We’re excited to highlight our partnership with Charles River Associates, one of SVP’s corporate supporters, in the March edition of our 15th Anniversary Profile Series. We sat down with Monica Noether, Vice President at CRA and an SVP Investment Committee veteran, to hear more about her SVP experience and the first year of CRA’s partnership with SVP.
CRA joined SVP as a corporate supporter last spring. How has the company been involved over the past year?
I joined SVP’s Investment Committee last spring, which was a great introduction to the organization. I then stayed on for the fall investment cycle last year. After two consecutive investment cycles, I wanted to give other CRA staff an opportunity to participate. I recently enlisted my colleague Ana Balcarcel, Principal in CRA’s Finance Practice, who’s currently participating in this spring’s Investment Committee.
As we enter into the second year of our partnership with SVP, we’re also working on a few ongoing data analysis projects, both for SVP internally and for SVP’s Grantees. We’re examining historical data on SVP’s applicants and selection process, and trying to understand how a three-year engagement with SVP impacts the selected organizations. I’m looking forward to helping align our data analysis with SVP’s strategic planning work over the next few months.
Did your experience at CRA help inform your approach to the Investment Committee’s due diligence process?
Yes, absolutely. We do plenty of analysis and evaluation at CRA, so when comparing the myriad applicants for SVP’s investment, I thought a lot about how to assess these organizations’ impact on the populations they serve. That was a key focus area for me.
There are also some similarities between CRA’s work and SVP’s due diligence process more generally. During the due diligence process, SVP’s Investment Committee examines a large set of information and uses a structured approach to evaluate each applicant objectively and consistently, with the goal of selecting just one Grantee. While CRA’s case work generally involves addressing different types of questions, we also assess a lot of information and distill it analytically to reach an answer.
Tell us about CRA’s Pro Bono Committee. How does SVP fit in?
The Pro Bono Committee is relatively new, and it’s continually evolving. Developing our partnership with SVP has been a good jump-start for the group, and we are exploring other ways to leverage our team’s analytic skills and get them involved in the community. Across our offices, various members of our consulting staff have taken on individual pro bono consulting projects for socially relevant causes. For instance, we might provide pro bono expert witness consulting in a litigation matter, or we’ll work with an organization on data analysis. While still in its infancy, the Pro Bono Committee is an attempt to formalize and extend these “ad hoc” opportunities. The Pro Bono Committee is a multi-office endeavor, and there’s a definite interest in doing more. We’re also thinking about ways to collaborate with some of our law firm clients to amplify our pro bono efforts and collective impact.
At CRA, we’re smart people who solve complicated problems. We know there are many opportunities to get involved, but we don’t always know how to find them. Our partnership with SVP gives us a structured way to identify opportunities to offer our skills in meaningful ways, and SVP has helped us leverage our team’s skills beyond the one-off, ad hoc volunteer opportunities.
What has been the best part of your SVP experience so far?
I’ve enjoyed learning about so many new (to me) and interesting nonprofit organizations through SVP. It’s amazing to see how much is going on in the nonprofit sector in Boston alone.
Our partnership with SVP has also introduced me to a great group of similarly motivated individuals. SVP’s Partners are all people who are or have been successful professionally, and they are looking for ways to apply their knowledge and skill sets to worthy organizations that could benefit from the help. For me, as I start to think about my next chapter, it’s nice to know that SVP offers opportunities to stay intellectually engaged even if not working full-time.
What are you excited about for SVP’s future and our next 15 years?
I’m excited about SVP’s plans for growth. As I learn about all of these incredibly interesting nonprofit organizations – organizations that would relish SVP’s consulting and guidance more than the money alone – there’s definitely an untapped marketplace and opportunity for SVP. In thinking about ways for the organization to grow, SVP’s focus on engaging other corporate partners is a great opportunity to reach more people and increase the organization’s impact. Partnering with a company also has the added benefit of providing SVP access to a cadre of enthusiastic junior staff members who would be happy to roll up their sleeves for SVP’s Grantees. On a related note, I’m looking forward to CRA’s continued partnership with SVP, and I am excited to get more of our team involved!
A little bit about Monica…
Monica has been with CRA for an impressive 21 years. She specializes in antitrust analysis and other competitive issues related to the health care industry for law firms, professional associations, government agencies, and other clients.
Prior to joining CRA, Monica worked at Abt Associates, a policy research firm based in Cambridge. She also spent several years working for the Federal Trade Commission. An economist by training, Monica holds a Ph.D. in Economics and an M.B.A. in Finance and Economics, both from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She also earned an M.A. in Economics from George Washington University and a B.A. in Photography from Wesleyan University.
Monica has a longstanding interest and involvement in the nonprofit sector, an interest first sparked by her time working for trade associations in Washington, DC early in her career. Interestingly, Monica first learned about SVP Boston more than six years ago through her board work with The Boston Club. She followed SVP’s progress over the years, and was excited to learn of CRA’s partnership with SVP last year. She immediately joined the Investment Committee and has been engaged with SVP ever since. Monica has also been involved on several boards of local non-profit healthcare institutions.
Some background on CRA…
Charles River Associates® is a global consulting firm specializing in economic, financial, and management consulting services. CRA advises clients on economic and financial matters pertaining to litigation and regulatory proceedings, and guides corporations through critical business strategy and performance-related issues. Since 1965, clients have engaged CRA for its unique combination of functional expertise and industry knowledge, and for its objective solutions to complex problems. Headquartered in Boston, CRA has offices throughout the world. Detailed information about Charles River Associates, a registered trade name of CRA International, Inc., is available at www.crai.com.