For more than 60 years, Foellinger Foundation has provided resources for Allen County, Indiana, residents to increase their self-reliance through grants to nonprofit organizations that directly serve them.
But, as our grantees are helping people move from dependence to independence, measuring how they do that, and do it effectively, has often been challenging.
To address that, we’ve redesigned our evaluation system to better align with the outputs and outcomes measured and reported by organizations that receive our foundation’s support. Our goal is to work with grantees to understand how their clients move from dependence to independence.
In creating this new evaluation system, Foellinger Foundation engaged program staff from numerous organizations over a two-year period. This was a critical factor in creating this system; we wanted input directly from individuals working with the children and families they serve.
The Independence Continuum is the primary tool used to visualize this new system. The Continuum represents the setbacks and the triumphs of individuals who receive services from the grantee organizations. Where those individuals fall on the Continuum is influenced by many factors including housing, education, employment, transportation, and support systems. Because aspects of a person’s life can be variable, they may find different parts of their lives in different stages of the Continuum at one time.
Training and Implementation
Foellinger Foundation will host a series of trainings for all eligible organizations on how to use the new evaluation system that will ultimately be required of all grant applicants beginning with the next round of Early Childhood Development and Family Development grants. Organizations will be invited to training sessions that will be scheduled prior to applicable submission dates. If an organization has an active operating or program support grant, it will not be required to use the new evaluation system until the organization submits a new proposal. Foundation staff will provide training throughout the transition to ensure everyone has the required information.
This post originally appeared on Foellinger Foundation’s blog (April 15, 2019); an email was also sent to community nonprofits to announce the new evaluation system.
Cheryl Taylor has been president and CEO of the Foellinger Foundation since 2001 and a member of its board of directors since 2002. She serves on its executive, investment, and finance committees, and provides staff support for its board development committee. She also serves on the board of directors of Community Partnerships, Inc.
Contact Cheryl to talk more about Foellinger Foundation’s new evaluation system and the process of developing it.