The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results (Second Ed.): Book Review

FavoriteThe second edition of The Logic Model Guidebook: Better Strategies for Great Results is a straightforward guide, with excellent and varied examples, that achieves its purpose of giving readers a “basic understanding of how to create and use logic models” (p. xii). As enthusiastic champions of logic models, the authors adhere to the assumption that articulating precise and detailed logic models will lead to better results.

Assessing and Advancing Foundation Transparency: Corporate Foundations as a Case Study

FavoriteThis article explores the mix of forces, such as a six-drivers framework, a tool for assessing foundation transparency internationally, and implications for foundation practitioners follow, which explain variability in good-governance standards and practices by charitable foundations.  

Tactics in Philanthropy: The Case of the Moving Spotlight

FavoriteIn philanthropy, tactics are about choices of style and method in making grants or loans. They can be as significant in foundation program design and management as substantive strategic choices. The author describes the tactical pattern of “the Moving Spotlight.” He concludes that tactical principles can provide internal discipline for private foundations. Self-discipline deserves close and explicit attention from foundation trustees, managers, and staff because it is nearly the only kind available to them.

How Inclusion and Equity Are Transforming a Foundation and a Community

FavoriteThe Denver Foundation launched what is now known as the Inclusiveness Project in 2002 to help nonprofits, including funders, become more inclusive of people of color. The project operates on three levels: individual, organizational and sector. An extensive evaluation has shown that there are impacts at all levels, including increasing the number of people of color interested in careers in nonprofits, organizations incorporating inclusiveness in policies and practices, and greater awareness and attention to disparities on the part of the funding community.

Changemaking: Building Strategic Competence

FavoriteThis article reports initial lessons about the Skillman Foundation’s changemaking practice. The foundation built new strategic competencies that draws upon and leverages knowledge, networks, and civic reputation to supplement grantmaking investments. Ten lessons for foundations that want to assume a changemaking role are offered.

Evaluating the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund’s Social Determinants of Health Portfolio

FavoriteThe authors present an overview of the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund’s social determinants of health initiative and its theory of change. The fund is based at the Northwest Health Foundation. The authors introduce frameworks and methods used to conduct their evaluation. The fund reached multiple sectors and established new partners and relationships, but the lack of depth may limit opportunities to make a profound and measurable difference within any specic domain.

Strategies for Impacting Change in Communities of Color

FavoriteThe authors describe the work of the Cultures of Giving initiative funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation over a ve-year period. The goal of the initiative was to understand, develop, and support philanthropic giving within and among communities of color. Based on learning from evaluations, as the initiative progressed the theory of change was modied and new program components were added. Results suggest that leadership development is an important strategy. A community of practice around giving in communities of color was created, suggesting the potential for long-term impact.

Defining, Building, and Measuring Capacity: Findings From an Advocacy Evaluation

FavoriteThis article reports the results from Mathematica Policy Research’s evaluation of Consumer Voices for Coverage, a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the role of consumer health advocacy coalitions in 12 states. The authors propose that funders address three elements of coalition capacity: knowledge, infrastructure, and resources. Each requires different types of interventions.

Building the Capacity of California’s Safety Net: Lessons From the Strengthening Community Dental Practices Demonstration

FavoriteThe authors describe the results of a demonstration project funded by the California HealthCare Foundation and the California Pipeline Program. They assessed the effectiveness of practice-management consulting in helping California’s safety-net dental practices survive and thrive. The evaluation showed that most clinics made measurable improvements. Their experiences point to several factors that create an environment for success. A second phase of the project is being implemented that builds on lessons learned from the demonstration.

Bridging Silos, Improving Systems

FavoriteSystems that provide services to children tend to operate in silos; foundations can play a role in helping bridge these silos by supporting “systems building” efforts. This article explores the challenges and lessons learned in systems building work. Educating grantees and other community members about systems and systems building is a critical first step in the process. Supporting systems building requires an iterative process and foundations should continuously reinforce the importance of systems building activities.

