time I like to write plays and screenplays (and I’m working on a novel too).
  • I live in St. Paul with my partner and our two cats, Nora and Fitz.

Still not sure if I’m right for your organization?

Contact me and let’s chat to find out together.