Field Scans

In 2013 Christine published three articles on the importance of field scans with the National Center for Family Philanthropy and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Since the inception of the practice, Christine and her team have conducted more than two dozen field scans of emerging opportunities in funding. These field scans provide donors with a strategic assessment of where additional funding is most likely to be leveraged.

The projects can range from short, month-long research projects designed to provide an overview of a field, to comprehensive, detailed assessments of an issue, region, or funding opportunity. Areas of study have included climate change, human rights, and literacy, among others.

Over the last year, our firm has continued to undertake field scans on a wide range of issues for foundations, individual donors, and nonprofits. We started the year with a scan to address the growing challenges of gender diversity in tech. Our report examined existing solution models, where they have been deficient, and how a new approach to confront the issue in middle school could reduce the barriers that prevent more women from entering and staying in math and science fields. We then developed a major scan of earn-and-learn opportunities for youth at risk of dropping out of high school. Our research helped to inform a new strategy that could help students find and keep higher wage jobs. We also undertook a major scan that examined how art can be used as a call to action on climate change, particularly among young and diverse audiences. Another scan examined the elements of successful nonprofit strategies seeking to influence longterm behavior change.

A number of clients have agreed to share this research with other funders and practitioners. Those reports can be found below.

In 2014, the John and Wauna Harman Foundation commissioned Sherry Consulting to conduct a field scan examining the landscape of U.S. philanthropic funding around end-of-life issues, with an emphasis on work involving media and public engagement.  In 2015, the Foundation elected to update the scan and make it public.  Over several months, we surveyed the broader history of funding in the space and assembled a series of profiles highlighting select key players (both funders and organizations) currently active; funders who had exited the field but whose earlier contributions were formative; and seminal documents and reports.  The final scan is now available on the Harman Foundation‘s website and on our own:

For The Schmidt Family Foundation who was considering launching a new funding opportunity in the area of human rights, we prepared two analyses. The first related to funding needs and opportunities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The second was an analysis of funding successes, challenges and future opportunities in Haiti post earthquake. Both studies were conducted in 2011 and 2012.


For Planet Heritage Foundation, a new foundation with interests in the environment and global security, we prepared a comprehensive study of the intersection of climate change and national security. This report has been profiled extensively with leading funders, affinity groups and government leaders.

Below you can find our report on the current state of international human rights funding: