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Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York;
After 1990, US and European foundations and government agencies invested in a series of Partnerships and Trusts to support civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans and the Black Sea regions. Analyzing the long-term impact of these investments is crucial, especially as many politicians across these regions increase their anti-civil society rhetoric. Three long-time US foundation staff look back at the legacy and impact of this funding and derive a series of lessons for practitioners seeking to understand how best to sustain civil societies for the long term.
It is not uncommon for financial capability practitioners in Indian Country to be stopped in the grocery store by our students and told how the class they attended changed their lives— that they now have an emergency fund. This has inspired us and prompted meaningful dialogue around what conditions improve long-term outcomes, and how to conduct follow-up that supports financial behavioral change. This report is intended to launch the longstanding and much-loved Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families (BNC) curriculum into all areas of this national dialogue. This report will argue that the BNC financial education program not only works, but that it has been critical in promoting long-term behavioral change.
This report will also argue that financial education curricula, uniquely adapted to the culture and needs of the intended audience, such as the BNC curriculum, is the cornerstone of effective financial education. Lastly, it will make recommendations, such as how to maximize the impact of financial education by using it as the foundation on which to build other financial capability programming.
Los Angeles County Arts Commission;
In 2018, the LA County Dept of Arts and Culture implemented a new eligibility requirement to its Organizational Grant Program. Applicants must submit a statement, policy, or plan outlining their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEI). This analysis of the statements, policies, and plans submitted for the 2019-21 grant cycle finds that while nearly all applicants used the term diversity, they defined it and used it in different ways. Some applicants described their commitment to DEI by indicating how many of various race and ethnicity or gender categories they had on their board, in their staff, or among their artists. Other applicants addressed questions of diversity as they related to the organization's historical work around equity and inclusion. In some cases, applicant organizations demonstrated a long-standing commitment to addressing these issues in specific communities. This report concludes with a series of recommendations to arts and other nonprofits seeking to deepen their work, and recommendations for how the Dept of Arts and Culture can continue to improve implementation of this requirement.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
This report shows how equity-based family engagement helps parents and caretakers in underserved communities become effective advocates and culture-bearers in schools, which boosts educational quality and relevance.
Fund for Shared Insight;
In prior reports, ORS Impact, Fund for Shared Insight's learning and evaluation partner, has analyzed the feedback initiative Listen4Good from the perspective of participating nonprofits. In this report, ORS examines what nonprofit clients, the people taking the L4G surveys, think about the experience of providing feedback and what impact it has.
To explore this, ORS conducted focus groups with 83 clients at seven L4G-participating organizations; interviewed staff from those same groups; and reviewed L4G-survey data to better understand the organizations' feedback practices and triangulate answers with perceptions clients shared in the focus groups.
Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support colleges that seek to incorporate technology into their advising and student services. In iPASS, such technology is intended to increase advising's emphasis on a student's entire college experience, enabling advisers to more easily (1) intervene when students show early warning signs of academic and nonacademic challenges, (2) regularly follow up as students progress through college, (3) refer students to tutoring and other support services when needed, and (4) provide personalized guidance that reflects students' unique needs.
To study how technology can support advising redesign, MDRC and the Community College Research Center partnered with three institutions already implementing iPASS: California State University, Fresno; Montgomery County Community College; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The three institutions increased the emphasis on providing timely support, boosted their use of advising technologies, and used administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers. The enhancements at all three institutions are being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial research design.
This report shows that the enhancements generally produced only a modestly different experience for students in the program group compared with students in the control group, although at one college, the enhancements did substantially increase the number of students who had contact with an adviser. Consequently, it is not surprising that the enhancements have so far had no discernible positive effects on students' academic performance. The findings also highlight the potential for unintended consequences. Before the study, each of the institutions had required that certain groups of students see an adviser before registering for classes in the next semester. Each institution expanded this preregistration requirement to include all students in the study's program groups, but at one institution, the requirement appears to have contributed to a small reduction in earned credits.
