The Foellinger Foundation has been helping Allen County, Indiana citizens for over 60 years. Operating mainly through grants to non-profit organizations, the foundation has long tried to foster a theme of greater independence for their beneficiaries. Over the years, however, the foundation has found it difficult to measure that transition and has found it necessary to implement a new evaluation process.
Cheryl Taylor explains how the new evaluation process works in this article from Exponent Philanthropy:
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.
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.