Capacity Building Is More Than a Buzzword for MIND’s Partners

In the philanthropic world, a lot of organizations talk about capacity building partnerships—but what does that really mean? One definition states that capacity building “is a measurable improvement in an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission through a blend of sound management, strong governance, and dedication to assessing and achieving results.” 

At MIND, where our core values revolve around people, problem-solving and learning, we take the development of capacity building partnerships very seriously. Are we looking for financial support? Of course! We are a nonprofit, social impact organization, after all. But in addition to the financial support that has helped us reach over 1.2 million students with our award-winning program ST Math, we are also extremely grateful for the type of guidance and support that has led us to achieve significant results at scale and receive 9 US patents! Talk about impact and innovation!

Partners Are Key to Advancing the Mission

To continue to make breakthroughs in education and ultimately achieve our mission of ensuring all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems, we count on the feedback and advice of our partners.

In May, we had the honor of hosting several of our key partners in Irvine, California for our 2019 Partner Advisory Forum. In this short video interview, we are proud to share thoughts from Kyle Thornton, Education Portfolio Manager at Cisco Foundation; Stacy Zaja, Manager of Global Community Relations & Contributions Program, and Patricia Contreras, Director of Global Community Relations & Contributions at Rockwell Automation; Pat Barnes, Global Program Director, STEM & Youth Education at John Deere; and Larry Plank, Director, K12 STEM Education for Hillsborough County School District.

In addition to the above mentioned partners, we also had the honor of receiving Claudia Kreisle, Director of Philanthropy at Phillips 66; Ashwin Rajendra, Education Portfolio Manager at One8 Foundation; Olga Dinova, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at Pitney Bowes; and Lina Klebanov, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Tata Consultancy Services. Each participant contributed greatly with insightful questions and suggestions, challenging us to think both bigger and more deeply of the impact we can achieve together.


As Mr. Thornton stated, “The partnership works so well because of the emphasis of MIND on outcomes—in truly driving towards learning outcomes that benefit the lives of students to learn and comprehend and become proficient in mathematics.” 

From my perspective, our partnerships work so well because in each of these organizations, we have people who truly believe in and are committed to the work we do. For example, in addition to joining us for our Partner Advisory Forums, Ms. Kreisle is also a member of our Board of Directors, along with Cisco’s Mary deWysocki, and Rockwell Automation’s Becky House.

Alongside our partners, MIND continues to see measurable improvement in our organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. We are so grateful for our partners' true capacity building support.

Learn how our partners help us achieve our mission.

Karin Wu

About the Author

Karin Wu is EVP & Executive Director of Social Impact at MIND Research Institute. She's building partnerships that truly transform education.


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