One of the Hartford Foundation’s key strategies is to promote evaluation practices that enable us to gauge progress in priority areas. To carry out this strategy, we regularly commission evaluations of major programs and strategic initiatives. This page hosts materials to increase transparency about organizational learning and progress. Evaluation Briefs summarize major evaluations and Learning Briefs share what we are learning about emerging issues. Where possible, we also post the complete evaluation reports and related data.
In addition, the Hartford Foundation provides resources to nonprofits to help build their evaluation capacity, through the Nonprofit Support Program. More about these resources, which include learning opportunities, communities of practice and grants for evaluation, can be found here.
Evaluations and Evaluation briefs
Evaluation briefs describe the goals of major programs and strategic initiatives, what we have learned through monitoring and evaluation, key conclusions and examples of impact. Questions about the reports and briefs can be directed to the Research and Evaluation Unit at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Funds evaluation will inform the ongoing implementation and development of the Greater Together Community Funds and assess the extent to which the Community Funds have fulfilled their purpose to support the community in taking ownership around the needs in their town, encourage broad and inclusive civic engagement, anchor the Hartford Foundation in each town.
This evaluation will document the first three years of the implementation of the Reentry Welcome Center (RWC) – including the identification of what is and what is not working well, assessment of the extent to which participant outcomes are achieved, generation of recommendations for areas that need improvement and ways to leverage promising practices.
Hartford Community Schools (HCS) comprise a cohort of seven schools located throughout the city of Hartford. Since 2009, the schools’ transformation has been the shared undertaking of the Hartford Partnership for Student Success (HPSS) to improve student outcomes in select schools. More information on the Hartford Community Schools is here. Community Schools receive annual comprehensive evaluations, posted below.
The Foundation's education team worked with consultants from the Center for Policy and Assessment Development (CAPD) to develop outcomes that to monitor and report on progress. This evaluation focused on better understanding whether the approaches the Foundation is using are effective in helping our community partners ensure positive outcomes for our region's children and families. More on the education strategy can be found here.
In 2015, the Hartford Foundation provided support to nine collaborative efforts designed to develop viable career pathways for low-literacy and/or low-skilled adults. More information on the Career Pathways Initiative is here. A developmental evaluation of the initiative is currently underway.
Unrestricted dollars support a nonprofit’s mission as a whole. The Hartford Foundation’s General Operating Support (GOS) grants help nonprofits enhance their infrastructure, respond to the needs of the community, take greater risks, and create more innovative programming.
- Evaluation brief for General Operating Support
- Full General Operating Support evaluation, 2016
- General Operating Support evaluation executive summary, 2016
- Phase I Evaluation Report: Introduction of General Operating Support Grants, 2014
- Foundation Review article describing experience with General Operating Support, 2017
Nonprofit agencies are essential partners in creating strong communities. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving fosters organizational development by providing a range of capacity building services to more than 200 nonprofits in Greater Hartford through the Nonprofit Support Program (NSP). As part of its commitment to continuous learning and improvement, the Nonprofit Support Program undergoes regular independent evaluations.
In 2016, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving launched the Small Agency Program with multiple components: capacity building, grant support, and convening for capacity-building organizations and representatives from small agencies. The Foundation contracted with Cross Sector Consulting to evaluate the Small Agency Program, which focused on documenting and assessing program services, implementation accomplishments and challenges, early program outcomes, and lessons learned about supporting small agencies.
- Small Agency Program - Final Evaluation Report
- Small Agency Program - Appendix A - Data Tables
- Small Agency Program - Appendix B - Building on Success Products
- Small Agency Program - Appendix C - Small Grants and Community Partners Products
- Small Agency Program - Appendix D - Small Agency Program Participants
In December 2017, the Hartford Foundation awarded two-year grants to five agencies to participate in a Capital Region Early Childhood Collaboratives Network created to improve the school readiness and school success of young children birth to eight. The Network is intended to develop a regional early childhood blueprint, outline a plan of action for stakeholders, policymakers, and advocates, share in data collection and analysis activities, and increase the connection between the Network and CT Office of Early Childhood.
An evaluation of the Network conducted Victoria Dougherty Consulting is currently underway. The evaluation focuses on articulating realistic collective and individual outcomes in Network- and collaborative-level theories of change, assess the strength of the Network and progress toward its goals, assess how participation in the Network benefits the local work of collaboratives (e.g. engagement in early childhood practices, progress toward anticipated outcomes), and capture best practices and approaches in this effort.
Learning briefs provide data, strategies and examples of impact for specific issue areas. Briefs are shared with donors, nonprofits and staff to foster learning and information sharing about emerging issues.