Coming to philanthropy over these years and working in the nonprofit sector has been a challenge for those of us who were trained and whose professional development was centered around a very hard concrete set of metrics," says Walker. "In a world of addressing injustice—how do we measure success?" Walker says that there simply is not a comparable set of standard, dependable, reliable, universally understood set of metrics. For example, he points to one grant the Rockefeller Foundation made to develop a soil-resistant seed, which could be measured with clear metrics. On the other hand, an investment in a long-term program to improve race relations and racial justice in society is not so easy to measure. Walker says that recognizing the diversity of the problems that philanthropy tackles is key. It's not always "possible to develop [the] sort of transferable metrics that can be used in one domain and then another and then another and from which we can aggregate up and know whether...our institution is making real change."
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