Case Example The Wellbeing Project


Nora Murphy, PhD, Lead Evaluator

Michael Quinn Patton, Senior Research and Evaluation Fellow


Developmental Evaluation

Qualitative Methods (Surveys, interviews, observations)


Project Description

Aiming to nurture a more caring infrastructure for social entrepreneurship, the Wellbeing Project is identifying the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of wellbeing. Social entrepreneurs work to address societal problems by offering a solution, changing a system, and persuading societies to move in healthier directions. These efforts draw on both tangible (funding, staffing) and intangible (empathy, fortitude, compassion) resources. Over time, their vocational dedication can lead to exhaustion, imbalance, burnout, a sense of isolation, and sometimes even danger.

A co-creation of Ashoka, the Esalen Institute, the Fetzer Institute, and the Synergos Institute, the Wellbeing Project pilot supports:

  • An 18-month inner development program designed to help seasoned social entrepreneurs in finding and nurturing a deeper sense of wellbeing within themselves and among a community of peers;

  • Longitudinal, developmental evaluation that explores the effect of inner work, and connections between inner work and the effectiveness and quality of social change;

  • An intentional learning partner community of social sector leaders and funders engaging the research to better understand the concept and benefits of wellbeing and identifying potential next steps at the sector level; and,

  • Stories about the impact of inner work on their personal and professional lives collected from social entrepreneurs and broadly shared.



Our Team

Nora Murphy, PhD. Team Lead.

Nora’s roles are to: 1) provide oversight and strategic guidance to the evaluation team, 2) support relationship management with senior stakeholders at the Fetzer Institute and Wellbeing Project, 3) facilitate evaluation use and reflective practice, and 4) work as an embedded observer that Wellbeing events.

Michael Quinn Patton. Senior Research and Evaluation Fellow.


Gifty Amarteifio. Learning and Convening research and evaluation.

Amanda Bennett. Writing and interviews.

Jeff Severns Guntzel. Inner Development research and evaluation.

Martin Van Boekel. Survey development.

Eskender Yousuf. Research and evaluation.


Start date: April 2015. End date: Current


Monthly reports, designed to share learning and insights from the previous months, and support adaptation and decision making for the upcoming months.