Back to top

Are Philly-area nonprofits really making a difference? Foundations put up $3 million to find out

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Via The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Harold Brubaker | @InqBrubaker |

Foundations are notorious for demanding that nonprofits document how donations and grants lead to tangible change in the communities they serve, but traditionally they haven’t wanted their money to be used for such monitoring and evaluation.

A $3 million partnership announced Tuesday in Center City aims to help accelerate a shift away from that old model by training Philadelphia-area nonprofits to improve their ability to evaluate what they do and measure the results by using data — skills that are sorely lacking at many small nonprofits.

“It’s encouraging that foundations are putting their money where their mouths are and being true partners when it comes to program evaluation,” said Justin Ennis, executive director of After School Activities Partnerships, which organizes chess, debate, drama, and Scrabble clubs for Philadelphia youths.

The move to measure impact is critical for the Philadelphia region, where tens of millions of dollars are poured every year into nonprofits that seek to improve the lives of area residents.

The new partnership, RISE (Readiness, Implementation, Sustainability for Effectiveness), builds on similar efforts by Philadelphia’s Scattergood Foundation and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, of New York, and has the backing of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey and other local foundations.

For the most intensive level of training, RISE will select 15 nonprofits that serve youth and provide the organizations two years of consulting, training, technical assistance, and other support. The program also has a lower tier that will include group training and a small amount of individual consulting to as many as 50 organizations over three years.

The consultants are from the Consultation Center at Yale, which is part of the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Conn.  >> CONTINUE READING >>