Rebecca Casciano ’03 MPA founded and runs Glass Frog Solutions (Glass
Frog), a business that provides nonprofits with rigorous metrics about
their social impact. Glass Frog focuses on non-profits that address serious
social and economic problems. It sets itself apart from other measurement and
evaluation firms by offering clients expert, tailored, research presented in a
comprehensible and jargon-free fashion — and doing so in ways that are
attainable particularly for early- and mid-stage nonprofits.
Before founding Glass Frog, Casciano (at left in the
photo) studied sociology and demography at Princeton and began working
with nonprofits as a postdoctoral researcher after earning a PhD. Through her
research she discovered that nonprofits were being asked to measure their
impact, but lacked access to the resources necessary to do so. Most
organizations capable of rigorous evaluations of impact were large institutions
that could afford to pay high fees to a few, large, well-reputed evaluation firms.
Leveraging her experience working with nonprofits as a graduate student,
Casciano decided to found Glass Frog with the objective of providing thorough evaluation
services to all organizations, regardless of their size or age.
Casciano's expertise is helping nonprofits make sense of their program
effects and thoughtfully iterate programming in an effort to increase impact.
One example of this is with educational nonprofit Blue Engine, which works with
schools to improve students' mastery of course material through a team-teaching
approach. For more than eight years working with Blue Engine, Glass Frog has used
rigorous statistical methods to help Blue Engine routinely estimate their
impact on students’ state test scores. This has allowed Blue Engine to
understand the impact of its work in the New York City public schools they are
serving. Empowered with sound data, Blue Engine has evolved its program model
over the last several years with an eye toward financial sustainability. With
this data, the organization has also been able to make a strong case to
principals for its ongoing presence in their schools, contributing to the
organization's expansion and reputation as a promising intervention not just
among principals but by the education sector at large. Blue Engine’s work and
Glass Frog’s analysis have even been recognized by David Bornstein in his blog Opinionator for The New York Times.
In 2014, Casciano hired another Maxwell graduate, Jennifer Puma ’03 MPA
(right), to take over evaluation framework implementation and management.
Previously Puma gained experience working in business development and
relationship management for Booz Allen Hamilton, a government contractor.
Throughout her education at Maxwell and into her early career, Puma hoped to
join the nonprofit sector. She decided to take a leave of absence from the
consulting world and she reached out to her network to pursue her original
intention. Casciano happened to be growing Glass Frog when Puma reached out,
and the Maxwell graduates once again reconnected, this time under the auspices
of a business venture.
Casciano credits the professors she found at Maxwell for mentoring her, and
especially for encouraging her to pursue further education at the graduate
level, which ultimately led to her decision to found Glass Frog.