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The Foundation Review

Community engagement

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A Team's Journey Toward More Equitable Philanthropic Research And Evaluation Practices, Kimberly A. Spring, Maria Fernanda Mata, Jeffrey Poirier, Allison Holmes, Amir François Sep 2023

A Team's Journey Toward More Equitable Philanthropic Research And Evaluation Practices, Kimberly A. Spring, Maria Fernanda Mata, Jeffrey Poirier, Allison Holmes, Amir François

The Foundation Review

This article describes the journey of the Research and Evaluation team at the Annie E. Casey Foundation to develop an approach that would allow us to rethink and deepen how we, as funders of research and evaluation, center equity in our practice.

In particular, we explain how, through this process, we began to focus on what it means to orient research and evaluation toward participant owners and came to examine the assumptions, expectations, habits, and values that we held. These experiences have presented us with opportunities to learn and be open to new ways of engaging in our work.

We …


Community Foundations As Community Leaders: The Role Of Community Leadership In Creating Change, Colton Strawser Sep 2021

Community Foundations As Community Leaders: The Role Of Community Leadership In Creating Change, Colton Strawser

The Foundation Review

Community foundations claim to play an integral role in fostering philanthropy at a local or regional level across the United States, seeking to improve the quality of life for community residents. Their business model has three main components: grantmaking, fundraising, and community leadership.

As the newest addition to the community foundation operating model, community leadership remains the least examined component in terms of how these foundations define and pursue it. This article seeks to contribute to the literature on the challenges and benefits community foundations encounter in pursuit of a community leadership role.

Utilizing an exploratory design, interviews with leaders …


Shifting Power In Maine: Findings From A Six-Year Community-Based Health Initiative, Susan Foster, Teresa Doksum, Charles Dwyer Jun 2021

Shifting Power In Maine: Findings From A Six-Year Community-Based Health Initiative, Susan Foster, Teresa Doksum, Charles Dwyer

The Foundation Review

Between 2013 and 2019, a Maine Health Access Foundation community-based initiative provided place-based funding to communities to address system gaps and inefficiencies that impede the ability of Maine’s most vulnerable individuals to obtain essential services and supports. To rebalance power between the funder and grantees, the foundation introduced grantmaking practices such as long-term, flexible funding and new ways of relating to and supporting grantees. The theory of change guiding the initiative was that systems change is more effective and sustainable when communities develop cross-sector partnerships and engage community members in planning. The foundation guided the evaluation team to conduct a …


Can Coaching Help Community Partnerships Promote Health Equity, Community Engagement, And Policy, Systems, And Environmental Changes? Results From An Evaluation, Jung Y. Kim, Lisa Schottenfeld, Michael Cavanaugh Dec 2019

Can Coaching Help Community Partnerships Promote Health Equity, Community Engagement, And Policy, Systems, And Environmental Changes? Results From An Evaluation, Jung Y. Kim, Lisa Schottenfeld, Michael Cavanaugh

The Foundation Review

Foundations and other entities have increasingly funded coaching and technical assistance to support multisector community partnerships to promote health and health equity. However, much remains to be learned about how coaching can best support these partnerships.

As part of its efforts to build a culture in which everyone in the United States has a fair opportunity to be healthy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to provide structured coaching to strengthen the capacities of community partnerships. The foundation contracted with Mathematica to evaluate the coaching program, focusing on whether it had an …


From Charitable Giving To Strategic Impact: The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Carla A. Roberts Sep 2018

From Charitable Giving To Strategic Impact: The Fremont Area Community Foundation, Carla A. Roberts

The Foundation Review

In 2011, the Fremont Area Community Foundation launched a community investment strategy, focused on education, poverty, and economic development, that shaped corresponding aspirational goals aimed at improving the quality of life for residents of rural Newaygo County, Mich.

While there had been significant community involvement and input into foundation planning for a number of years, the announcement of these strategic goals and their implementation created some apprehension among the local nonprofits. The new funding paradigms were a big change, and it took several years for many of the grantees, with assistance in the form of backbone services and tools to …


Pci: A Reflective Evaluation Framework For Systems Change, Beverly A. Parsons, Huilan Krenn Mar 2018

Pci: A Reflective Evaluation Framework For Systems Change, Beverly A. Parsons, Huilan Krenn

The Foundation Review

Systemic change involves deep shifts in social norms, beliefs, power, and privilege — and seldom, if ever, follows a straightforward, predictable path. Such change also requires incremental, long-term action and evaluation. To better support systemic change, how might a foundation reframe its approach to evaluation?

This article explores the interconnected dimensions of the PCI Reflective Evaluation Framework, an approach now in prototype form which is grounded in practical thinking about working within complex social systems. This article focuses on its use in advancing racial equity, describing possible applications to integrate a racial equity lens in unpacking and addressing the complexity …


Integrating Funders Into A Multisector Transit-Equity Collaborative: Lessons From The Field, Davian Gagne Oct 2016

Integrating Funders Into A Multisector Transit-Equity Collaborative: Lessons From The Field, Davian Gagne

The Foundation Review

This article examines the efforts of Mile High Connects, a collaborative working to ensure that the Denver region’s $7.8 billion transit project benefits low-income communities and communities of color by connecting them to affordable housing, healthy environments, quality education, and good-paying jobs.

The collaborative, which includes local and national funders that have coalesced around the central issue of transit equity, has adopted a collective-impact model that has at its core two tools to measure and track its work and to show the social-impact outcomes achieved through its initiatives.

This article describes the collaborative’s approach to evaluation, reflects on its initial …


Community Innovation Network Framework: A Model For Reshaping Community Identity, William P. Moore, Adena M. Klem, Cheryl L. Holmes, June Holley, Carlie Houchen Sep 2016

Community Innovation Network Framework: A Model For Reshaping Community Identity, William P. Moore, Adena M. Klem, Cheryl L. Holmes, June Holley, Carlie Houchen

The Foundation Review

The REACH Healthcare Foundation created its Rural Health Initiative to encourage the development of innovative strategies to improve access to health care and reduce health inequities in three rural counties in Missouri and Kansas. The intent was to develop a systematic, sustainable, and coordinated approach to community change that would increase the odds of breaking through the persistent barriers to health care access for the rural poor and medically underserved in these counties.

This article discusses the foundation’s original approach to the initiative and how it adjusted that approach in response to its rural partners’ experiences. It reflects on the …