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Investing in a Healthy Community

 
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St. David’s Foundation is committed to measuring the impact of our investments in order to guide strategy and improve the health of the Central Texas community. We believe evaluation is core to program planning and improvement.

 Our vision for learning and evaluation is for all programs to be able to efficiently collect and analyze meaningful data that is used as a tool for learning and program improvement.

Ideal program evaluation has the following characteristics:

  1. Clearly defined program outputs and outcomes that link to program goals and can be measured regularly
  2. Efficient and meaningful data collection tools and storage systems
  3. Ability for timely analysis and reporting
  4. Communication processes to share and discuss findings
  5. Data driven decisions to improve programs

We recognize that using data effectively can be resource intensive and can require a cultural shift but we believe it is essential to strong, impactful programs.

Building Evaluation Capacity

St. David’s Foundation recognizes that there are challenges to measuring impact. We seek to build grant partners’ internal evaluation capacity through capacity building grants and learning opportunities. For more information about our capacity building grants please visit the Capacity Works webpage.

When appropriate, the Foundation supports organizations in working with external evaluators. In order to help grant partners navigate working with external evaluators, St. David’s Foundation has compiled a directory of recommended evaluators in the Central Texas area. Please email Ellie Haggerty, Public Health Evaluator, at ehaggerty@stdavidsfoundation.org to request a copy.

In addition, we recommend the following resources for working with external evaluators:

·         ACF Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation, Chapter 4: “How do you hire and manage an Outside Evaluator?” http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/program_managers_guide_to_eval2010.pdf

·         Robert Woods Johnson’s A Guide to Evaluation Primers: http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/web-assets/2004/04/a-guide-to-evaluation-primers

·         Community Tool Box. Section 4. Choosing Evaluators: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/evaluate/evaluation/choose-evaluators/main

Additional Evaluation Resources:

·         PerformWell, an online resource for identifying outcomes and measurement tools: http://performwell.org/

·         Working Hard and Working Well: A Practical Guide to Performance Management: http://leapofreason.org/get-the-books/working-hard-and-working-well/get-working-hard-and-working-well/

·         Process Improvement 101 videos for behavioral health treatment organizations: http://www.niatx.net/Content/ContentPage.aspx?PNID=2&NID=15

Grant Partner Evaluation Expectations

All grant partners participate in learning and evaluation activities including the development and monitoring of performance metrics, data reviews, and grant reporting. SDF evaluation staff work with grant partners to make the Foundation’s evaluation expectations clear and ensure that our reporting requirements are commensurate with our investment and not overly burdensome for the organization.

For more information on grant partner evaluation expectations please contact Ellie Haggerty, MPH at ehaggerty@stdavidsfoundation.org.

How the Foundation Uses Data

St. David’s Foundation uses data to inform strategy at the grant partner, focus area, and community levels. Aggregate grant partner data submitted to the Foundation is analyzed to ensure that funds are being used as planned and that programs are increasing access to quality health related services. Foundation staff aggregate data across grant partners, where appropriate, to explore the overall impact of the Foundation in each of the six focus areas. The Foundation explores this data in relation to community wide data in order to identify unmet needs, barriers to care, and opportunities for collaboration.

In addition to the use of data from our grants, St. David’s Foundation uses data for learning and evaluation within our own Mobile Dental Program. Evaluation is used to continuously improve our services and ultimately increase the impact we have on the community we serve. However, we struggle with many of the same challenges non-profits face concerning how to best incorporate ongoing evaluation. To learn more about the St. David’s Foundation Mobile Dental Program please visit our webpage.