Heléne Clark, Ph.D., Founder and Director

An urban geographer and environmental psychologist, Heléne Clark works with organizations engaged in social change to build their capacity to develop clear goals, gather knowledge about results, and expand the impact of critical social interventions. Dr. Clark and a colleague founded ActKnowledge to provide rigorous research, planning and organizational development skills to the social sector. Heléne has been the lead evaluator on numerous initiatives and served as advisor to many other evaluations around the U.S. and in the United Kingdom. Dr. Clark incorporated the “Theory of Change” methodology into ActKnowledge’s work, and has led ActKnowledge to be the pre-eminent developer, facilitator and trainer of this method. Her international work includes the development of not-for-profit organizations in Moscow, various projects in the U.K., and work with numerous international non-government organizations in the developing world. Heléne has served on the Board of Directors of Housing Conservation Coordinators in New York City for eight years. Prior to founding ActKnowledge, Dr. Clark was Associate Director of the Center for Human Environments, and taught courses in urban and economic geography, environmental psychology, housing policy and research methods. She has published widely on housing and community development policy topics, as well as education and youth development.

Dana H. Taplin, Ph.D., Director, Theory of Change

Dana Taplin, an urban planner and environmental psychologist, brings an interest in applied social research to ActKnowledge’s practice in Theory of Change. Dana is overseeing the development of Theory of Change Online and its introduction to the field. Dr. Taplin’s research interest is in parks and other public community spaces as human environments. He is working to expand ActKnowledge’s practice into research on public space and environment and is currently directing an evaluative study of schoolyard playgrounds for the Trust for Public Land’s New York City Playgrounds program. In 2007-08, Dr. Taplin played a key role for ActKnowledge in developing a Theory of Change for Lumina Foundation for Education’s work in the higher education sector. His previous research includes an ethnographic overview and assessment of the Fire Island, N.Y., National Seashore, and a community impact study of Battery Park City in Manhattan ten months after the attacks of 9/11/01. Dr. Taplin is second author, with Setha Low and Suzanne Scheld, of Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity, published in November 2005 by the University of Texas Press.

Dr. Taplin taught undergraduates as an Adjunct Associate Professor in environmental studies at Pace University and also taught for several years in the Interior Design program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Eoin Collins, Senior Evaluation Specialist

Eoin Collins is an economist and social policy analyst and advocate. From 2006, he was Director of Policy in GLEN, a Dublin based NGO, where he made a significant contribution to the enactment by the Irish government  in 2010 of civil partnership legislation for same-sex couples. He was appointed in 2006 by the Minister for Justice as liaison to the department on sexual orientation issues and served on the Government (Colley) committee in 2006 that led to the enactment of civil partnership closely based on civil marriage.

He is a founding member and director of Nexus Research, a Dublin based research consultancy where he worked from 1991 as evaluator and social policy analyst. He was responsible for research and evaluation work across a range of issues, in particular, employment and social inclusion. His work included the national evaluation of the government’s job facilitator programme and a review of the application of the partnership principle in EU cohesion fund expenditure in Ireland. International work has included extensive work for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working conditions on the co-ordination of social welfare and active labour market measures and on the integration of minority ethnic groups.


Muamer Rasic, Research Associate

Muamer Rasic, with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, specializes in Policy Analysis and Evaluation. Muamer joined ActKnowledge in August 2011 to develop expertise in Theory of Change methodology for strategic planning and evaluation. Muamer is currently a Research Associate, responsible for managing and conducting all aspects of evaluation including designing, planning, data collection, data management, data analysis, and reporting of results. He also assists in Theory of Change facilitation in developing strategic plans on many of our projects. Muamer manages a portfolio of various evaluation projects that include Children’s Aid Society, Harford Community Schools, Helmsley Charitable Trust Partnership to Advance Bronx Education, and Paterson Public Schools.


Zabi Rahat, Research Associate/Theory of Change Facilitator

Zabi Rahat is a Research Associate in ActKnowledge. He has a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and a Graduate Certification in Non-profit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship. His role and expertise encompasses research, evaluation and the implementation of the Theory of Change process (ToC) across a range of areas including programs focused on early childhood development, education  and international development. He has a range of technical skills which support this work including the use of online design/mapping software such as Theory of Change online (TOCO) and Omnigraffle. He is familiar with a range of planning methods and how they interact with Theory of Change – these  include Collective Impact and Result Based Accountability methods.

Zabi is proficient in five languages including English, Dari, Pashto, Hindi and elementary Arabic.

Dr. Antje Deckert, Visiting International Professor at ActKnowledge

Dr Antje Deckert is Visiting International Professor at ActKnowledge for three months. Her home institution is Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand and her main research interest concerns the sociology of criminological knowledge.

Antje came to New York to study Theory of Change using our library, trying out the TOCO software, and observing Theory of Change facilitations in action. She is also preparing a research grant application that uses Theory of Change as a methodology. The purpose of her proposed research is to develop a Theory of Change for converting academic criminological knowledge into government crime policy.

Later this year, Palgrave Macmillan will publish the 56-chapter-spanning Handbook of Australian and New Zealand Criminology, Crime and Justice edited by Antje and her co-editor Professor Rick Sarre. If you would like to know more about her, please refer to her professional and publication websites.
AUT website:
Research publications:



Lewis Sustainable, London
Helene Clark is on the Advisory Board of Lewis Sustainable in the UK.

Nexus, Dublin



  • 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.