Online Program

Funder-Sponsored Evaluation Capacity Building for Community-Based Organizations

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jana Hirschtick, MPH, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Adelina Huo, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Chicago, IL
Alma Rodriguez, The Chicago Community Trust, Chicago, IL
Community-based organizations (CBOs), although uniquely positioned to deliver services and promote health in local contexts, face many barriers to designing and implementing meaningful program evaluation. Furthermore, local grant foundations often do not require rigorous evaluation of funded programs, thereby disincentivizing evaluation when resources are limited. To address this issue, a unique partnership was established between a grant foundation and a non-profit research institute to provide evaluation capacity building for funded CBOs implementing obesity prevention programs in Chicago.

Innovative capacity building activities, including quarterly evaluation trainings and tailored individual support, were developed and implemented with nearly 30 CBOs over 5 years. Participants were led through drafting measurable program objectives and creating evaluation plans, which were submitted to the grant foundation. Data collection and analysis tools, such as surveys and databases, were created for each CBO as needed.

During the past year, an average of 18 individuals representing 9 CBOs attended quarterly trainings, and approximately 50 on-site meetings were held to provide one-on-one support. Among surveyed grantees (n=18), 89% found the evaluation technical assistance very or extremely useful, and 80% increased confidence in articulating measurable program objectives, creating evaluation tools, and utilizing results to improve reporting and programming.

Engaging CBOs in evaluation training throughout the grant cycle allowed for immersive learning approaches and contributed to developing sustainable processes for funders and CBOs to evaluate program effectiveness. Evaluation capacity building is a crucial investment with the potential to improve program accountability and effectiveness, thereby benefitting CBOs, funders, and ultimately the communities being served.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe a unique partnership between a grant foundation and a non-profit research institute to provide evaluation capacity building for funded community-based organizations.

Keyword(s): Evaluation, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have assisted nearly twenty community-based organizations in building sustainable, internal capacity to evaluate program effectiveness. My current evaluation focus is in obesity prevention and my broader interests include utilizing data to promote health equity. I received my bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.