Strategic Learning and Evaluation

The Hartford Foundation's Strategic Learning and Evaluation activities inform action on our Outcome Areas, so that we can achieve greater progress toward our efforts to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility in Greater Hartford's Black and Latinx communities.

Our Goals

  • Strengthen the regional data, research and evaluation ecosystem
  • Improve the region’s actionable data that allows for disaggregation and analysis by geography, income and race/ethnicity
  • Improve data sharing and integration in Hartford and our 29-town region
  • Improve cultural responsiveness and equity in evaluation and learning practice

Our Outcome Areas: Sharing What We've Learned

We have identified five outcome areas for our work using research, evaluation and feedback from our partners. As our work in these areas progresses, we are committed to supporting, commissioning and contributing to evaluation and research projects and sharing what we learn with the community through various means, including this webpage.

Higher Opportunity Neighborhoods

Higher Opportunity Neighborhoods

The Hartford Foundation seeks to increase the number of Hartford residents living in higher opportunity neighborhoods.

Hartford Land Bank: Assessment of Market Conditions and Trends in the City of Hartford 

Description: The purpose of this report is to describe neighborhood market conditions and trends in Hartford, to enable the city and other stakeholders to use this information as a critical tool to inform and develop equitable, efficient and effective strategies to address disinvestment and decline in neighborhoods and build stronger housing markets throughout the city. This report was prepared for the Hartford Land Bank by the Center for Community Progress, and funded by Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Year: 2019

View the Report: Hartford Land Bank: Assessment of Market Conditions and Trends in the City of Hartford

Blight Remediation: Learning Brief 

Description: This brief describes the issue of blight in Greater Hartford and some of the promising strategies that the Hartford Foundation and others have employed to address blight. 

Year: 2018

View the Report: Blight Remediation Learning Brief

Building Corridors of Opportunity: Best Practices for Engaging Anchor Institutions and Neighborhoods 

Description: This report, based on national best practices, recommends strategies to advance a transit oriented development vision along the CTFastTrak corridor and create an ongoing, mutually-beneficial partnership among anchor institutions, govenments and communities. The report was prepared for the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) with financial support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. 

Year: 2016

View the Report: Building Corridors of Opportunity

Connecticut Knowledge Corridor Growth Business Study Report 

Description: A study to identify companies in the region at all growth levels, including high-growth firms, companies experiencing slower sustained growth over time, and those firms not growing, but which may have the potential for growth in the future.

Year: 2015

View the report: Connecticut Knowledge Corridor Growth Business Study

Blue Hills Feasibility Study 

Description: A feasibility study and implementation plan for housing rehabilitation initiative in Blue Hills, a neighborhood in the northwest section of Hartford. The purpose of this study is to determine if development opportunities are possible, practical and viable in the Blue Hills neighborhood. 

Year: 2013

View the Report: Blue Hills Feasibility Study

Needs Assessment of Resources for Women and People of Color to Start and Grow Successful Small Businesses and Enterprises: Close-out Report 

Description: The structures and systems that create and exacerbate inequities in quality of life outcomes, are multifaceted, pervasive and deeply tethered to race. As part of our effort to address persistent disparities, structural racism and disinvestment, the Hartford Foundation commissioned an assessment of needs and supports for women and people of color, to address questions such as:

  • Which financial and other types of resources do women and people of color access when starting or growing their businesses?
  • What are the barriers and gaps in resources/services that hinder women and people of color from starting or growing their businesses?
  • What are the potential sources of capital in the Greater Hartford region for women and people of color?
  • What are the barriers to accessing these potential sources of capital in the Greater Hartford?

Year: 2021

View the Report: 

Needs Assessment of Resources for Women and People of Color to Start and Grow Successful Small Businesses and Enterprises: Close-out Report

Career Pathways Initiative: Evaluation 

Description: In January 2016, the Hartford Foundation launched the Career Pathways Initiative to increase the employment of residents of the Greater Hartford region with limited literacy and job skills who historically lacked access to career services and opportunities for advancement. In particular, the Foundation sought to steer these residents into the region’s middleskill jobs – those requiring education and training beyond high school but less than a four-year college degree – that consistently went unfilled because of a shortage of qualified candidates. Below are links to emerging findings from the first two years, as well as a final evaluation report. 

