publication Mar 2010
Evaluating Community Organizing
Community organizing has gained visibility as a vibrant and potent force for social change. While it shares many characteristics with policy advocacy, it differs in significant ways and the approaches to evaluating the two also differ. This brief offers a vision for community organizing evaluation that is grounded in a set of principles based on direct experience with organizers.
publication Oct 2009
Tools to Support Public Policy Grantmaking
This Foundation Review article offers guidance on how foundations can frame, focus, and advance efforts to achieve public policy reforms, outlines five essential steps for developing public policy strategy, and provides two tools to support foundations during the strategy development process.
publication Oct 2009
Evaluating Advocacy and Policy Change: The Funder’s Perspective
Funders with experience in advocacy evaluation have found that getting buy-in from grantees and other funder staff can be challenging. This brief offers responses.
publication Jun 2009
Necessary And Not Sufficient: The State of Evaluation Use in Foundations
Based on a 2009 survey of evaluation leaders from foundations known for their commitment to evaluation, this study looked at whether foundations “walk the talk” by tracking the results of their work. It examined the practices related to use of evaluative information in 31 foundations.
publication May 2008
Death Is Certain. Strategy Isn’t.
For many in philanthropy, the word “strategy” has come to imply a de rigueur set of formal and sequential steps: research, analysis and development of a theory of change, and identification and tracking of outputs and outcomes. This teaching case about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s work to improve end‐of‐life care in America is about an alternative approach to linear conceptions of strategy.
publication Oct 2006
Making Evaluation Matter
Does evaluation add value to philanthropy? This report offers insights from a 2006 Evaluation Roundtable convening. It looks at where evaluation was falling short in its role and an action agenda for how it can better help to improve foundation effectiveness.
publication Jul 2006
Looking for Shadows: Evaluating Community Change in the Plain Talk Initiative
The 1990s marked the beginning of a shift by large national foundations from mainly programmatic investments to a deeper engagement in long-term, complex community change. This teaching case explores the evaluation of a large multi-city comprehensive community initiative, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, that sought to make contraceptives available to sexually active youth to reduce pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases.
publication Apr 2005
Evaluation of the Fighting Back Initiative
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed a multi-site initiative that used community-generated strategies to reduce the use and abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs. The Fighting Back initiative was in place for 12 years, with a total investment of $88 million. At the end, evaluators concluded that across the Fighting Back sites, the initiative did not produce significant reductions in use. This teaching case offers a complicated story about the many issues foundations face in evaluating their investments.
publication Jul 2004
The Devolution Initiative Evaluation: Innovation and Learning at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Federal welfare and health care reforms in the mid-1990s resulted in the “devolution” of powers, responsibilities, and funding from the federal to state and local levels of government. This teaching case focuses on the evaluation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Devolution Initiative, a seven-year, $56 million project with 31 grantees and a $3.6 million external evaluation conducted by the Harvard Family Research Project.
publication Apr 2003
Changing Stakeholder Needs and Changing Evaluator Roles: The Central Valley Partnership of the James Irvine Foundation
Research frequently has shown that internally useful evaluation is difficult to achieve unless a program is "evaluable." A culture that is open to and supports evaluation and accountability is a prerequisite for achieving evaluability. This teaching case explores the process for creating such a culture.
publication Jul 2002
Home Visitation: A Case Study of Evaluation at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation funded an evaluation-focused strategy for over a decade in a particular child development service area--home visitation This teaching case explores the origins of the Foundation's focus in this area, the development of the evaluation approach, interpretations of the research, scaling of the approach, changes at the Foundation itself, case examples, methodological descriptions, and other aspects of the strategy and experience.