Three Minutes with Melinda Tuan

In my travels I run across a lot of really interesting people working in the field of philanthropy. While reading someone’s work or reading about someone can give you a sense of who they are, meeting them in person gives you a much deeper understanding of who they really are.

So today I’m launching a new, irregular series titled Three Minutes With… As I meet with people in the sector, I’ll try to grab them for three minutes and have them tell us a little bit about themselves. My hope is that this will offer you an opportunity to virtually meet some of the characters, heroes and villains(?) of philanthropy.

First up, we have independent consultant Melinda Tuan, a co-founder of REDF and author of a recent Gates Foundation commissioned report on the state of the Social Return on Investment concept and other impact measurement frameworks.


  1. Laura Deaton says:

    Highlighting Melinda Tuan as the person to launch this new series was a terrific idea. I was fortunate enough to work at Community Gatepath ( while they were part of REDF’s porfolio original portfolio. Melinda and her team, including Cynthia Gair (who is still REDF’s Director of Programs), provided funding for Anne Marie Burgoyne (now at the Draper Richards Foundation) to work with us full-time as a REDF Farber fellow and to help increase the effectiveness of Gatepath’s employment-based social enterprises. REDF’s pioneering approach to providing funding accompanied by guidance and counsel was critical to our future direction. Glad to hear, and see via her report, that Melinda is continuing to contribute to the nascent field of social program evaluation.

    Sean, thanks for the three minutes, and looking forward to more!

  2. Thanks Laura. Your comment highlights exactly why I wanted to do this series. Many readers are thinking Cynthia Gair? Anne Marie Burgoyne? I’ll get to them both for sure.

    Many more segments to come!

  3. Krystyna says:

    This is a great idea, Sean, to help us connect with our heroes and mentors on a human level. Melinda is such a lovely, down to earth and approachable person and takes the academic approach to philanthropy to the masses in simple terms.

    I sure hope you captured a few minutes with Paul Shoemaker as well!

  4. I got Paul too, but we’re struggling with the sound quality a bit. As you know, the hotel was hosting a Halloween conference the night of the SVP conference, so we’re still trying to edit out some of the odd background noise!

  5. Aaron Stiner says:

    Passion, passion, passion, it all starts with passion for the sector, passion for making positive change!

  6. Carrie Varoquiers says:


    This is such an excellent addition! Melinda came across as 100% approachable- just what our sector needs. You did ask for feedback, so I will provide my opinion (normally even without prompting)!

    I had trouble hearing Paul, just as you suspected. It did make it tough to hang in there. I’m no mic expert, so sadly, I cannot provide any feedback past that.

    Well done, and again, a great addition. Thank you.