Beldon Fund

Final Impact Assessment: Legacy #11

The Beldon Fund:
Final Impact Assessment

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Core Beldon staff (and others in the ‘Beldon family’) represent a living Beldon legacy, as they continue to champion many of Beldon’s theories of change and remain active leaders in environmental philanthropy.

People were the core of Beldon’s strategy, and Beldon focused on investing in both leaders and leadership development. This emphasis on people actually started with the Beldon staff itself as the Beldon Fund devoted considerable energy to hiring and retaining experienced and well-respected staff, who could serve as effective advocates for its mission and theory of change. This emphasis was important because Beldon did not just see itself as a funder, but also as a partner, strategist, convener, and mentor to its grantees, and, in some instances, to colleague funders. Beldon focused on leveraging its expertise and relationships in all of these areas to have maximum impact on the field in its short lifespan. Even though Beldon has closed its doors, core Beldon staff members, as well as others in the ‘Beldon family,’ continue to impact the field in a positive way and to spread Beldon’s influence and ideas to others.

Three former Beldon staff members in particular-Bill Roberts, Antha Williams, and Anita Nager-remain influential in the field today: Bill Roberts was Beldon’s President and Executive Director from 1998 to 2008, and now serves as a Principal at Corridor Partners. At Corridor Partners, he advises donors interested in investing in advocacy and elections to build bipartisan support for addressing climate change and energy policy, and he infuses these efforts with research and evaluation to ensure their success. Antha Williams was a Program Officer at the Beldon Fund, and is now the Environment Program Lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, where her work focuses on “driving strong, measureable, and local action on climate change.” Rather than focusing on climate change policy on the national or international level, Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses on encouraging cities to take action on climate change. Anita Nager was the Director of Programs at the Beldon Fund, and its final Executive Director (2009). Now, Anita is a consultant and continues to advise foundations and individual donors on environmental giving with a special emphasis on environmental health philanthropy, strategy development and assessment, and spending out.

For Bill, Antha, and Anita, their new roles allow them to continue to spread Beldon’s ideas and focus on areas such as measurement and evaluation, affecting change at the local level, spend out strategies, and the intersections of environmental policy, advocacy, and civic engagement. These three staff members all continue to lead and influence the field of environmental philanthropy, and Beldon’s theories and ideas continue to live in the work they are doing today.

Beldon’s living legacy extends beyond the individuals who made up its core staff. Throughout its lifespan, Beldon invested in leaders and leadership development as a way to strengthen the field and sustain its theory and approach. Grantees were challenged to think differently about their work, and to have conversations with their peers about what it means to build real power. When former grantees spoke of Beldon’s impact, many pointed to friends, colleagues, and organizational leaders who grew and changed as a result of Beldon’s investments. Some of these leaders continue to head organizations that Beldon supported a decade earlier, and many others have moved into important and influential positions in the larger community. Beldon “alumni” can be found in foundations, government offices, legislatures, and in a full range of nonprofit advocacy organizations. All carry the thread of Beldon’s vision and the skills and experience they gained while they were connected through grants, trainings, peer-to-peer gatherings, and collaborations inspired and supported by Beldon.