The Ford Foundation commissioned an evaluation study of our BUILD initiative to improve our own practices and to share our learning with the broader field of philanthropy. Our external evaluation partner, NIRAS, is taking a developmental approach, which entails collecting quantitative and qualitative data, providing real time feedback for learning, and tracking both emerging issues and longitudinal impacts.
In the first phase of evaluation - February to October 2018 - the NIRAS team focused on familiarizing itself with the BUILD program in all its parts, and from all angles. The team engaged program staff and grantees in a participatory process that resulted in the refinement of BUILD’s 4 key learning questions:
- Does strengthening key institutions and networks advance (or consolidate past advances in) social justice? If so, how? In what context? What grantee characteristics matter most? Under what conditions?
- How has BUILD strengthened grantees?
- Did BUILD impact grantees’ roles in leading or taking part in networks in a way that strengthened those networks?
- Has BUILD been organized and implemented optimally so as to achieve the desired impacts?
In the second phase, the NIRAS team designed a qualitative case study approach to explore nuances of the program, while using quantitative methods such as surveys and grants management data, to surface some broader, cross-cutting lessons. The initial trend analysis report below describes the process and intended outcomes of this evaluation design.
In the third phase, the NIRAS team will conduct case studies and other analyses to round out the BUILD evaluation. We anticipate the first evaluative phase report and case studies will be completed in spring 2020.
Download the BUILD familiarization report (10-page summary or full version).