The Coco Canary Newsletter – August 2020

The Coco Canary Monthly Newsletter

August 2020

Welcome to the Coco Canary Newsletter!

Our Mission: To use our expertise to inspire inclusion, build equity, support racial justice, and promote anti-racist culture.

Hello from Molly O’Connor, the CEO and founder of Coco Canary Consulting, LLC (CCC). CCC is an evaluation & communications firm based in St. Paul, MN.  I have been BUSY these last few months getting CCC off the ground. And I am excited to tell you about some exciting updates!

As many of you know, CCC was created as a result of COVID-19. I had been consulting since 2018, but it became a full-time endeavor starting in March 2020. And, to be honest, it has been a blessing. I had wanted to be a consultant for a long time, but my internal critic kept saying, “Molly, you need more experience,” or “Molly, wait until you’re older.” COVID-19 was the perfect excuse to jumpstart my consulting career, and it was the best decision I could have ever made.

Me being lead photographer for the making of The Remember Project mini-documentary

Business Updates

1. The Remember Project: Dementia Awareness Tour (RPDAT)

Led and founded by Danette McCarthy from McCarthy & Associates, RPDAT uses the arts to build community and start a conversation to end the stigma of memory loss. In Fall 2020, The Remember Project will produce as many as three short plays about Alzheimer’s with a professional cast. Though, as a result of COVID-19, these plays will now be viewed virtually rather than in-person. The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) is working in partnership with RPDAT.

Since March, I have been helping with this project via development work (grant prospecting, grant writing, etc.), marketing (website content development and film production), and virtual integration (filming live performance for virtual viewing). And, gosh, it has been so fun! I was initially hired to be the lead evaluator. But, when Danette found out I was also a filmmaker by trade, she quickly pivoted and made me the film manager for the production of The Remember Project mini-documentary. I managed a University of Wisconsin – River Falls student intern, Hannah, who is majoring in Stage and Screen Arts. I barely managed at all because Hannah was an excellent teammate and a superb film director and editor. And, within a few months, we made a film. You can view it here!

If you want to get updates about our project, follow us on our Facebook page. Oh, and of course, please share it with friends, family, and colleagues!

On the right is Hannah Robb doing her filming magic. On the left, is the talented Danette McCarthy.

Our next step is to produce the three short plays for a virtual launch conference in late August. We filmed in late July and are now in the post-production phase. I helped film and was also the lead photographer. And after three months of intensive filming and development work, I am finally an evaluator again. I will be leading the evaluation efforts for The Remember Project through MAAA. Hooray!

SEED SPOT 2-Day Launch Camp participants and mentors

2. Meta-Evaluations for Organizations: A Soon-To-Be Service!

If you haven’t read my most recent blog post (read here!), let me get you up to speed. I have been sitting on an idea for a few months, and I finally made it into a tangible service with the help of a 2-day Launch Camp hosted by SEED SPOT. It is called Meta-Evaluations for Organizations.

An organizational meta-evaluation is when an external evaluator assesses the extent to which an entity (foundation, nonprofit, corporation, etc.) is meeting its goals and fulfilling its mission. For example, if a foundation’s mission cares about promoting equity and inclusion, the evaluator would collect data from past and current grantees to assess if those grant dollars truly made that impact in those communities. In reality, grant dollars sometimes don’t make as deep of an impact, and the only way to assess if a foundation is making such a change is by a meta-evaluation.

I am currently finishing up the final touches of the service and will be starting a pilot program in January 2021. If you or anyone you know would be interested in piloting this service, have them contact me! I currently have one non-profit that wants to join the pilot program. I am looking for a foundation and a for-profit corporation to join as well. 

I am also seeking a teammate to assist in the development and implementation of this project. I am specifically looking for someone who has experience leading, evaluating, or assisting in racial equity or racial justice efforts. BIPOC community members are encouraged to reach out! If you know of anyone who may be interested, please send them my contact information.

Conducting interviews for The Remember Project mini-documentary

Let’s Stay Connected!

To keep up to date with Coco Canary, consider joining my email list (see the form below) or connecting with me on Linkedin. If you’re a WordPress user, don’t forget to follow my blog!

Talk soon!

Molly O’Connor (she/her/hers)

CEO – Evaluation & Communications Specialist
direct: (612) 868-0364

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