Notes for a presentation to the EEN (Canada) Forum Blair Dimock Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Management October 1, 2010 Sharing Practical.
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Notes for a presentation to the EEN (Canada) Forum Blair Dimock Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Management October 1, 2010 Sharing Practical Learning: the Future Fund experiment
Community Grants vs. Future Fund $100 million/year$4 million/year 1,500 grants/year10 grants per year 17 volunteer Grant Review teams across the province Board Committee Broad granting across four sectorsStrategic granting based on a portfolio of grants Responsive to local needsProactive, targeted to specific outcomes and/or population groups Short-term, mostly capacity building grants Longer-term grants aimed at transformational change Pre-application counselling + post- grant evaluation and reporting Ongoing “high engagement” counselling, monitoring, evaluation Regular granting vs. the Future Fund
Strengthen the impact of organizations in Ontario working on environment issues by enhancing leadership and building capacity through investments in innovation and collaboration. Future Fund initiative for the environment sector
From evaluation to action learning: an emergent learning model
“What will it take to build the capacity of the environment sector, in order to increase its impact?” The environment sector in Ontario is smaller, less developed and has lower capacity than the other sectors we fund. OTF can play a valued role by strengthening the links between grass-roots and large environmental non- government organizations. The sector is made up of a few large, high capacity organizations and many small organizations who lack capacity in key areas. Capacity building requires a long- term commitment. As the largest funder of environmental organizations in Ontario, OTF has an opportunity to be a leader in helping the sector achieve greater impact. If we invest in innovative collaborations, the capacity of the sector will be enhanced, and its impact will increase. Future Fund Round 1 Design of evaluation plan Future Fund Round 2 Ground Truth Opportunities Hypotheses Insights If we introduce a “high engagement” approach to evaluation and monitoring, we will learn more effectively and increase our likelihood of success. Granting widely and for short-term projects may lessen our impact and not lead to lasting results. If we take a portfolio approach to grantmaking decisions, the impact of the initiative will be greater. Granting in high volume leaves little time or resources for effective learning. High engagement staff team Learning circles (grantees and staff team)
Theories of change for the environment sector initiative If we…Then we will… connect the work of advocates about early environmental exposure to toxins and public health practitioners, influence practice and policies for chronic disease prevention. engage a broad range of environmental organizations in the setting of shared environmental priorities for Ontario, Strengthen the policy effectiveness of the sector. link regional efforts in the northern and southern parts of Ontario through a North- South Climate Change Network, build the capacity of communities to respond to common climate-change challenges. build a provincial alliance to address issues of farmland access and succession, support a new generation of viable, ecological, local farmers. foster partnerships between Community Foundations and Land Trusts to raise stewardship funds, assure the protection of up to 50% of currently owned conservation lands. inspire environmental non-profits to embrace diversity in their audiences and within their organizations, transform the sector in terms of its ethno- cultural and racial diversity.
Triad of results, process and relationships guide the plan Complex issues have no quick-fix Focus on intermediate outcomes Grantees as partners in the process o Little evaluation culture in the sector o “Evaluation” is intimidating o Evaluation is at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list Collaborative Evaluation/Evaluating Collaboratives
Evaluation: from “lessons learned” to “action learning” OTF and grantees to plan for evaluation up front, including logic model Capacity building support is provided, both financial and in- kind Benefits to the project: o Ensures a common understanding of project objectives and activities among participating organizations o Focuses attention on measurable results o Provides an opportunity to fine-tune project plan
Towards a Learning Agenda Learning is embedded in all of our activities What are we learning about collaboration, capacity building and innovation from this collective experience?
OUTCOME Emergent Learning Logic Model Framing Question Action Learning Plan Hypothesis