Evaluation and Learning

We partner with grantees to drive insights, adaptation,
and meaningful accountability in philanthropy.

Addressing Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs is a complex task; there is no one right answer. Because the solutions are diverse and evolving, we use evaluation with emergent learning to guide decision-making and strategy.   

Thumbnail of Caring for Denver's Evaluation Touchpoints guide.

Evaluation & Learning Touchpoints
A guide and resources for Caring for Denver grantee partners.

Partnering for Trust and Transparency

Living Project Frameworks

Built collaboratively as a learning tool, the project framework outlines grant strategies, intended outcomes, and the types of evidence a grantee already has or plans to collect to assess their work. The framework helps grantees and program officers compare what was intended to happen each year with what is actually happening, as a way to learn from progress and adapt when needed.

Individualized Metrics & Shared Impact Plan

Each grantee works in partnership with their program officer and an evaluation and learning associate to identify their unique measures for reporting using the Foundation’s Shared Impact Plan as the guide. It supports grantees in measuring what is meaningful to their work and helps keep reporting right-sized to the organization’s capabilities and resources. It also promotes “practice-based evidence” and supports the validity of community expertise and insights within the broader evaluation field.

Oral Reporting

An emergent learning-based conversation, our form of oral reporting, takes place at the end of each grant year. Grantees and program officers review reported data together, share insights related to grant progress, and collaboratively work on grant adaptations when needed. The evaluation team also captures information from these calls to track emerging insights and facilitate learning related to grantmaking.


Rapid Cycle Learning Debriefs & Written Briefs

We use grantee-provided data, both quantitative and qualitative, as part of our internal learning strategy to plan future funding opportunities and refine organizational operations. Additionally, we share key insights back with the community through rapid cycle learning briefs to ensure transparency in how learning is shaping our work and to help inform broader thinking and change beyond our doors.

Tailored Evaluation Support

Grantees are partnered with an evaluation and learning associate they can connect with at any point during the year for support and guidance. Our goal is to help build grantee capacity for meaningful evaluation and recognize not all grantees have the same opportunities or resources for evaluation. These partnerships also help identify strengths, concerns, and needs related to evaluation so the Foundation can continually improve the evaluation and learning approach and offer the right types of supports.

Learning Partnership Compensation

Our model puts community partnership and collaborative learning at the center of evaluation, and we find it drives higher quality, greater accuracy, and more meaningful data. Learning partnership compensation dollars are added to each grant to acknowledge the time and expertise organizations invest in working with us. This compensation honors the intellectual and emotional labor grantees invest in evaluation and learning, and the immense value their insights bring to the foundation and community.

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