Year: 2016-2020

View the Reports:

Career Pathways Initiative: Evaluation Brief

Year 1: Emerging Evaluation Findings

Year 2: Emerging Evaluation Findings

Evaluation of the Career Pathways Initiative: Final Report (2020)

Evaluation of the Career Pathways Initiative: Final Report Executive Summary (2020)

Greater Hartford Reentry Welcome Center: Evaluation 

Description: The Greater Hartford Reentry Welcome Center officially opened its doors on September 17, 2018. This is a series of reports for a three-year formative evaluation comprising process and outcome findings. Its purpose is to identify what is and what is not working well and to provide strategic recommendations for areas needing improvement and to leverage emergent promising practices. The reports were created for Community Partners in Action by Diamond Research Consulting, with funding from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Year: 2017-2019

View the Reports: 

Greater Hartford Reentry Welcome Center: Year 1 Evaluation (Sept 2019) 

Greater Hartford Reentry Welcome Center: Year 1 Evaluation Summary

Greater Hartford Reentry Welcome Center: 2017 Plan

Scholarships, Supports, and Student Success: A Review of the Literature 

Description: The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving commissioned researchers at Trinity College to review the existing scholarly and field-based literature on the themes of college scholarships and postsecondary student success. The research team sought to answer three primary questions:

  1. How can Foundation scholarships be designed to increase access, persistence and completion in college?
  2. What supports can be tied to scholarships to increase access, persistence and completion?
  3. How can Foundation scholarships best help students from underrepresented backgrounds access, persist in and complete college?

Year: 2019

View the Report: 

Scholarships, Supports, and Student Success: A Review of the Literature

Scholarships, Supports, and Student Success: Executive Summary

Scholarships and College Access: Learning Brief 

Description: This Learning Brief explains why college scholarships are important and what strategies can be used to ensure college access. It also lists some of the investments that the Hartford Foundation has made.  

Year: 2018

View the Report: Scholarships and College Access: Learning Brief

Hartford Community Schools: 10-Year Retrospective Study, 2009-2019 

Description: Hartford Community Schools 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 to improve student outcomes in select schools. Community Schools receive annual comprehensive evaluations, posted below. The 10-Year Retrospective Study examines outcomes in the seven schools from the 2009–2010 to 2018–2019 school years.

Year: 2009-2019

View the Report: 

Hartford Community Schools: A 10-Year Retrospective Study

Retrospective Study: Info Sheet

Full 2016-2017 evaluation

Full 2015-2016 evaluation

Evaluation Brief: 2015- 2016 school year

Full 2014-2015 evaluation

Full 2013-2014 evaluation

Full 2009–2011 evaluation

Education Strategy: An Initial Assessment of Progress in Partnership and System Development 

Description: The Foundation's education team worked with consultants from the Center for Policy and Assessment Development to develop outcomes 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.

Year: 2017

View the Report: 

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving's Education Strategy: An Initial Assessment of Progress in Partnership and System Development (2016)

Final Assessment: 2016 through mid-2017

Education Strategy: Evaluation Brief

Improving and Expanding Hartford's Project Choice Program 

Description: Research on ‘Project Choice,’ an integral part of the State of Connecticut’s response to the 1996 Sheff v. O’Neill school decision.

Year: 2007

View the Report: Improving and Expanding Hartford's Project Choice Program

Basic Human Needs

Basic Human Needs

Our Foundation supports basic human needs in our region, applying an equity lens to the systems and programs that address food and housing, physical and mental health and the digital divide.

Chronic Absenteeism: A Research Review 

Description: In April 2020, the Hartford Foundation contracted with the Collaborative for Educational Services to conduct a research review in support of its efforts to combat chronic school absenteeism in the Greater Hartford area. This report shares some of the findings, including key factors that keep young people out of school, examples of successful interventions, how grantmaking can support educational engagement and more.

Year: 2020

View the Report: Chronic Absenteeism: A Research Review

Opioid Abuse and Mental Health: Learning Brief 

Description: Connecticut has the 5th highest rate of opioid-related emergency department visits in the country. This Learning Brief offers a snapshot of the region and best practices that could help address the issue.

Year: 2018

View the Report: Opioid Abuse and Mental Health Learning Brief

Impact of Hurricane Maria Displacement on Greater Hartford: Report 

Description: On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico as a category 4 cyclone. The devastation caused by the hurricane, and the insufficient response from government authorities resulted in, among other things, a massive out flow of residents to destinations in the United States, including Connecticut. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving supported a survey through the University of Connecticut’s El Instituto: Institute for Latina/o Caribbean and Latin American Studies and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College to better understand the long-term impact of displacement on the Greater Hartford region. By sponsoring this survey, the Hartford Foundation contributed to fill the void in information, and in doing so, allowed for the planning and the contingency preparations of local nonprofit organizations, municipalities and schools.

Year: 2018

View the Report: 

Storm Surge: Report on Impact of Post-Maria Displacements on Greater Hartford

Storm Surge: Executive Summary

Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture

Our Foundation seeks to support arts and culture in our region, with a focus on expanding opportunities for people of color, who are underrepresented in Greater Hartford's art workforce.

Arts Landscape Study

Description: This comprehensive study conducted by TDC and DataArts sought to identify key challenges and opportunities for Greater Hartford arts and cultural organizations. It provides demographic and funding data on arts and cultural organizations in the Hartford region. This effort also included a workforce survey of local organizations in the field. Both the Hartford Foundation and the Connecticut Office of the Arts will use the results of this study to inform additional grant making and support strategies.

Year: 2019

View the Report: Greater Hartford Arts Landscape Study

Civic and Resident Engagement

Civic and Resident Engagement

Our Foundation supports civic and resident engagement in our region by resourcing resident-led advocacy and organizing efforts and inclusive civic processes.

