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Aspen Forum for Community Solutions

Portfolio Evaluation of Aspen Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund

Equal Measure is conducting a five-year portfolio evaluation of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF). The Fund supports cross-sector partnerships in 21 communities across the United States, with the goal of bringing 6.7 million young people back into education and the workforce. Opportunity Youth are defined as young people between the ages of 16 to 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor market. Equal Measure is evaluating the collective impact model as an effective strategy to build education and career pathways for Opportunity Youth; assessing the impact of OYIF’s learning community; and providing insights on the performance of the Aspen Forum and its intermediary, Jobs for the Future, to support continuous improvement of the initiative.

Career Advancement Academies

Evaluation of the Career Advancement Academy Initiative

Equal Measure is conducting an evaluation of a six-year demonstration project in California to assess the Career Advancement Academies’ (CAA) impact on student outcomes. Funded by the California Governor’s Career and Technical Education Initiative, the CAA program establishes pipelines to college and high-wage careers for low-income young adults.  The Career Advancement Academies are managed by the Career Ladders Project for the California Community Colleges. Findings from the evaluation will shape policy recommendations for continued state support and possible expansion of the CAA demonstration.

Citi Foundation

Evaluation of Pathways to Progress

Equal Measure is conducting a three-year portfolio evaluation of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a $50 million dollar commitment across 10 cities in the United States to help 100,000 low-income youth – ages 16 to 24 – develop the workplace and leadership practices which are necessary to compete in a 21st century economy. Through this investment in five national organizations, with well-established networks and affiliates, Pathways to Progress is focusing on four programmatic paths: entrepreneurship, service/leadership, summer jobs, and mentoring 2.0. Equal Measure is evaluating the influence of the Citi Foundation’s investment on youth development; on the design, implementation, and scaling of organizations’ programs; and on organizations and policy makers in the targeted program fields.

Executives' Alliance for Boys and Men of Color

RISE for Boys and Men of Color

Equal Measure is co-directing, with the University of Pennsylvania GSE, RISE (Research, Integration, Strategy and Evaluation) for Boys and Men of Color. The aim of this initiative is to identify and better understand the strategies that will ultimately improve life outcomes for boys and men of color in four key areas: education, health, criminal justice, and economic opportunity and workforce development. The work will identify best practices and opportunities for new research that can inform equitable policies, and ultimately create positive change in communities across the United States. RISE is supported by members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color, a national philanthropic network committed to evaluating promising approaches, advocating for effective public policy and systems change, and investing in young men of color. The Atlantic Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Marguerite Casey Foundation – members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunity for Boys and Men of Color – invested $8.5 million into this $10 million three-year field advancement initiative. Along with co-directing RISE, Equal Measure is providing an array of philanthropic services – including facilitating national learning community convenings, grantmaking, and grants management.

Goddard Riverside Community Center

Evaluation of the Options-NYCDOE Training Program of the Goddard Riverside Community Center

Equal Measure conducted a two-year evaluation of the Options-NYCDOE training program. In 2011, the NYCDOE entered into a relationship with Goddard Riverside, which houses the Options Center, to train 1,500 counselors – at least one from every high school in New York City – over three years. However, the size of the effort, the complexity of school change and the NYC environment, and the appropriately adaptable application of the training, offer unique challenges for targeting and identifying the impact of this work. During the three-phased evaluation, Equal Measure assessed the impact of Options-NYCDOE training in helping to strengthen the college-going culture and practices in New York City high schools.

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Designing a learning community for the field of evaluation

Equal Measure and Harder+Company have partnered with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to design and launch a learning community focused on building the capacity of small and mid-sized evaluation firms in sharing lessons, insights and tools with the broader evaluation field. Equal Measure is seeking to convene key practitioners and create a table of small- to mid-sized evaluation firms and foundations to discuss these issues, devise new strategies, and test those strategies through a facilitated process of creation and testing. Based on this work, Equal Measure will publish a framing paper to define key issues in evaluation for philanthropy and propose a formal process for strengthening the field.

The Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation

Development of Emergency Aid Toolkit

The Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (Great Lakes) has invested heavily in supporting postsecondary success for students of color, low-income students, and first generation students – helping them confront financial challenges and persist in their college studies. One component of Great Lakes’ strategy is to provide emergency aid to help students continue their studies despite unexpected expenses and emergencies. After conducting two rounds of grant making to establish emergency aid grant programs across four states, and providing technical assistance to the participating colleges, Great Lakes has engaged Equal Measure to produce a toolkit, with corresponding one-pagers, that will guide the implementation of processes that integrate financial aid practitioners’ subjective judgments of a students’ capability and potential into emergency aid program administration to more effectively serve students’ needs. During the three-phased engagement, Equal Measure will interview college administrators and frontline staff, conduct document reviews, host virtual focus groups with college stakeholders, and draft design principles – all to inform the development of the toolkit and one-page guides.

Helmsley Charitable Trust

Evaluation of Active Learning as a Means to Increase Graduates in STEM

Equal Measure is conducting a three-year evaluation of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s investment to enhance teaching practices and establish institutional incentives to increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) college graduates. Through this $1.1 million, mixed-methods evaluation, Equal Measure is assessing active learning networks in the Trust’s STEM portfolio. These networks include the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the Association of American Universities, California State University, the University of Washington, and Yale University, among other organizations and institutions. Equal Measure also is designing a dissemination strategy, in concert with the Trust, to share the key lessons from the portfolio with the field.

James Irvine Foundation

Linked Learning Regional Hubs

Equal Measure is an evaluation partner for the James Irvine Foundation’s Linked Learning Regional Hubs initiative. Linked Learning creates meaningful learning experiences in career-oriented pathways by focusing on rigorous academics, demanding technical curriculum, work-based learning, and personalized support for high school districts across California. Through supporting the development of Linked Learning Regional Hubs, the James Irvine Foundation is building a self-sustaining, regional-scale infrastructure in California to support the practice of Linked Learning. Through its developmental evaluation, Equal Measure is assessing the Foundation’s strategy to expand the principles of Linked Learning from district-scale to regional-scale by engaging post-secondary, workforce, and community partners.

James Irvine Foundation

Evaluation of the Worker Voice and Influence Initiative

Equal Measure and Engage R+D are conducting an evaluation of The James Irvine Foundation’s Worker Voice and Influence learning and assessment initiative (WVI). Following the Foundation’s new focus on expanding political and economic opportunity for California families and young adults who are working but struggling with poverty, the WVI initiative aims to help low-wage workers influence economic and political decisions that affect their lives and communities – and to foster partnerships that can lead to tangible gains for workers. Equal Measure and Engage R+D are serving as thought partners to the Foundation’s program team as it considers insights from its early work, and the implications of those insights for future initiative strategy. To address the Foundation’s learning questions pertaining to both organizing and policy, Equal Measure and Engage +D will develop a tool that Foundation staff can use to engage grantees, conduct site visits, synthesize existing research, and facilitate discussion and reflection sessions – all centered around a shared learning approach that is grounded in a participatory relationship with Irvine staff and participating grantees.

Lumina Foundation

Evaluation of Community Partnership for Attainment Strategy

Equal Measure is conducting a mixed-method evaluation of Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnerships for Attainment strategy. Seventy-five communities are partnering with Lumina and national thought leaders to establish postsecondary attainment goals and implement plans to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents. Equal Measure’s evaluation focuses on communities’ efforts to strengthen their cross-sector partnerships and increase the effectiveness of their attainment strategies, thereby increasing attainment rates within their communities. The evaluation will identify factors that help catalyze cross-sector partnerships to improve postsecondary outcomes, and elevate and share those lessons with communities and funders engaged in similar work. Findings also will help communities and technical assistance providers make mid-course adjustments, develop new strategies, and prioritize areas of work.

Northeast Resiliency Consortium

Evaluation of the Northeast Resiliency Consortium

Equal Measure is conducting a four-year implementation and outcomes evaluation of a federally funded jobs training program at seven community colleges in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  The Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC) model employs four core strategies that foster engagement among industry, community colleges, the workforce development system, major nonprofits, and other key stakeholders, and will ultimately improve the educational and employment outcomes of more than 3,400 trade-impacted workers (those who lost jobs or saw wages reduced due to foreign trade), veterans, and other low-skilled adults.  The NRC focuses on career pathways in the areas of health care, information technology, and environmental technologies, with an emphasis on: 1) Accelerating skill, competency, and credential acquisition; 2) Utilizing advanced technology to support student learning; 3) Engaging employers and strategic partners; and, 4) Providing comprehensive outreach, assessment, and student supports. In addition to providing formative feedback about the NRC’s implementation efforts, Equal Measure is examining five outcome areas: credit accumulation, retention, credential attainment, employment rates, and wage earnings.

