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publications

We're committed to sharing what we learn alongside our clients.

The reports, briefs, and tools we produce for our clients and our community are part of our effort to share what we know. The insight we’ve gleaned comes from rigorous and inclusive processes for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data, as well as deep partnership with our clients and their communities.
Data Ethics Guidebook

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation invited Informing Change to partner with them in the development of an updated Data Ethics Guidebook. In doing so, we considered the evolving ecosystem of values, players, and circumstances in which evaluation is now happening in philanthropy. While appreciating the insights evaluation work can yield, we acknowledge the ways evaluation can do harm. First, this Guidebook establishes baseline practices for reducing the risk of causing harm through unethical approaches. It also offers more equity-oriented,… Learn more

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Data Ethics Toolkit

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation invited Informing Change to partner with them in the development of an updated Data Ethics Guidebook. In doing so, we considered the evolving ecosystem of values, players, and circumstances in which evaluation is now happening in philanthropy. In addition to the Guidebook, we developed a companion Data Ethics Toolkit to allow the reader to capture insights and create feedback loops within your team and community. The Toolkit contains Stories from the Field to illustrate… Learn more

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Specialty Camps Incubator: An Enduring Legacy for Campers & The Field of Jewish Camp

In 2008, the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) set out to answer a question: How could the field of Jewish camp attract and retain more teen campers? What if, posited FJC, new Jewish camps offering teen programs that dove deep into a specialty area could attract new campers and simultaneously increase the capacity of the Jewish camp field? After researching this concept, FJC believed a new specialty camp model had potential to connect with a new market of Jewish campers… Learn more

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The 2021 Reproductive Justice Impact Evaluation Executive Summary

Eighty reproductive or birth justice organizations supported by Groundswell Fund or via one of its grantmaking partners reflected on their work, progress made, and challenges encountered in 2021. They described the headwinds and tailwinds they faced, the allies they worked with, and their strategies. Collectively, these organizations have programs in 49 of 50 states (all except West Virginia), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Reproductive and Birth Justice Movements work intersectionally to secure changes… Learn more

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How Community-Government Partnerships Advance Equitable Housing Policies

Managed by the San Francisco Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Partnership for the Bay’s Future (PBF) is an innovative and collaborative effort of philanthropic, private, nonprofit, and public sectors using racial and economic equity as the guiding influence to ensure the Bay Area is a place where everyone can live in vibrant, inclusive communities of racial and economic diversity. PBF aims to achieve this goal by addressing the interconnected challenges of housing, transportation and economic inclusion. Starting with… Learn more

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Creative Partners: How Intermediaries Support Artistic & Cultural Vibrancy

During 2020-2021, we collaborated with Open Mind Consulting to undertake a study commissioned by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Performing Arts Program to help the Foundation better understand what has been accomplished and who benefits from the funds and services provided by intermediary partners of the Program and how these partners have adapted to external, contextual shifts, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Intermediary partners are organizations that receive funding from the Hewlett Foundation which in turn is directly distributed to… Learn more

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The Achievable Health Center: A Case Study

The Achievable Health Center opened in 2013 in Culver City, California, as an innovative, licensed health center with a unique model of care, serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Health Center was created out of the founders’ understanding of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their needs, the recognition of the harms done by the absence of this understanding in other health care settings, and the determination to create a wraparound environment that… Learn more

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Looking Back at Seven Years of the Denver Boulder Jewish Teen Initiative

The Denver Boulder Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative (the Initiative) began in 2014 with a partnership between Rose Community Foundation and Jim Joseph Foundation to fund grantees selected to be the drivers of change in the Jewish teen landscape through their teen-led programming and strong adult-teen relationships. The Initiative partnered with us as the external evaluator for Phase I of the Initiative (2014–17). We conducted a mixed-method evaluation, consisting of surveys and interviews of stakeholder groups, including teens, parents,… Learn more

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Case Studies in Distributed Leadership

We, in partnership with Open Mind Consulting and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, researched seven organizations to learn about how they share, collaborate on, and distribute leadership. Looking through the lens of decision making, we discovered that even among this small sample, the ways of distributing power, authority, and responsibility are myriad. Whether rotating leadership positions, leadership teams, or a practice of distributing leadership that transcends the entire organization, each organization approached sharing leadership from different angles. To understand this variation, we’ve… Learn more

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Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Initiative Evaluation: Phase 3 Report (2017–18)

Informing Change has served as the local learning partner for five of ten Jewish Teen Initiatives in cities across the United States (Atlanta, Boston, Denver/Boulder, Los Angeles, and San Diego). These initiatives, supported by the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, constitute a series of experiments in developing and scaling innovative approaches to engaging Jewish teens. This document—Informing Change’s evaluation report for the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston—focuses on our research during the initiative’s third year (2017–18), while… Learn more

