The Organizational Effectiveness team is delighted to welcome Jean K. Ries as our newest program officer. In this role, Jean will be providing capacity building support to our Children, Families, and Communities and Local Grantmaking teams.
Over the last twenty years, Jean has dedicated her career to organizational effectiveness and helping nonprofits maximize their impact. I sat down with Jean to learn more about her role and her views on building the core strengths of our nonprofits through capacity building.
Amanda: What brought you to the Packard Foundation and what excites you about supporting local grantees and grantees working on children’s health and early learning issues?
Jean: I had the privilege of getting to know the work that the Foundation does in Organizational Effectiveness during my time as Senior Consulting Director at Olive Grove. In this role, I interacted and worked with many of Packard’s OE grantees, primarily in the CFC and Local Grantmaking programs. As a consultant working with these organizations, I led capacity building projects focusing on areas such as strategy, organizational assessment, and governance. This projects and their outcomes would not have been realized without support from the Foundation.
Funny enough, over a year ago I was scheduled to meet with Linda Baker, OE’s Director, wanting to thank her for Packard’s leadership role in the field of philanthropy supporting capacity building; unfortunately, this never happened due to my son’s arrival into this world almost four weeks in advance of his due date.
Amanda: Where do you see opportunities in the work the Foundation does to support capacity building?
Jean: Where to start? One of the many things that is so great about the Foundation’s capacity building work is that it is highly integrated with and informed by the programs and grantees, including their strategies and what they are seeing in the field and the frontlines. There is tremendous opportunity to further cultivate OE’s partnership with programs, as well as maximize the varied, relevant expertise within OE and throughout the Foundation. There is a real opportunity for us embrace an innovative learning approach, partnering with peer funders, grantees, the trustees, and programs, to most effectively understand and address emerging themes in the sector, and the critical challenges facing nonprofits and leaders in this transformative time.
Amanda: What are your personal interests outside of your role at the Packard Foundation?
Jean: Besides hanging out with my two kiddos and husband, I serve on the Board of Directors of RAWDance, a Bay Area-based contemporary dance company, and volunteer at my daughter’s school for the arts education program, Art in Action. I also teach spin classes on the Peninsula a few early mornings and evenings during the week and on the weekends.
To learn more about Jean, visit her staff page on the Packard Foundation website.