Developing the 6-year strategy for the Eleanor Crook Foundation

The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF) is a U.S.-based foundation with a commitment to research, capacity building, and advocacy to end global malnutrition. ECF funds implementation research to improve nutrition outcomes at scale and supports advocacy efforts to increase the amount and efficiency of nutrition funding. ECF’s focus countries include Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somalia.

Please see ECF’s website for more information.


With ECF’s commitment at the Global Nutrition Summit in Milan in 2017 to invest $100 million in nutrition by 2030, ECF must make critical strategic choices on how to allocate these resources to generate the most impact and contribute to sustainable solutions for the world’s most vulnerable populations.


Pharos conducted a diagnostic and formative evaluation to first understand ECF’s strengths and weaknesses. Pharos worked with ECF to define a set of viable choices for the strategic direction of the foundation, and then tested the viability of these choices in a “Choice Structuring” workshop with ECF staff and board members. Pharos is now using the outcomes from this workshop to develop a targeted research plan and generate informed and sound recommendations for ECF’s next 5 years.


Phase 1 (October 2018-November 2018):
Through semi-structured key informant interviews, review of internal and external documents, and mapping the nutrition landscape, Pharos developed a set of four strategic choices to feed into the choice structuring workshop in Phase 2.

Phase 2 (December 2018):
Pharos led a choice structuring workshop with ECF leadership and staff to test the initial strategic choices and establish a set of options to assess moving forward. In consultation with ECF, Pharos also identified key conditions that would allow ECF to decide which options to pursue based on feasibility, impact, and potential risks.

Phase 3 (December 2018- March 2019):
Pharos developed a research agenda to guide the generation of evidence for these key conditions. This research agenda relied on quantitative and qualitative analyses of impact, feasibility, and scalability of potential options for ECF, as well as an assessment of the tradeoffs of each option.

Phase 4 (March 2019- April 2019):
Pharos will vet the final recommendations through consultations with ECF followed by development of a high-level implementation roadmap to guide ECF in implementing the final recommendations.

Phase 5 (May 2019):
In the final phase, Pharos will develop tools and a framework to measures outcomes and impact. Based on strategic targets tied to the recommendations, Pharos will estimate the impact of ECF’s advocacy and research portfolios.


ECF’s $100 million commitment provides much needed funding to the malnutrition research and advocacy agendas. ECF’s investment has the potential to contribute to life saving solutions for undernutrition and significantly improve the nutritional status of children and mothers around the world. This project will support ECF in critically evaluating its strategic options and using its resources to achieve the greatest impact possible.

Status: Completed

Team Members Involved: Robert Hecht, Shan Soe-Lin, and Kelly Flanagan

For more information, contact Shan Soe-Lin at

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