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How To Encourage Sustainable Change: A Reflection On How Philanthropy Can Partner With Grantees To Build Organizational Capacity, Allison Dymnicki, Alex Hooker, Rebecca Goldberg Jun 2021

How To Encourage Sustainable Change: A Reflection On How Philanthropy Can Partner With Grantees To Build Organizational Capacity, Allison Dymnicki, Alex Hooker, Rebecca Goldberg

The Foundation Review

In 2014, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation embarked on the National Character Initiative to support organizations seeking to advance character development among youth. The initiative sought to promote lasting change by focusing on building grantee capacity that was based largely on grantee priorities.

This article highlights key findings from an evaluation of the foundation’s approach to the initiative by elevating the perspectives of grantees, foundation staff, and field experts who served as consultants. It discusses supports the foundation provided to grantees and three key transformational elements in capacity building: proactive and responsive technical assistance, a culture of learning, and …


Lessons From The Assessment For Learning Project: Strategies For Building An Authentic Learning Community, Heather Lewis-Charp, Daniela Berman, Sarah Lench, Tony Siddall Jun 2020

Lessons From The Assessment For Learning Project: Strategies For Building An Authentic Learning Community, Heather Lewis-Charp, Daniela Berman, Sarah Lench, Tony Siddall

The Foundation Review

This article explores findings from an evaluation of the Assessment for Learning Project, a grantee engagement strategy led by the Center for Innovation in Education focused on creating a learning community founded in continuous reflection and safety for risk-taking. The article shares the project’s model and approach, grounded in the core design elements of a field-facing learning agenda, grantmaking that leads with learning, and collective leadership.

This article highlights the Assessment for Learning Project’s practices, such as a Request for Learning rather than traditional Request for Proposals; a requirement that grantees provide formative feedback to each other; and public demonstrations …


Is More Always Better? A Reflection On The Dynamic Nature Of Nationally And Regionally Focused Funder Collaboratives, Jo Carcedo, Merry Davis, Megan Folkerth, Lori Grubstein, Chris Kabel Jun 2020

Is More Always Better? A Reflection On The Dynamic Nature Of Nationally And Regionally Focused Funder Collaboratives, Jo Carcedo, Merry Davis, Megan Folkerth, Lori Grubstein, Chris Kabel

The Foundation Review

Funding collaboratives allow foundations to align, increase effectiveness, and collectively address systemic issues. Such alliances are increasingly important in the quest for social change in the face of large-scale challenges like climate change, political polarization, and inequity, which require contributions from across sectors to create meaningful impact. An exploration of why such collaboratives form, how they evolve, and what impact they have offers insights for foundations interested in tackling such complex challenges.

The BUILD Health Challenge® is a funding collaborative that includes national and regionally focused funders working together to drive sustainable improvements in health. Through a reflective survey and …


Foundations Don’T Know What They’Re Risking, Maya Winkelstein, Shelley Whelpton Jun 2017

Foundations Don’T Know What They’Re Risking, Maya Winkelstein, Shelley Whelpton

The Foundation Review

Critical gaps exist in philanthropy’s definitions of and approach to risk management. This article describes the scope of the problem and a framework for philanthropists to adopt risk-management practices that better equip the sector to address the challenges of our time.

In 2015, the Open Road Alliance surveyed hundreds of funders and grantees to explore questions about risk and contingency funding. The next year, Open Road partnered with Arabella Advisors for a qualitative analysis of existing foundation policies and procedures related to risk. The combined results suggest a need for contingency funding – and a lack among most funders and …


Evaluation At Sunset: Considerations When Evaluating A Program As It Concludes, Blair Beadnell, Holly Carmichael Djang, Jan Vanslyke, Barbara Andersen Apr 2017

Evaluation At Sunset: Considerations When Evaluating A Program As It Concludes, Blair Beadnell, Holly Carmichael Djang, Jan Vanslyke, Barbara Andersen

The Foundation Review

While the benefits of beginning evaluation efforts at a program’s inception are well known, for a variety of reasons many organizations are unable to do so and instead begin these efforts closer to a program’s conclusion.

Previously reported findings from a sunset evaluation of the Orfalea Foundation’s School Food Initiative showed positive outcomes of the initiative’s activities and provided recommendations for organizations interested in engaging in similar efforts. Because the evaluation was begun as the foundation’s activities were winding down, it required creative design approaches.

This article uses the evaluation of the Orfalea Foundation’s initiative to provide a case example …


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 …


Foundations Supporting Research And Innovation In Europe: Results And Lessons From The Eufori Study, Barbara Gouwenberg, Danique Ali, Barry Hoolwerf, Rene Bekkers, Theo Schuyt, Jan Smit Mar 2016

Foundations Supporting Research And Innovation In Europe: Results And Lessons From The Eufori Study, Barbara Gouwenberg, Danique Ali, Barry Hoolwerf, Rene Bekkers, Theo Schuyt, Jan Smit

The Foundation Review

This article presents the most important results of the European Foundation for Research and Innovation Study, the first study to map the roles and collective contributions of Europe’s large, heterogeneous, and fragmented sector of research and innovation foundations.

The study, based on a review of about 1,000 foundations, estimates that they contribute at least $6.4 billion a year to research and innovation in Europe. While this estimate shows that the contribution is quite substantial, its economic weight is modest compared to that of government, the business sector, and other actors in the domain of research and innovation.

European foundations prefer …


Activating The Power Of Place: A Case Study Of Market Creek, Elizabeth Castillo, Angela Titus Oct 2015

Activating The Power Of Place: A Case Study Of Market Creek, Elizabeth Castillo, Angela Titus

The Foundation Review

This article tells the story of a placed-based initiative to develop well-being and wealth in the historically underserved Diamond Neighborhood in San Diego, and discusses the place-based philosophy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the foundation’s motivation for place-based work.

Its theory of change is presented through examples, along with the entry points the foundation chose for engagement and how it developed community capacity to engage effectively in this change work.

The article also discusses plans to transition ownership to the Diamond Neighborhood community when the foundation sunsets in 2030.


Catalytic Funding, Partnership, Evaluation, And Advocacy: Innovation Strategies For Community Impact, Lora Warner Jun 2015

Catalytic Funding, Partnership, Evaluation, And Advocacy: Innovation Strategies For Community Impact, Lora Warner

The Foundation Review

With long-term commitments to concentrated geographic regions, community foundations are in a unique position to highlight problems and stimulate other nonprofit organizations and funders to develop local solutions. Seizing an opportunity to address a growing community concern over cutbacks in youth arts education, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region undertook an initiative that utilized several innovation strategies in a way that would impact the community and its own work.

This article describes how the foundation combined catalytic funding, partnership with grantees, creative use of evaluation, and design of advocacy tools to promote and strengthen youth arts programming. The …


Evaluation For Models And Adaptive Initiatives, Heather Britt, Julia Coffman Jan 2012

Evaluation For Models And Adaptive Initiatives, Heather Britt, Julia Coffman

The Foundation Review

· Although there has been a growing emphasis on use of experimental designs in evaluation, there is also increasing agreement that evaluation designs should be situation specific.

· The nature of the program is one of the key factors to consider in evaluation design.

· Two types of programs – models, which provide replicable or semi-standardized solutions, adaptive initiatives, which are flexible programming strategies used to address problems that require unique, context-based solutions – require different evaluation designs.

· Evaluation of models requires understanding the stage of development of the model program, with summative evaluation done only when the model …