Stronger Teams,
Stronger Communities

Finding trusted expertise and support for your talent-related needs is hard. We can help.

Expertise You Can Trust

Talent Well connects Place-Based Partnerships with the talent-related expertise, resources, and hands-on support needed to build strong, vibrant teams.

Expert Guidance

Our experienced Capacity Advisors bring deep expertise in talent/HR and are here to offer advice or help you identify solutions and service providers.

Vetted Providers

We have vetted a set of search firms and talent/HR consultants, so you can be assured of high-quality support.

Streamlined Process

Our tech platform makes it easy for you to request support and get matched to providers.

Project Funding

Use our services at no cost and access philanthropic funding to cover a significant portion of costs for searches and projects.

Real-time support and guidance for your talent questions

Have a question or concern related to talent? Or need immediate support for short, quick turnaround projects? Our Talent Capacity Advisor or TCA is here to offer guidance and support via office hours, point you to helpful resources, or match you with one of our expert providers in our curated pool. To get started, schedule a call.

Connections to vetted search firms and consultants for your HR/talent projects

Need help finding a key team member or strengthening your talent processes, systems, structures, and norms? Our signature project matching process is designed to deliver high-quality support that is responsive to the needs and contexts of your organization. Simply tell us a bit about what you are looking for, then our Talent Capacity Advisor will help you zero in on what you need and curate providers from our network who are available and interested in working with you. You will be able to review and compare proposals via our platform and interview providers before you decide whom to work with.
about catalyst:ed

Matching organizations to critical skills, knowledge, culture, systems, and resources to fulfill their mission.

Catalyst:Ed is a national nonprofit that improves outcomes for children, families, and communities by strengthening the organizations that serve them. Our pioneering model matches organizations to tailored technical assistance and capacity-building supports so they can address long-standing challenges and expand the limits of what they can accomplish. The Ballmer Group partnered with  Catalyst:Ed to create Talent Well as a resource to help their grantees – and eventually the field – access high-quality, rapid, and responsive support for their talent-related needs.


Schedule a call with your Talent Capacity Advisor using the “request support” form. They will review your request and reach out within 1-2 business days. Talent Capacity Advisors have deep expertise in talent and will be able to help you with most of your questions and concerns. If they determine you need more intensive or specialized support, they will directly connect you to a trusted provider in our network in 2-4 business days.

For projects ranging from 1 week to more than a year in duration, start by filling out the “request support” form. Here’s what happens next:

  1. Your Talent Capacity Advisor or TCA will have a scoping call with you to better understand your needs, context, and goals.
  2. The TCA will then develop a scope of work (mini-RFP) and send it to all of the providers in our network who are vetted for their skills in the area where you need support.
  3. Providers will submit a short proposal if they are interested and available detailing how they would approach the work.
  4. You will review these applications on our platform and decide who to interview and who to move forward with – you’ll just let us know via a simple form.
  5. We’ll make the connection and handle contracting, so you and the provider can get right to work.

We guide you through a set of scaffolded questions so we can better understand your needs, contexts, and goals, and develop a tailored project scope that we then share with our provider network. Our clients find the scoping process incredibly helpful and have compared it to “part consultation with a strategic advisor, part speaking with a therapist”.

We tag projects along various dimensions, including type (e.g., design, implementation, etc.), domain (e.g., personalized learning, special education, etc.), organization type, and geography. In most cases, we request proposals from providers whose characteristics match the project requirements. You review the profiles and proposals of all providers who respond and decide whom to interview and whom to work with. In some cases when the project budgets are small or the need is urgent, we will reach out directly to some vetted providers and identify a provider for you, but we will never do this without talking with you first.

A consulting wallet is a philanthropically-funded set-aside to support the capacity-building needs of organizations and ensure that organizations are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions about what they focus on and who they work with. Put simply, if you are given a consulting wallet, it is money that will go to pay providers directly for the time and effort that they spend on doing work for your organization. The money flows through Catalyst:Ed, and thus we handle all of the contracting and payments. You will leverage our streamlined system to sign off on the scope of work, your choice of provider, and the work that they have done to trigger payments.

Your consulting wallet is specifically for your organization’s talent and HR consulting and projects. If an organization you partner with or support is interested in leveraging Catalyst:Ed’s services, they won’t have access to consulting wallets.

Your partner organization can connect with a Catalyst:Ed capacity advisor here, whether they need help with talent/HR or one of the other competency areas we support. For talent/HR projects, they will have access to the same vetted pool of providers who are working on Talent Well projects.

Periodically throughout the project, we check in with the organization and the provider and ask them to provide feedback for each other. Once the project is completed, we ask both about what was accomplished and reflect on what they learned. We also ask them to share feedback for each other as well as Catalyst:Ed. By default, feedback is shared with the other party, although both organizations and providers can ask to keep the feedback confidential. Providers who propose for projects can share their past feedback with prospective clients, although we do not require them to do so. The information we collect helps us understand our impact and improve our services to organizations and providers.

Meeting our customers’ expectations is core to our mission. You will have the opportunity to share feedback at several points during the project. You can also reach out to your Talent Capacity Advisor at any point, and we will work with you to ensure a successful outcome. Schedule a call with a Talent Capacity Advisor here.

Talent Well is a dedicated resource for grantees of the Ballmer Group. It is an initiative of Catalyst:Ed, which works with all kinds of organizations serving children, youth, and families looking to improve educational outcomes and promote economic mobility for their communities. Our clients include schools, school districts, charter school applicants, non-profits, community groups, and foundations.

The Catalyst:Ed Provider Network is a diverse coalition of expert consultants, coaches, and technical assistance providers with deep expertise and experience working with and supporting nonprofits. Providers range from national and regional organizations (incl. nonprofits that offer technical assistance services, consulting firms, and research organizations) to independent consultants. All network members have gone through a rigorous three-step vetting process (applications, interviews, references).

All providers go through a three-stage vetting process that includes an application and portfolio review, an interview, and three reference checks before they are added to the network. We evaluate relevant experience and expertise and look for demonstrated commitment to improving outcomes. The process also helps us gather the information we need to make more informed matches.

Not at this time, since we have promised to maintain the privacy of our providers. However, organizations that post a project can review the profiles of providers who propose for the project.

Consultations with your Capacity Advisor are at no cost to you.

Capacity Advisors work with you to develop project scopes that take into account the work required to achieve the deliverables and the budget that is available. The estimated budget is included in the project scope shared with providers. Providers have the option of proposing a project budget that is above or below the estimated budget given their approach and cost structures. The final project budget is based on the proposal and provider that the organization selects.

For projects subsidized by a consulting wallet, Catalyst:Ed offers an easy-to-use payment system through which providers can be paid. Providers submit invoices and we make payments once we receive your approval. If you do not have a consulting wallet, or your project does not meet the criteria for wallet funding, as of now, you pay the providers directly.

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Request Support

Use this form to get started on scheduling a consultation with your Talent Capacity Advisor or to get matched for a project, and we will be in touch with you shortly. Questions? Email us at [email protected]