The Consultation Center at Yale University and the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation are excited to announce that the recent Building Agency Capacity for Evaluation RFP has resulted in an astounding pool of applicants. There are currently 52 eligible applications under review by the Consultation Center for only five grant spots. The 52 Philadelphia area organizations range from cultural organizations on the Parkway to small innovative startups to large health networks with many direct service providers in between. Though the organizations all have different missions, they all have the same desire to take their program from good to excellent by building agency capacity for evaluation.
These 52 organizations were not the only ones interested in building their internal evaluation skills, many more organizations inquired about applying but were not eligible. The Foundation believes the remarkable response to the RFP represents the overwhelming need for organizations to be able to internally evaluate their own work. Many agencies lack the capacity to collect data, evaluate the impact of their services, or communicate effectively about data. This makes it difficult for them to make data-driven decisions, ensure staff and program accountability, and compete effectively for funds in this difficult economic time.
What is the initiative? How does it work?
The Building Agency Capacity for Program Evaluation initiative from the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation addresses issues around evaluation by providing training and consultation in program evaluation skills to key staff from five agencies in greater Philadelphia by members of the Yale Evaluation Group. The work includes helping staff obtain an in-depth understanding of their program’s logic model or theory of change, teaching staff skills to conduct essential program evaluation activities, and training in effective communication about data. Unique features of the initiative include tailoring capacity building to the needs of each agency and focusing on sustaining capacity after the two-years of training and consultation end.
The Scattergood Foundation and The Consultation Center developed the Building Agency Capacity for Evaluation initiative after they began evaluating the Mural Arts Porch Light Program. The Porch Light Initiative is a unique program that merges the fields of art and science while impacting the lives of individuals with behavioral health needs. The preliminary evaluation was a key factor in the growth of the Resolution Initiative and securing the program as a Robert Wood Johnson Community Partners site. The Porch Light Initiative receives support from several local organizations and partners with other local agencies to provide services. The evaluation component has continued to grow and is now in the fourth year of rigorous data collection and analysis. Throughout the evaluation process the Mural Arts Program has benefited in countless ways and these learnings have encouraged the Scattergood Foundation to fund this important initiative in five organizations per year across the greater Philadelphia area.
Thus far, The Consultation Center has worked closely with 11 agencies and the response has been uniformly positive. Agencies have used the initiative to build capacity for a variety of program evaluation activities, including: conducting agency and community needs assessments; enhancing quality assurance and improvement processes; tracking outcomes for programs serving children, adolescents, adults, or families; and carrying out evaluations of community-based, hospital-based, and housing programs and services.
- Child Guidance Resource Centers
- Children’s Crisis Treatment Centers
- 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University
- Mercer Street Friends
- Northern Home for Children
- Broad Street Ministry
- The Child Protection Program at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
- Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania
- Multiplying Connections of the Health Federation of Philadelphia
- Pathways to Housing PA
- Project HOME
Read more about the organizations progress at http://www.scattergoodfoundation.org/activity/general/building-agency-capacity-program-evaluation-2
Faculty and staff from the Yale Evaluation Group at The Consultation Center include: Jacob K. Tebes, Ph.D., Joy S. Kaufman, Ph.D., Cindy A. Crusto, Ph.D., Amy Griffin, M.A., & Bronwyn Hunter, Ph.D.
Want to learn more about Evaluation?
On October 21st, 2013 the Scattergood Foundation and The Consultation Center will host an afternoon evaluation presentation and panel open to all applicants and anyone interested. For more information on this event please join our mailing list by selecting GET UPDATES on the top left corner of the website.
A recent chapter by the group illustrates the types of program evaluation activities drawn on when they provide consultation and training and can be downloaded from below: Tebes, J.K, Kaufman, J.S., Connell, C.M., Crusto, C. A., Thai, N.D. (in press). Evaluation in Primary Prevention and Health Promotion. In: T. Gullotta & M. Bloom (Eds.) The Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion. 2nd Edition. New York: Springer.