Evaluation and Learning

How we’ll measure success

Understanding the progress and outcomes of investment is critical. We want to identify what’s working and where opportunities exist to help us better achieve our goals.

We use the following ideals to guide our evaluation approach:

Be Community Focused

We support innovative solutions and community-driven interventions, which isn’t a traditional approach. Because of this, we:

  • Provide technical support where we can to help grantees plan and meet goals
  • Work to make evaluation and learning as easy as possible for grantees
  • Strive to be learning partners with grantees and the community

Be Equity-Driven

We work hard to make equitable evaluation principles part of our approach. To do that we:

  • Design evaluation and learning in partnership with grantees
  • Recognize and value stories as evidence
  • Monitor our own equity practices in funding, support, capacity building, and more

Have Meaningful Impact

Our investments only matter if they’re meaningful. Our evaluation and learning process is a tool to help us:

  • Support communities in evaluating what matters to those in the work, valuing both small and large-scale differences to community
  • Ensure evaluation and learning methods help grantees see their progress and their opportunities for greater impact
  • Promote ways to use grantee-driven evidence for Foundation decision making and improvements

Our approach to Evaluation and Learning is not prescriptive

We don’t require a specific set of evaluation methodologies, metrics, or tools. Instead, we work with grantees to ensure progress and results are measured in ways that align with their proposed work; provide evidence useful for learning and improving efforts; and deliver results and insights that can be shared back with the Denver community to increase understanding and inform future strategy in the field.

With this in mind, we ask grantees to:

  • Have a clear path in mind of what you plan to implement and why/how you expect it will make a difference
  • Show a link in the evaluation plan to one or more community-determined impact goals provided in the Call for Proposal
  • Propose evaluation that matches your organizational capacity and interest
  • Help us promote, and speak to progress on, the Foundation’s values through evaluation
  • Commit to being a learning partner with us

We know time is valuable and implementing work is the priority. We do our best to make sure evaluation and learning is useful for grantees and focused on putting grantee work at the center. Grantees are only required to participate in two Foundation level evaluation activities each year. Each activity builds on the individual grant evaluation they chose to put into place:

  • Yearly Progress Report
  • Learning Check Ins

Additionally, we anticipate two other ways we may ask grantees to participate in evaluation:

  • Foundation Feedback
  • Learning Cohorts

For more information and details about our approach to Evaluation and Learning, download this overview or contact Director of Evaluation and Learning, Rebecca Ochtera at rebecca@caring4denver.org or by phone at 720.647.6378.

From grant opportunities to community listening sessions to sharing your stories of impact, let’s find a way to collaborate.

Rebecca Ochtera, Director of Evaluation and Learning
Sydney Chavez, Evaluation & Learning Associate
Haley Sammen, Evaluation & Learning Associate

our team