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News & Info

Evaluation Capacity Building: It’s More Than Just Evaluation

“Information is power,” says Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin of St. Petersburg, Florida, during her welcoming speech at the annual Community Indicators Consortium in November 2017. She was referring to the conference’s theme this year—Information is Power: Data to Support Community Change—where hundreds of data-driven activists gathered to discuss the importance of community data for addressing inequity. The validity of data and reliable sources of information have never been as crucial as it is now, especially with accusations of “false news” and the idea of “alternative facts.” The way information is transmitted these days in real time has made it easier for elected officials, leaders, celebrities, journalists, newscasters, and the public in general to share their views, sometimes without regard to facts and the impact of their views. This includes information about policies, programs, and communities. Consequently, it’s hard for the public to know what is accurate and what is hype because the news networks, Twitter, YouTube, and other media outlets’ headlines tend to determine the narrative, sometimes before the facts are confirmed.

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Advancing Sustainable Racial Equity in U.S. Cities

Government plays a crucial role in both promoting equity and dismantling policies and practices that perpetuate racial inequity. It controls the resources, how they are allocated and applied, as well as providing vital services to the public. The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) was established to assist local governments to apply a racial lens to their policies, operations, and practices by using a racial equity framework and tools, implementing a measurement system to monitor progress toward racial equity goals, and partnering with other organizations and communities. In 2016, Living Cities launched the Racial Equity Here (REH) initiative and partnered with GARE to build the capacity of five city governments—Albuquerque, Austin, Grand Rapids, Louisville, and Philadelphia—to advance their racial equity goals.

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Staff Profile: Kate WIlliams

Kate Williams, LGSW, PMP, Project Management Office Director, has over 12 years of federal consulting experience with expertise in project and program management, cross-functional staff management, database development, and technical assistance. Before joining Community Science, Williams worked closely with the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, to support the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). She directed the daily operations and priorities of the data and technology team, leading the development of, testing and technical support for all CFSR Web-based applications and databases. Williams also managed a nationwide data collection process, conducted analyses and post review cycle evaluations, and led the development of a Data Repository/data visualization website. Williams also brings experience in logistical support, consultant management, training and technical support, and piloting and testing data management systems. She has a diverse background to enrich future work, including mitigating sentences for clients with mental illness, federal child welfare policy, and working on issues of homelessness and disability. Williams has a Master’s degree in Social Work (Management and Community Organization/Clinical Minor) and a B.A. in Human Studies. In her spare time, she prefers to be outside exploring with her kids or relaxing with a cup of tea (or three) and reading.

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Community Science at AEA

Oscar Espinosa, M.A., Senior Associate, presents with colleague Brandon Coffee-Borden, M.P.P., Managing Associate on the panel Developing, Sustaining, and Evaluating Health Equity Coalitions as Systems Interventions.

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) held their annual conference in Washington, D.C., on November 6-11, 2017. Community Science presented during various sessions and workshops. Check out our team in action!

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Recent Publications:

Emerging Action Principles for Designing and Planning Community Change (March 2015)

Community Matters! Decades of scientific research have shown that being part of a supportive, inclusive and capable community promotes mental, physical, and social well-being more than any other factors known to the social and medical sciences. Our publication series, Community Matters: Action Principles, Frameworks, and Strategies, shares what science and practice have taught us about building and strengthening community. The first publication in this series, “Emerging Principles for Designing and Implementing Community Change,” has just been released.


Local Voices: On-the-Ground Perspectives on Driving Community Change in the Making Connections Sites (July 2014)

This report describes, from the perspective of local stakeholders, the experience of several sites involved in Making Connections — the Foundation’s signature community change initiative of the 2000s — in developing and enhancing the core capacities essential for articulating and pursuing a local community change agenda. The report describes the conditions in the communities when Making Connections began; the core capacities built during the decade-long initiative; the factors that contributed to capacity building; the evidence of improved outcomes for children, families and neighborhoods resulting from the enhanced change capacities; the continuing challenges of sustaining those capacities; and key takeaways from the experience.  


Addressing Health Disparities Through Organizational Change-Evaluation Report (April 2012)

In 2006, The Colorado Trust funded 14 organizations to improve their cultural competency in order to strengthen their capacity to reduce health disparities.  Community Science was engaged to evaluate the initiative, specifically assessing: 1) changes in cultural competency among grantees, 2) the influence of cultural competency changes on grantee interventions and short -term outcomes, 3) factors and conditions needed to bring about positive changes in organizational cultural competency, and 4) grantee progress and accomplishments over time.  


The Importance of Culture in Evaluation

The Importance of Culture in Evaluation, a publication funded by The Colorado Trust, provides insights to help guide the complex dynamics between evaluators, funders and stakeholders of different cultures. The report provides examples of where cross-cultural competency is critical in evaluation and recommends questions and strategies that an evaluator should consider when practicing this form of cultural competency.