From GEO, what does it mean to truly and authentically engage a community in evaluation? Grantmakers working on place-based grantmaking already have the incentive and drive to support in-depth evaluation, to understand the impact of the initiative, and to identify opportunities to improve their work. Effective evaluation of these complex and multi-faceted efforts is grounded in the perspectives of community stakeholders.
No matter how different foundations can be, they all share the need to know what works, and especially, what works well. The better that foundations can demonstrate how their grants are making a difference, the more value they will bring to their communities. To know what works, foundations must evaluate their grants. Evaluation helps the foundation assess the quality or impact of funded programs, plan and implement new programs, make future grant decisions, and demonstrate accountability to the public trust.