Nancy Pole


Nancy Pole (MPNL Carleton University) has been a PhiLab research associate since 2015 (list of publications below). As principal of Co.spire Consulting since 2015, Nancy also works with partnerships and collaboratives in the nonprofit, foundation and public sectors to help them read and understand their system, increase their network capacity, and evaluate and learn from their action. Since late 2017 she has been network facilitator and project manager for the Collectif des fondations québécoises contre les inégalités. Her evaluation clients have included Québec’s Ministry of Social solidarity (evaluation co-lead on Québec’s regional Solidarity Alliances), the City of Montreal, and Centraide of Greater Montreal’s Collective Impact Project. Prior to this, she draws upon over 20 years working in community change and as a place-based grantmaker in Montreal.


Co-edited book

Fontan, J.-M., Martinez-Cosio, M., Newton, J. Pole, N and Rabinowitz Bussell, M., eds. (2023). A New Look at Place-based Philanthropy: Insights from Canada and the U.S. Friesen Press.

Book chapters

Pole, N. (2023). Montreal’s Collective Impact Project / Centraide of Greater Montreal. Ch 7 in Fontan et al., A New Look at Place-based Philanthropy: Insights from Canada and the U.S. Friesen Press.

Pole, N. (2023). Philanthropy, place and place-based approaches: Views from the research and practitioner literature. Ch 4 in Fontan et al., A New Look at Place-based Philanthropy: Insights from Canada and the U.S. Friesen Press.

Pole, N. and Rey, L. (2022). Concevoir la portée chez les fondations subventionnaires: des orientations types pour l’apprécier. Ch 3 in Fontan, J-M, Alalouf-Hall, D. & Bergeron, C. (eds.), États des lieux sur la philanthropie subventionnaire québécoise, Québec, Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Pole, N. and Bérubé, M. (2020). Centraide’s Collective Impact Project: Poverty reduction in Montréal. Ch. 12 in P. Elson, S. Lefèvre & J.-M. Fontan (eds), Philanthropic Foundations in Canada: Landscapes, Indigenous Perspectives and Pathways to Change. PhiLab, 262-286.

Working papers and reports

Pole, N. and Fontan, J.-M. (2018). Philanthropie subventionnaire: villes, innovation et transformations sociales. Institut Mallet.

Pole, N. and Fontan, J.-M. (2018). L’action philanthropique sur les grands défis urbains. Québec, Institut Mallet,

Pole, N. and Fontan, J.-M. (2017). Montreal’s Collective Impact Project and the first stages of its partnership and operationalization. Report produced for Centraide of Greater Montreal and the Collective Impact Project steering committee. PhiLab working paper #15. (Summary report here).

Pole, N. (2016). Collaboration among grantmaking foundations: a review of the literature. PhiLab Cahier de recherche no 14. (Summary report here).

Pole, N. (2015). Vital Signs: An exploratory case study of community foundations’ local collaborations in a national program context. PhiLab Working Paper #8.

Journal article

Glass, J. and Pole, N. (2017). Collaboration between Canadian grantmaking foundations: the expression of an increasingly ambitious and strategic philanthropic sector? Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, 8(2), 57-79. DOI:

Professional / Magazine Articles

Elson, P., Glass, J. and Pole, N. (2022). Shining Light on Transparency, Openness and Accountability in Foundations: Reflections and tools. The PhiLanthropic Year, vol 4, 21-30.

Kouamé, S and Pole, N. (2018). Agissez dans votre écosystème pour créer plus de valeur sociale. Gestion, 42(2), 104-108,


Pole, N. and Rey, L. (2023). Rendre compte: Fondations philanthropiques, organismes donataires et rapport à la question d’impact. Communication delivered May 11 2023 at PhiLab Québec’s annual conference

Rabinowitz-Bussell, M. and Pole, N. (2023). Place-Based Philanthropy: A Comparative Analysis of Ten Initiatives from Canada and the U.S. Presentation delivered April 27 2023 at the Urban Affairs Association annual conference.

Pole, N. and Fontan, J.-M. (2017). La recherche action comme contribution à l’évaluation d’une initiative complexe: le cas du Projet Impact Collectif. Communication livrée le 27 octobre 2017 dans le cadre du colloque annuel de la Société québécoise d’évaluation de programme.

Pole, N. and Kouamé, S. (2017). La posture stratégique comme limite aux pratiques d’évaluation chez les fondations philanthropiques. Communication livrée le 9 mai 2017 au colloque IDEOS Enjeux de professionnalisation dans les organisations à vocation sociale dans le cadre du congrès Acfas 2017.


Nancy Pole holds a Masters degree from the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program at Carleton University and two graduate diplomas: Social Innovation (University of Waterloo) and Community Economic Development (Concordia University). · Since 2019 she has been a member of the Emergent Learning community of practice along with dozens of leading foundation evaluation and learning officers as well as independent evaluation practitioners from across North America.

In 2018 and 2019, Nancy prepared and delivered a course in Policy and Program Evaluation as part of Carleton University’s Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program.

She divides her time between Montreal and her home base in Northeastern Ontario.