Greater Together Community Funds: Evaluation 

Description: The Greater Together Community Funds were created to support the community in taking ownership around the needs in their town, encourage broad and inclusive civic engagement and anchor the Hartford Foundation in each of the 29 towns in our service region.

The Community Funds evaluation will inform the ongoing implementation and development of the Funds and assess the extent to which the Funds have fulfilled their purpose. This report addresses topics such as how to identify need in a community, establishing inclusive grantmaking policies, building shared power between funder and residents, and more. 

Year: 2020

View the Report:

Greater Together Community Funds: Year One Report

Year One Report: Mango Metaphor Poster

Greater Together Community Funds: Evaluation Summary

Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index 

Description: The DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey (DCWS), believed to be the largest of its type in the United States, produces reliable data about life satisfaction, physical and mental health, neighborhood conditions, economic opportunity and civic engagement at the local level. The survey collected and analyzed more than 100 sources of national, state and local data, supplemented by interviews with tens of thousands of randomly-selected adults statewide, including 7,000 representative adults in the Greater Hartford area. The Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index 2019 includes information from the survey and insights into the wellbeing of residents in our community. 

Results from the 2015 and 2018 surveys can be found here.

Year: 2019

View the Report: Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index 2019

More Learning and Evaluations

More Evaluations and other learning projects

In addition to our outcome areas, we support, commission and conduct research and evaluations on a number of other topics relevant to Greater Hartford.

Early Childhood

Early Childhood Trauma: Learning Brief 

Description: This brief describes some of the effects of early childhood trauma and offers some promising strategies that the Hartford Foundation and others have employed to address early childhood trauma. 

Year: 2018

View the Report: Early Childhood Trauma Learning Brief 2018

Capital Region Early Childhood Collaboratives Network: Evaluation 

Description: 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.

This evaluation focuses on articulating realistic collective and individual outcomes in Network- and collaborative-level theories of change, assessing the strength of the Network and progress toward its goals, assessing how participation in the Network benefits the local work of collaboratives, and capturing best practices and approaches in this effort.

Year: 2019

View the Report: 

Capital Region Early Childhood Collaboratives Network: Year 1 Progress Report Presentation

Interim Findings

Home Based Child Care Providers in Greater Hartford: Report 

Description: The earliest years of a child’s life are a crucial time for cognitive and social emotional development. The purpose of this report is to understand one substantial piece of the child care landscape: home-based providers in Greater Hartford.

  1. In the greater Hartford region, how many licensed family child care providers exist and whom do they serve?
  2. In the greater Hartford region, how many licensed family child care providers are receiving Care4Kids and who are the families receiving these subsidies?
  3. What are the technical needs of family child care providers?
  4. In the greater Hartford region, how many kith and kin providers are receiving Care4Kids subsidies and who are the families they serve?

Year: 2014

View the Report: Home Based Child Care Providers in Greater Hartford

Nonprofits and Capacity Building

Hartford Foundation Grantee Perception Report 

Description: In May and June of 2017, The Center for Effective Philanthropy conducted a survey of the Harford Foundation for Public Giving grantees, achieving a 68 percent response rate. The memo below outlines the key findings and recommendations from the Foundation’s Grantee Perception Report. The report contains benchmarking data to allow readers to interpret perceptions in light of the Foundation’s goals, strategy and context.

Year: 2017

View the Report: 

Grantee Perception Report: Full Report

Grantee Perception Report: Presentation

Grantee Perception Report: Memo

General Operating Support 

Description: The Hartford Foundation’s General Operating Support grants help nonprofits enhance their infrastructure, respond to the needs of the community, take greater risks and create more innovative programming. In 2013, the Foundation began awarding General Operating Support Grants in response to grantees' expressed need. This series of evaluations assesses the implement of these grants and makes recommendations for the future. 

Year: 2014-2017

View the Report: 

A Community Foundation's Experience Implementing and Evaluating General Operating Support, The Foundation Review, 2017

General Operating Support Evaluation Report: Executive Summary

Phase I Evaluation Report: Introduction of General Operating Support Grants, 2014

Phase II Evaluation Report: General Operating Support Grants, 2016

General Operating Support: Evaluation Brief

Small Agency Program 

Description: In 2016, the Hartford Foundation 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.

Year: 2016

View the Report:

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

Nonprofit Support Program 

Description: Nonprofit agencies are essential partners in creating strong communities. The Hartford Foundation fosters organizational development by providing a range of capacity building services to more than 200 nonprofits in Greater Hartford through the Nonprofit Support Program. As part of its commitment to continuous learning and improvement, the Nonprofit Support Program undergoes regular independent evaluations.

Year: 2005-2016

View the Report:

Nonprofit Support Program Evaluation Brief

NSP 2016 evaluation (Diane Gordon)

NSP 2011 evaluation (TDC)

NSP 2007 evaluation (LaFrance Associates)

NSP 2005 evaluation (LaFrance Associates)