The Research and Evaluation Unit supports the Foundation and Greater Hartford region by providing research to inform action on issues critical to the region and by promoting high-quality evaluation practices to:
- Gauge progress and assess outcomes of programs and initiatives;
- Inform the Foundation's priorities, strategies and operations;
- Cultivate learning with and among our staff, board, donors, grantees and partners.
Informed Decision-making and Strategy
We assist the Foundation with setting strategy and developing new programs and initiatives. Our approach includes reviewing Foundation learning from past and current evaluations, researching pressing needs facing our region and state, identifying existing strategies and best practices to address those needs and identifying the best role for philanthropy. We consult with the Foundation's issue area experts, local nonprofits, philanthropic and public sector partners as well as regional and national experts.
Research on Greater Hartford Region
The Foundation is committed to the availability of high-quality, impartial research and information about our region and state. We conduct, commission and share research that impacts our region. Our Metro Hartford Progress Points highlights key indicators and opportunities for the region to achieve economic vitality. We also support existing and new efforts to track conditions and trends that inform the Foundation's priorities and community solutions.
Research on Critical and Emerging Issues
We support and use research to inform action -- including public policy. Our research briefs examine issues and promising practices that impact and inform residents, nonprofits and philanthropy. We commission and support surveys to assess perceptions of key stakeholders and examine topic areas supported by our responsive and donor-advised grantmaking to learn whether and how Foundation grants are meeting the needs of our communities.
Coordination and Support for Evaluation
We collaborate with foundation staff and other key stakeholders to ensure coordination, relevance and usefulness of the Foundation's evaluation efforts and support opportunities to engage and share learning from research and evaluation with Foundation board, staff, grantees, donors and other partners. As the central hub for the Foundation's evaluations, we coordinate an organizational approach to developing evaluation contracts, including creating RFPs, selecting evaluators and synthesizing lessons learned. We serve as an in-house resource for foundation staff on program evaluation and research. We work with grantmaking staff to provide funds to nonprofits interested in impact evaluation and with development staff to curate information that can inform donor advisors. Our impact briefs share outcomes and learning from Foundation initiatives to promote transparency and continuous improvement.
Build Data and Evaluation Ecosystem
We work to promote a healthy data environment for the Greater Hartford region and state to ensure that philanthropy, nonprofits, residents and policymakers have tools to understand and determine how to allocate limited resources and address community challenges. Our commitment to strengthen civic engagement includes enhancing the capacities of residents, community groups and nonprofits and others to use and access high-quality data to learn about their communities in more depth.