TITLE: Program Officer, Organizational Effectiveness and Special Opportunities
FUNDING AREAS: Stragetic and business planning, financial management, executive leadership, communications
CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)
IP TAKE: Baker's background in research and analysis, coupled with her long and loyal stint at Packard, make her a natural fit for doling out strategic funds geared toward organizational effectiveness.
PROFILE: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has a long history of providing general support to help organizations grow in capacity and effectiveness. Currently presiding over the foundation's Organizational Effectiveness grantmaking efforts is Linda Shuurmann Baker, a longtime employee of the foundation.
Baker has a quantitative mind that thinks about the people behind the numbers. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a master’s degree in public health from Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
After garnering her degrees, Baker worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in their research and evaluation department. She also worked as an associate editor at the Center for the Future of Children, whose mission is to translate the best social science research about children and youth into information that is useful to policymakers, practitioners, grant-makers, advocates, the media, and students of public policy.
Baker joined Packard in 1994 as a research analyst, then worked as a program officer in its Children, Families and Communities program, responsible for grantmaking focused on children's health and providing insurance to all of California's children. Just prior to jumping over to her current role, Baker was a program officer in the foundation's local grantmaking division, responsible for a wide range of giving in the Bay Area, supporting youth and family programs, the arts, conservation and science, food and shelter, and population and reproductive health.
Baker's time in Organizational Effectiveness has been limited so far, though given her scope of experience at Packard and in research and analysis, the giving in this area can still be instructive. Most of her grants are in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, supporting strategic planning and/or restructuring for organizations including the Wild Salmon Center in Portland, Oregon, the Centre for African Family Studies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Women Deliver in NYC. She's also supported Surfrider Foundation's executive search and human resources planning for Pacific Repertory Theatre. Her largest single grant to date went to Spitfire Strategies, based in Washington, D.C., in support of the late stages of their Friending of the Finish Line project, which is part of that organization's goal of integrating social media into its children’s health communications mission.
Back when Baker was still with Packard's local grantmaking program, she had this to say about her work: "It is imperative that our grantmaking serve as an effective tool to help nonprofits, funders, and other organizations tackle the pressing issues within our grantmaking focus areas." Her specific focus has now changed, but chances are this imperative has not.