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Moishe House: 2018 Evaluation Findings

Moishe House supports over 60,000 young adults around the world in creating meaningful Jewish communities for their peers. As an organization deeply committed to ongoing learning and development, Moishe House leadership engages in in-depth evaluation of their flagship program every three years to understand the program’s overall impact and opportunities to better meet the needs and interests of their constituents. Moishe House engaged Informing Change for a second time in 2018 to evaluate their flagship programs—Moishe House and Moishe House… Learn more

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Oakland Leaf’s 2019–25 Strategic Plan

In 2017, we collaborated on a strategic planning and theory of change process with the nonprofit Oakland Leaf, which provides quality outside-of-school programming for underserved youth with an emphasis on art, wellness, leadership, literacy, and STEM. Informed by a landscape scan of similar organizations, rapid feedback interviews with an array of stakeholders, and a series of interactive and exploratory sessions with board and staff members, Informing Change produced a strategic plan to guide the organization’s direction and decision-making over the… Learn more

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An Evaluation of Youth Outside’s Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI)

Youth Outside strives to ensure that the lived experiences of all youth are honored as part of the outdoor experience. In service of this goal, in 2012 Youth Outside began OEI as a development program to empower young adults (ages 18–24) from underrepresented communities to become outdoor leaders, and to foster greater inclusion and culturally relevant leadership within the outdoor education, recreation, and environmental field. Our evaluation of OEI explored its impact on equity in outdoor leadership and employment, and… Learn more

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A Guide to Organizational Capacity Assessment Tools

There are dozens of organizational capacity assessment tools. How do you determine which one is right for your organization? We partnered with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group to scan the landscape of organizational capacity assessment tools and gather insights from organizational capacity professionals about the best ways to use them. A few things we learned: Adaptation is the norm.  No one tool is perfect, and adaptation helps ensure that people completing the tool understand its terminology… Learn more

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Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department Year-End Report 2016–17

In 2016, Santa Clara County’s Behavioral Health Services Department (SCC BHSD) hired Informing Change to evaluate their School Linked Services initiative, currently implemented in 13 school districts. This initiative places at least one coordinator in each district to serve as the point of contact for students and families seeking referrals for wraparound services relating to behavioral and mental health, academic support, housing, food, immigration, and more. Ultimately, SCC BHSD wants to know how students receiving SLS are being impacted by… Learn more

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Movement Arts for Peaceful, Powerful, & Creative Young People: A Study of Artists-at-School Residency at Havenscourt

Destiny Arts Center provides creative development to young people based in movement arts, including but not limited to dance, martial arts, and other performance or movement-based art forms—both in and out of school time—throughout the Bay Area. In 2016, Destiny Arts Center partnered with Informing Change to develop a theory of change which outlines Destiny Arts Center’s target constituents, strategies, and anticipated short- and long-term outcomes as results of those strategies. We used an evaluation of  Destiny Arts Center’s Artists-at-School Residency program at… Learn more

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The Hard Work Behind the Magic of Camp: Results & Learnings from the FJC Specialty Camps Incubator II 

Building on the success of its first pilot cohort, the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) Specialty Camps Incubator II supported four new Jewish specialty camps in moving from merely ideas to actual, functioning camps. Funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation, the Incubator supported these camps based on the premise that combining Jewish camp values with specialty programs could draw more young people into the world of Jewish camp. To continue to test and refine this premise,… Learn more

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Expanded Learning for California’s Children

Over the course of its seven-year investment in improving after-school and summer learning programs (also known as expanded learning programs) for California’s K–12 students, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation invested in three linked strategies: creating models of high quality summer learning programs, cultivating a statewide network of technical assistance (TA) for expanded learning, and engaging stakeholders to champion expanded learning in local and statewide policy. Throughout this investment, Informing Change worked with the Foundation to understand how this theory of… Learn more

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Top-Level Learnings from a Seven-Year Investment in After-school and Summer Learning

This executive summary shares top level findings from our final evaluation report of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s seven-year investment in expanded learning. Using three linked strategies—creating models of high quality summer learning programs, cultivating a statewide network of technical assistance (TA) for expanded learning, and engaging stakeholders to champion expanded learning in local and statewide policy—the Foundation made significant progress in raising awareness for summer learning loss, advocating for solutions through summer learning, cultivating a network of support for summer… Learn more

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Building a Data-Driven Culture: The Heartbeat of Value-Based Care

In this case study, we draw upon our evaluation findings from the Safety Net Analytics Program (SNAP) to explore how safety net healthcare organizations can successfully create and sustain data-driven cultures. The work of gaining staff buy-in—let alone training staff in different aspects of data analytics—building data infrastructure and using data to make decisions often happens in fits and starts and requires ongoing support and strategy from all levels of the organization. We share examples from SNAP participants and surface… Learn more

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