The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is a leader in the prevention and treatment of pediatric HIV. As a Foundation, we understand the importance of project, program, and portfolio management to ensure and reinforce our commitment to technical and operational excellence. EGPAF established an in-house Project Management Office (PMO) in 2015 to formalize project management requirements; establish the Foundation’s project management governance processes, guidance, and standards; and offer a variety of processes and tools to improve the management of activities. 

While EGPAF’s PMO directs much attention to support high-quality management of donor-funded projects, it also supports the adoption of project management philosophy and concepts to improve the efficiency of EGPAF staff at the team and individual levels.  EGPAF and the PMO are using Theories of Change to reinforce strategies, maximize results by identifying the necessary work to be undertaken, and ensure EGPAF measures progress towards the Foundation’s and PMO’s achievement of long-term goals. The PMO recently supported the development of an organizational-level Theory of Change, and is now offering workshops to help internal departments reflect on change mechanisms and develop department-level Theories of Change. A Theory of Change is a visual tool and methodology from the mid-1990s that describes how an intervention is expected to lead to a specific change. It articulates the connection between actions and a team, department and/or organizational mission via steps that result in outcomes. 

EGPAF’s PMO approached their Theory of Change development alongside annual updates to the department’s vision, mission, and work plan. The PMO ensured this was a consultative process to reflect the essential perspectives and expertise of the entire team. Before defining the PMO’s key audience (specifically, who gets directly impacted by the Office’s goals), the PMO selected a Theory of Change template to determine the appropriate level of detail that aligned with the department’s needs. After completing these initial steps, the PMO worked backwards to identify necessary preconditions to achieve these long-term goals. Specifically, the PMO mapped departmental outcomes, outputs, and inputs from its updated annual logframe and work plan. While Theories of Change can be quite detailed depending on stakeholder needs, the PMO’s version will reflect four components: its mission, outcomes, outputs, and inputs.

The PMO plans to review and revise its Theory of Change twice a year to ensure continuous learning and improvements. The PMO wants its Theory of Change to be a dynamic, living tool that supports ongoing reflection and learning, and appreciated the learning process to develop and document the creation of a department-level Theory of Change.

EGPAF’s PMO is deeply committed to project management and providing technical assistance, and remains well-positioned to lead and disseminate project management information. We welcome further discussion around the development and utilization of a strategic or department-level Theory of Change. Please do not hesitate to reach out to EGPAF’s PMO at

Author: Laura Reynolds

Laura Reynolds, MPH and Project Manager, is a master-level project management trainer and member of EGPAF’s Project Management Office, working on project management technical assistant initiatives within the Foundation.

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