Board of Directors

heleneHeléne Clark, Ph.D., Founder and Director
An urban geographer and environmental psychologist, Heléne Clark works with organizations engaged in social change to build their capacity to develop clear goals, gather knowledge about results, and expand the impact of critical social interventions. Dr. Clark and a colleague founded ActKnowledge to provide rigorous research, planning and organizational development skills to the social sector. Heléne has been the lead evaluator on numerous initiatives and served as advisor to many other evaluations around the U.S. and in the United Kingdom. Dr. Clark incorporated the “Theory of Change” methodology into ActKnowledge’s work, and has led ActKnowledge to be the pre-eminent developer, facilitator and trainer of this method. Her international work includes the development of not-for-profit organizations in Moscow, various projects in the U.K., and work with numerous international non-government organizations in the developing world. Heléne has served on the Board of Directors of Housing Conservation Coordinators in New York City for eight years. Prior to founding ActKnowledge, Dr. Clark was Associate Director of the Center for Human Environments, and taught courses in urban and economic geography, environmental psychology, housing policy and research methods. She has published widely on housing and community development policy topics, as well as education and youth development.
danaDana H. Taplin, Ph.D., Director, Theory of Change
Dana Taplin, an urban planner and environmental psychologist, brings an interest in applied social research to ActKnowledge’s practice in Theory of Change. Dana is overseeing the development of Theory of Change Online and its introduction to the field. Dr. Taplin’s research interest is in parks and other public community spaces as human environments. He is working to expand ActKnowledge’s practice into research on public space and environment and is currently directing an evaluative study of schoolyard playgrounds for the Trust for Public Land’s New York City Playgrounds program. In 2007-08, Dr. Taplin played a key role for ActKnowledge in developing a Theory of Change for Lumina Foundation for Education’s work in the higher education sector. His previous research includes an ethnographic overview and assessment of the Fire Island, N.Y., National Seashore, and a community impact study of Battery Park City in Manhattan ten months after the attacks of 9/11/01. Dr. Taplin is second author, with Setha Low and Suzanne Scheld, of Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity, published in November 2005 by the University of Texas Press.

Dr. Taplin taught undergraduates as an Adjunct Associate Professor in environmental studies at Pace University and also taught for several years in the Interior Design program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

davidDavid L. Colby, JD, General Counsel and Director of Business Development
David is a social change consultant with many projects that involve expanding the use and application of the Theory of Change methodology.  He heads up ActKnowledge’s Global initiatives and works with both the public and private sector, including new markets such as social entrepreneurs and corporate CSR programs. He also leads several online projects toward the development of Theory of Change as an online community with new content development and software resources.  David is a licensed NY Attorney and an Adjunct Professor at two NYC universities where he regularly teaches courses on Business Planning and Strategy. David serves ActKnowledge as both General Counsel and Director of Business Development.