Christopher Shearer

Third Sector Strategy

Founder and Principal

Christopher Shearer is the founder and principal of Third Sector Strategy LLC, a firm that provides consulting to nonprofit clients on strategy, program design and impact, field positioning, communications and outreach, and best practices.

A seasoned grantmaking leader, Chris served at the Education Program of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for a full eight-year term limit from 2010 to 2018 working on its domestic deeper learning strategy. During his tenure as a program officer, he initiated a collaborative cadre of federal and state policy research, design, and advocacy grantees, launched the program’s grantmaking portfolio in communications, and led a new investment strategy for grantee capacity-building for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He also inaugurated the program’s annual convening of grantees. For eight years he managed strategic and written communications with Hewlett’s Board, including the Program’s annual budget memoranda. Chris served on several cross-foundation working groups, including reenvisioning Hewlett’s annual performance review process. During 2017, Chris served as Hewlett’s interim Education Program Director, overseeing a team of eight staff awarding nearly $50 million annually to 120 active grantees.

Before joining Hewlett, Chris served from 1997 to 2010 at the National Geographic Society Education Foundation as its grantmaking director and, ultimately, associate executive director, working in U.S. states and in Canada to improve teacher professional capacity and measurable student outcomes. During his tenure, he launched a federal policy reform initiative, spearheaded an award-winning national communications and outreach campaign, oversaw introduction of systematic program monitoring and evaluation, and led a venture capital-style grantmaking fund. His past experience also includes health care reform, cross-sector health and education collaboration, youth development, and environmental education; he previously staffed the President of The Pew Charitable Trusts on an interdisciplinary grantmaking fund.

Chris earned both his Master’s degree in English Literature and his undergraduate degree‚ a double major in Biology and English Literature‚ from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in his home town. He serves on the board of Oakland-based Youth Radio/YR Media and the Watertown, MA-based New Repertory Theatre. He lives in Boston with his spouse, Elizabeth, and their dog, Chloe.

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