As one of WNY’s largest foundations, we are acutely aware of the impact our decisions can have in our region. We want to ensure that our dollars are strengthening organizations and initiatives that support our mission of enhancing economic vitality and quality of life. A critical component of our work is how we evaluate our impact and that of our community partners with the aim of learning and improving.
Over the past year, we re-examined how we approach evaluation as an organization. Elizabeth McNamee, an evaluation expert formerly with the Robin Hood Foundation guided us in this endeavor, leading working sessions with both our Board and staff to ensure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to questions around why we value evaluation and more importantly how we plan to use it in a more intentional way.
We learned about best practices, benchmarked our current evaluation approach against peers, developed a Vision Statement with Core Principles and prioritized supporting projects. The time we spent together was incredibly productive. As a result, we discussed the need to document our progress to improve the level of transparency around reimagining evaluation and learning for the Foundation. The outputs from our working sessions are provided below.
- Reimagining Evaluation and Learning
- Evaluation in Philanthropy: Key Trends and Best Practices
- Oishei’s Evaluation Guide
Our community partners are integral to our work and through shared learning we hope to keep you well informed about our progress, while also providing you with the necessary knowledge to participate in future discussions on evaluation.