Philadelphia Youth Network

Evaluation of Philadelphia Youth Network Role as Backbone Organization for Project U-Turn

Equal Measure is conducting a two-year developmental evaluation of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s (PYN) role as a backbone organization for Project U-Turn. Project U-Turn is a citywide campaign to understand, focus public attention on, and, most importantly, resolve Philadelphia’s dropout crisis. As a mature decade-old collective impact partnership that has been spotlighted nationally, regionally, and locally as an exemplar, the backbone functions that PYN has fulfilled have necessarily shifted – moving from tending to early partnership and infrastructure development, and setting Project U-Turn’s vision and processes, to helping partners fundamentally change the way that they work and the policies that support their success. In its evaluation, Equal Measure will conduct a variety of engagement and data collection activities, including interviews with several key PYN team members that “touch” Project U-Turn from different dimensions (leadership, management, front line work-group management, research, policy), community conversations, and collaborative analysis and action planning sessions.

Ralph C. Wilson Foundation

Learning and Evaluation Partnership with the Northwest New York Mentoring Collaborative

High quality mentoring relationships are proven to have a significant impact on the lives of young people. Responding to growing demand for mentoring opportunities across the northwest New York region, the Ralph C. Wilson and Niagara Foundations have launched the Mentoring Collaborative. The Mentoring Collaborative is a three-year investment that provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the capacity of mentoring organizations, and support innovative partnerships across mentoring providers in the region as a way to build quality and scale services. Equal Measure – serving as a learning and evaluation partner – aims to achieve this by bringing together nine mentoring organizations to form a learning community and develop shared goals. Working with these learning community goals, Equal Measure will create a highly engaging and meaningful peer learning environment that supports individual and collective capacity building, and helps participants co-develop a regional mentoring strategy.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming

Equal Measure is the National Program Office for New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming. New Connections seeks to diversify the perspectives that inform RWJF program strategy by introducing the Foundation to new researchers and consultants from underrepresented groups in health and healthcare research. The program also supports the career trajectories of a broad network of diverse scholars working in health policy, health care, and social sciences (and related disciplines). New Connections awarded its first grants in 2006, and since that time has funded a diverse group of more than 150 early and mid-career researchers. Additionally, the network of diverse scholars who have taken advantage of New Connections’ mentoring and networking opportunities currently stands at over 900 underrepresented researchers. These scholars served as grantees or are from racial ethnic/minority groups and low-income communities, or are the first in their family to graduate from two- or four-year colleges.

StriveTogether

National Evaluation of “Cradle to Career” Civic Partnerships

Equal Measure is conducting a mixed-method evaluation of the Strive Network.  Strive aims to improve educational outcomes for children, in nearly 100 communities, through developing “cradle to career” collective impact partnerships that build civic infrastructure.  Equal Measure is assessing the relationship between communities’ civic infrastructure and student and community outcomes, and examining strategies that contribute to successful civic infrastructure development.  Equal Measure also is exploring how partners – including education institutions, community based organizations, funders, and policy-makers – have shifted their practices and policies to support cradle to career success.  Equal Measure recently concluded an evaluation of Strive’s collective impact in the Greater Cincinnati region (Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky).

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Evaluation of Family Economic Security Workforce Development Pilots

Equal Measure is conducting formative and summative evaluations for two of the Kellogg Foundation’s Family Economic Security grants, which support organizations that work to increase a family’s assets, employment opportunities, and access to resources.  The two Family Economic Security Workforce Development Pilots (STEPS and MOVE-UP) support community-based and workforce development organizations working to help families gain and grow skills and knowledge, along with access to networks and pathways that lead to employment and success in higher-skilled, higher-paying careers. Equal Measure’s evaluation of the Family Economic Security Workforce Development Pilots is focused on conducting a national cross-site evaluation, which will help build grantee capacity, strengthen impact, and strengthen field level knowledge. By elevating lessons learned and promising approaches, the evaluation also will help others working in the Family Economic Security field adopt these best practices, influencing a national dialogue about innovative and impactful strategies that help families and their children achieve economic stability and success.

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