April 22, 2024

Five Fab Questions for Foundation Staff: Christina Chauvenet, PhD

Serving as Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Officer, Christina brings a deep research and policy analysis background, and experience working with food systems through farmer’s markets, community gardens, and school meals. She most recently worked at the National WIC Association, leading research and evaluation work related to WIC participant experiences, health outcomes, and policy analysis. She has also worked with Indigenous communities through WIC and her work in London with Survival International, a global advocacy organization working on behalf of tribal people.

Christina Chauvenet headshot

Question 1: What is your role at the Foundation?

My role is to frame out how we are designing and building the ways that we communicate and measure our impact at Newman’s Own Foundation. Monitoring, evaluation, and learning is an integral part of how we support our grantee partners in hitting their goals and telling their stories. Since I started last November, I have been building out these practices to better show the impact of the amazing work our grantees are doing. 

Question 2: What sparked your interest in social impact and working for Newman’s Own Foundation?

My interest in social impact work started when I was an undergrad and studying political science and learning about how structures and systems affected people. I went to Brazil for a public health research project with community health workers and it gave me insight into inequities in resources and access people need to have a healthy and thriving life. I wanted to use my skill set to create a more equitable world and now have been working in social impact for the last 15 years, including child nutrition programs and evaluation after getting my PhD. The foundation world was on my radar to use my expertise around child nutrition and food insecurity, and I wanted to be part of a foundation that applied the values that I share. The Newman’s Own model of giving all the profits away really attracted me—this is a company that is really doing it right and I wanted to be a part of that.

Question 3: What are your priorities for 2024?

First is relationships. I want to get to know our grantee partners better and learn about what they are doing on the ground. Second is operational. I aim to build out systems to better communicate the impact our grantees are having and how Newman’s Own Foundation’s investments help children facing adversity to make it clear for our stakeholders and to the public.

One big goal is to build systems that support the grantees’ work and provide opportunities to support them directly, for example, helping grantees improve data collection methods and sharing new and promising practices across our grantee portfolio. Another goal is to strengthen the systems grantees use to apply for grants, report on the grants, share impact with us, and so on, to improve flexibility and equitability.

Question 4: What dish can you make from scratch without having to look at a recipe?

Black beans and rice! I’m Cuban-American and I make it often and my mother makes it often. I make the beans with onions, garlic, spices, and some kind of vegetable, like bell pepper or spinach. It’s a family recipe and it reminds me of my childhood—I grew up eating this dish, and it’s also culturally relevant to my day-to-day life.

Question 5: What’s your favorite Paul Newman film or role?

Growing up, I knew of him more as a philanthropist, but I just saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! I see why Paul Newman was so revered as an actor. He has a great presence on-screen!

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