Building and Supporting Sustainable Fields: Views from Philanthropy

FavoriteThis paper defines a field, provides examples of how funders build fields, lists the elements of a strong field, and discusses effective donor practices to promote sustainable fields.  The paper concludes with questions that can help to assess field strengths and needs, and a discussion of the best time to exit a field.

Two Decades in Investment in Substance-Use Prevention and Treatment

FavoriteThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) worked to reduce harm from alcohol and other drugs in the United States for over two decades—an investment of nearly $700 million. This retrospective analysis, part of the RWJF Retrospective Series, assesses RWJF’s investment, what was achieved through its efforts, and the strengths and challenges of the Foundation’s approach.

Social Impact Bonds: Analysis of a Mechanism for Financing Social Program Expansions

FavoriteA research team at McKinsey & Co. studied the potential of social impact bonds in the United States, in particular for financing the expansion of proven programs in homelessness and crime prevention. The team also created tools for stakeholders—investors, nonprofits, government agencies, and others—to help them determine whether SIBs are instruments they should consider.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships

FavoriteRobert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships provides matching grants for innovative community-based projects aimed at improving the health and health care of underserved and vulnerable populations. The premise underlying Local Funding Partnerships has remained constant over its 25 years—by collaborating with local funders instead of acting alone, RWJF could improve the health and health care of Americans, while getting a larger return on its investment.

Getting the Word Out: A Foundation Memoir and Personal Journey

FavoriteThis chapter is a personal reflection by Frank Karel on his years as vice president for communications of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He looks back on the early days, when the Foundation was groping to find an appropriate role for communications, and traces its evolution to the present. Long active in philanthropy, Karel helped many foundations consider how best to use the tools of communications.

Can Feedback Fuel Change at Foundations?: An Analysis of the Grantee Perception Report

FavoriteThis brief report presents key findings about Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Grantee Perception Reports over the years, and includes candid comments by RWJF’s leadership — CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and Vice President of Research and Evaluation, David Colby — as to how they’ve responded to some of those findings.

A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions

FavoriteRWJF commissioned FSG Social Impact Advisors to develop a guide for program officers, grant recipients, evaluators, researchers, and others interested in evaluation on how to engage stakeholders in developing evaluation questions. Since stakeholders are potential users of evaluation findings, their input into the scope of the evaluation is critical to ensuring the integrity and value of evaluation results. This guide provides the reader with a five-step process for involving stakeholders in developing evaluation questions, and includes a set of four worksheets to facilitate this process.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Approach to Evaluation

FavoriteThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has placed a high priority on program evaluation since its inception as a national philanthropy in 1972. It has developed a four-tiered system of evaluation that ranges from the evaluation of individual grants and clusters of grants to the qualitative assessments found in The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Anthology series.