Oxfam GB's Global Performance Framework is part of the organization's effort to better understand and communicate its effectiveness, as well as to enhance learning for staff and partners. Under this Framework, a small number of completed or mature projects are selected at random each year for an evaluation of their impact; this exercise is known as an 'Effectiveness Review'. One key focus is on the extent to which the projects have promoted change in relation to relevant Oxfam GB global outcome indicators. The global outcome indicator for the livelihoods thematic area is defined as 'total household consumption per adult equivalent per day'. This indicator is explained in more detail in section 5 of this report.
Niger's 'Community-Based Integrated Water Resource Management' project was one of those selected for an Effectiveness Review in the 2016/17 financial year. The project activities were implemented by Oxfam GB in conjunction with the partner organization Karkara and the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of Niger. The project was started in April 2013 and was completed in March 2015. It was evaluated one year after closure.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation;
Since 2015, the MacArthur Foundation's Big Bet On Nigeria is investing in efforts to reduce corruption in Nigeria by supporting Nigerian-led endeavors that strengthen transparency, accountability, and participation. Corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability in Nigeria have far-reaching impacts on access to and quality of public services, the well-being of Nigerians, and overall development. The On Nigeria strategy builds on Jonathan Fox's "sandwich" theory,1 which recognizes the importance of the combination of a push from below and a squeeze from above to effect change and sustain momentum. The push from below is the "voice"— representing citizens' actions to demand change and develop local solutions to corruption, while the squeeze from above is the "teeth"—representing the efforts of government and other high-level actors to develop and enforce laws and regulations, using incentives to discourage corruption and sanctions to punish it. The On Nigeria theory of change harnesses the "voice" of Nigerian citizens and the "teeth" of Nigerian public and private institutions, and combined with capacity building and collaboration, intends to address the problem of corruption in Nigeria.
The On Nigeria evaluation and learning framework seeks to answer three overarching evaluation questions: (1) How is the MacArthur Foundation's strategy contributing to changing transparency and accountability of government and private-sector actors? (2) How is the MacArthur Foundation's strategy contributing to changing social norms and citizens' behaviors related to corruption? and (3) What kinds of adaptation or changes are needed in the theory of change and/or strategy to achieve better results? The framework is designed to provide specific information related to On Nigeria's landscape, outcomes, impacts, and feedback on the strategy to assess progress and adapt the strategy as needed.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
The Mission Aligned Framework for Investing, introduced in this report, is a management and governance tool created by KKS Advisors on behalf of the Kellogg Foundation. It offers a set of determinants related to our programmatic strategy and desired outcomes. As we evaluate our investments, this analysis is contributing to our thinking and ongoing measurement of sustained impact. We offer this report as a resource for the field and a tool for other organizations exploring mechanisms to evaluate the social effect of investments in pursuit of deep impact.
Funding for adolescent girls has been gaining traction in recent years. While feminist funders have traditionally focused on women and young people, there has been a drive to put more flexible funding in the hands of girl-led and girl-centered organisations.
This evaluation reviews and assesses the With and For Girls Collective, the With and For Girls Award and the awards journey with a view to drawing out lessons from the Collective's experience to help encourage funders to increase flexible funding and other resources to girl-led and girl-centered organisations globally.
Cotton 2040, implemented by Forum for the Future, is designed as a convening initiative for integrating and accelerating action on critical issues to mainstream sustainably grown cotton through a systems-change approach. C&A Foundation has provided the primary source for programmatic support to the implementing partner, Forum for the Future, for Cotton 2040 activities from 2014- 2018. The independent external evaluation of Cotton 2040 is intended to: 1) assess the extent to which the initiative and its two major workstreams have achieved intended objectives; and 2) document significant learning from the initiative.
The study, funded by Robin Hood, is the most rigorous, independent, third-party evaluation of group microfinance in the United States, assessing Grameen America's program, a microfinance model that provides small loans to low-income women entrepreneurs in the United States seeking to launch or expand small businesses.