In January 2014, I began working with The Robert Bowne Foundation on an evaluation capacity building initiative that supports grantees to build their internal evaluation capacity, while advancing the fields of out of school time (OST) and positive youth development (PYD). The objective is to push the envelope far beyond individual evaluation skill attainment toward cross sector learning and growth.
Our strategy is to work with thought leaders who will help create, utilize, and advocate for common measurement and automated reporting and planning technology systems that:
- create cost efficiencies,
- promote learning across programs,
- generate a core body of knowledge about what works for whom and in what contexts.
The initiative offers 18 months of support to staff members from eight New York based nonprofits through one-to-one consultation, skill-development workshops, facilitated conversations and peer-to-peer learning during which staff at these organizations learn how to:
- understand the most recent research underpinning OST and PYD programming
- connect current program models with the research
- critically assess research-based instruments
- create evaluation plans
- integrate a shared measurement tool into their ongoing evaluation and learning practices
- use data to inform programmatic and organizational decisions
We launched our first cohort meeting in February with more than 25 participants. Since then, 4 organizations have asked to send additional staff members and three foundations have expressed interest in engaging their grantees to pilot the tools. Stay tuned for updates on our progress or learn about how you can participate in the pilot phase of the work!