About

ActKnowledge is a social enterprise that connects social change practice with rigorous study of how and why initiatives work. ActKnowledge joins with community organizations, nonprofits, foundations, and government in efforts to transform traditional institutions, public spaces, and the environment.

Based within a research center at a large public university (the Center for Human Environments at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York), we benefit from our interactions with faculty and graduate students. Both faculty and students are often part of our work.

Founded in 1999, ActKnowledge has developed a methodology for social sector planning, evaluation, and implementation tracking that is rigorous, without giving up the participation and flexibility that organizations need to work effectively (and happily).

Recognized as leaders in the development, training and practice of the Theory of Change (TOC) methodology, we have used TOC as a foundation for organizational capacity building, clarifying goals, evaluation and organization change. TOC is the starting point to becoming an outcomes-based organization, and provides a way for all stakeholders to own an initiative. We favor the TOC process because it is participatory, it is rigorous, it provides a framework for credible and relevant evaluation, and because it is a great way to communicate to others what an organization is doing. And that they know what they are doing.

We are proud of the fact that ActKnowledge employment of graduate students provides financial resources and the opportunity to work in their field for students. At the same time, it provides ActKnowledge with staff who are dedicated to, and often expert in, the fields we work in.
Several ActKnowledge staff have written their master’s thesis or dissertation in conjunction with project work.

The senior staff act as mentors as well as supervisors when graduate students are engaged as research assistants. In addition, all of our staff have worked as practitioners and understand the realities of life in human services, community-based program delivery, education, community mental health, and public space usership.

  • Testimonial

    • “I am actually loving this work more than almost anything else I have done in my professional life so far.” Elizabeth Jaeger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, St. Joseph’s University, and evaluator for Philadelphia’s Early 2 Learn (E2L) program.