Corporate Giving Gets Smarter: ConAgra Foods Foundation Fights Childhood Hunger

FavoriteThis article captures the work from the ConAgra Foods Foundation and grantee perspective. It describes emerging dynamics in corporate social responsibility that influence corporate giving and articulate relevant lessons for organizational performance. Ultimately, consumer awareness and community action across the country are key to progress on the issue of childhood hunger in America. Along the way, savvy corporate funders and their colleagues will get farther faster on complex social issues with the use of potent tools and processes.

Building the Capacity of Networks to Achieve Systems Change

FavoriteThis article describes the network-building strategy of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the role that network officers play in carrying out this strategy. The author then assesses whether this strategy adds value for networks and discusses a range of complications that the strategy introduces, especially with regard to the grantmaker-grantee relations. Assuming that the foundation can meet these challenges, this approach may turn out to be the most effective way for a foundation to assist networks in achieving their full potential.

Evaluation for Models and Adaptive Initiatives

FavoriteThe authors concentrate on how the nature of the intervention affects evaluation design. They outline a framework for selecting evaluation approaches for two types of grantmaking programs used to achieve far-reaching impact: models and adaptive initatives. Evaluation that is attuned to the transformations in models and adaptive initiatives will continue to help fuel these two powerful engines of social change.

Using Civic Engagement and Collaboration to Create Community Change: Lessons From Charlotte, N.C.

FavoriteThis article examines one community’s effort to use a large-scale civic engagement process to improve the health, safety, and education of children. The findings from this study illustrate important lessons for foundations that are funding and leading cross-sector collaborative efforts – lessons related to the importance of communication and transparency, the need for shared leadership, the limits to voluntary collaboration, and the need for a sustainable structure to maintain the commitment and effort over time.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Preliminary Findings From an Evidence-Based Practice Funding Initiative at The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

FavoriteThis article documents the Tower Foundation’s experience funding evidence-based practice (EBP) programs and its work to measure the success of these initiatives. After funding EBPs in five consecutive grant years, it was time to take stock and assess the drivers of program success and failure. Learning from these, the foundation may better understand the demands and expectations that they put on grantees. Looking forward, foundations can assist, as Tower did, with direct support of implementations. They can also do things to make communities more EBP ready and EBPs more generally viable and affordable.

Investigating the Roles of Community Foundations in the Establishment and Sustainability of Local College Access Networks in Michigan

FavoriteThis article uses the collective-impact model as a framework to examine the role of community foundations in the creation and establishment of local college access networks across the state of Michigan. The findings illustrate that community foundations have played a variety of roles, from fundraising to convening to cheerleading. The challenge for most communities is how to develop a plan for sustainability while allowing others to provide leadership for these evolving organizations for social change.

The Role of the Congregation in Community Service: A Philanthropic Case Study

FavoriteIn this article, an initial evaluation of the Family Leadership Initiative, part of the larger Gatherings of Hope Initiative, a collaboratively designed program to strengthen families and improve children’s education in Grand Rapids, Mich., shows high levels of satisfaction, with students reporting some academic improvements. For the congregations, FLI provided a rare opportunity to collaborate with each other.  

Philanthropy in the Faith Community: Mobilizing Faith-Based Organizations for Substance Use Prevention

FavoriteThis reflective practice article examines lessons learned from community-based substance abuse prevention efforts in the faith community and describes how those lessons will shape the work of the Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention Center. The article also introduces the Faith-Based Prevention Toolkit developed to help members of faith community implement and sustain substance abuse prevention activities in their congregations. The authors hope that other foundations will incorporate the lessons into their work in the faith community.

How Do I Work with My Family to Achieve High-Impact Philanthropy?

FavoritePhilanthropy offers an exciting opportunity to bring your loved ones together to support a common cause. However, getting the best possible results with your philanthropy and preserving the social bonds that are important to you can sometimes require trade-offs. The solution to this challenge lies in embracing the personal nature of philanthropy without letting things get too personal and emotional. Reading time 8 min.