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Evaluating Programs for Women, Youth, and Families

As a funder or nonprofit engaged in programs for women, youth, and families, it can be difficult to document and communicate the difference you are making. Without a process for reflection, nonprofits and funders can lack a clear understanding of how—or indeed whether—their programs lead to improved outcomes.

Is your initiative reaching its target audiences? Are program participants building the skills they need—and are their skills helping them improve their lives? Do they have a stronger voice to speak for themselves and their communities? How does your initiative lead to the change you want to see?

Innovation Network has a proven track record of developing customized tools and frameworks to help our clients more effectively evaluate their work. Our insight comes from our experience: We draw knowledge from real-world evaluation efforts for programs and organizations that serve women, youth, and families. Recent projects include:

  • Washington Area Women’s Foundation / Stepping Stones Initiative: Innovation Network has conducted the evaluation of Stepping Stones since its inception. Since 2005, the Stepping Stones Initiative has built the economic security and financial independence of low-income, women-headed families. The Initiative invests in organizations that serve the needs of women heads-of-household, in order to increase their income, assets, and access to job placement services, and to improve policies that impact them. Our evaluation approach includes evaluation capacity building for the Initiative’s partner organizations through training and technical assistance, process and outcome evaluation methods, and a longitudinal study.
  • Advocates for Youth: Advocates for Youth helps young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. Advocates for Youth believes it can best serve the field by boldly advocating for a more positive and realistic approach to adolescent sexual health. With training and technical assistance, Innovation Network helped Advocates create a complete framework to measure its effectiveness. The framework includes an initiative-level theory of change, goal-level logic models, and evaluation plans to measure outcomes across programs.
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation / Families Count: This initiative sought to strengthen the capacity of selected organizations that improve the odds for vulnerable children by helping them have what they need most – strong, capable, and economically successful families. The Foundation provided unrestricted capacity-building grants to program Honorees over a five-year period. Innovation Network worked with the National Honorees Network to build performance management, evaluation, and results management capacity through online training and targeted technical assistance.
  • The Duke Endowment / Child Advocacy Centers Evaluation: The Duke Endowment partnered with Innovation Network in a three-year effort to build the capacity of and evaluate the work of Child Advocacy Centers (“CACs”), which provide centralized medical, legal, and counseling services to children who have been abused. Over the course of this project, Innovation Network worked closely with the CACs and the Duke Endowment to develop an evaluation framework that examined the CACs’ use of a multi-disciplinary team model and the increased impact the model had on child functioning. This evaluation enabled the Duke Endowment to aggregate data across all of their CAC grantees, empowered the CACs to develop and implement their own evaluation plans, and provided a framework for ongoing data collection for program improvement. The results of the evaluation helped CACs determine the impact they were having on the lives of children and their families coming through their systems.
  • Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz: The Monk Institute offers public school-based jazz education programs to young people around the world. Innovation Network provided the Institute with intensive technical assistance, including logic model development, evaluation planning, and customized survey development. The Monk Institute will use the tools to track intermediate and long-term outcomes to measure its impact on participating youth. By understanding how its services reach and affect its students, the Monk Institute will make year-to-year programmatic improvements so it can increase its effectiveness.

Contact us to discuss your evaluation needs.

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