A Note from the Executive Director: Evaluating Our Impact
Like most funders, we ask our applicants to share their evaluation plans and results. We request this because we want to know how they are thinking about the difference they aim to make. What problem are they trying to solve? How do they plan to solve it? Why do they think that is the best approach? What changes or results have been demonstrated thus far?
We, too, want to understand our impact. And to this end, we have been developing an evaluation framework. Designing and implementing an evaluation approach for a funder differs significantly from doing so in most other nonprofit or public sector organizations. Though our Foundation aims to help improve the health and well-being of El Paso and Teller Counties, we are not doing the work (e.g. providing the direct services). Rather, we fund organizations that do the work. It is impossible to measure a direct causal relationship between our funding and community health outcomes.
And yet, despite these challenges, we believe in evaluation, and we are committed to evaluating our work. To this end, we have adopted an evaluation framework designed to address three goals: 1) inform strategy, 2) assess alignment and 3) drive learning. Our evaluation efforts will help us shape our grantmaking strategies, assess the alignment between the grants we want to make and the grants we have made, and teach us not only what we can do better but also educate us on what our funded partners are learning. In summary, we want our evaluation work to help us become a better, more thoughtful funder – a funder that makes the most of its resources aimed at improving the health of the Pikes Peak region.
In partnership with an outside evaluation consultant, we will begin the process of implementing our evaluation process in late summer/early fall. If your organization was one of our original funded partners (i.e. you were awarded a grant in June 2016), you will be involved in the evaluation work. Using a mix of methods that include final grant report content analysis, focus groups, individual interviews and health statistics data, we will gain valuable insights into our work and the difference we are trying to make.
Thank you in advance if you are tapped to participate in a focus group and/or interview. We value our funded partners’ insights and hope to learn and improve as a result of this process.