Nancy Pole


Nancy Pole (MPNL Carleton University) has been a PhiLab research associate since 2015 (list of publications below), and additionally helps PhiLab researchers and community partners to connect and collaborate on specific research projects. As principal of Co.spire Consulting, Nancy also works with nonprofits, foundations, partnerships and collaboratives 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. As an evaluator, she has worked with Centraide of Greater Montreal’s Collective Impact Project, leading the development of its evaluation framework and engaging in developmental evaluation of the partnership and funding model. She is currently evaluation co-lead on Québec’s regional Solidarity Alliances, cross-sector place-based work that is a core piece of the provincial poverty reduction strategy. She draws upon over 20 years working in community change and as a place-based grantmaker in Montreal.


Book chapter

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

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


· 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.