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News & Info

Evaluation Can Inform Strategy Improvement and Programming

Community Science was engaged by the Andrus Family Fund to evaluate the impact of its Community Reconciliation (CR) program.  The foundation was interested in knowing the value of its investments in this area,  the difference that CR grantees have made with the support, and the usefulness of the support - both the funding and coaching - provided by the foundation. Given that the foundation had not conducted any evaluation of the CR program before, did not have a clear theory of change or program logic model, and had not convened the grantees for several years, Community Science advised the Andrus Family Fund to seize this opportunity to take a participatory approach and engage grantees in developing a logic model grounded in the realities and context within which they were operating - especially since community reconciliation work is complex and highly vulnerable to factors outside the grantees' control.

“As a new Executive Director, it was really important [for me] to take a look at what had been done to understand that portfolio.  The Andrus Family Fund had been working in the same way for over a decade, and it was important to me that we have some objective measures to help us move the work forward.  Community Science’s thorough work with AFF helped us streamline our process with our Community Reconciliation portfolio, and their work was key in helping us determine what types of outcomes we should be thinking of – not based on what we desired, but on the types of grants and technical assistance we were actually providing.  This helped us build the foundation that eventually led to our strategic assessment and helped us identify our new direction.” Leticia Peguero, Executive Director, Andrus Family Fund and Andrus Family Philanthropy Program.

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Understanding Immigrant Civic Participation

Community Science has conducted studies on civic participation of immigrants for organizations such as the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and the Public Interest Project. The learning from the findings of these studies are important because people from all over the world resettle in the United States for various reasons and diversify - and challenge - traditional definitions of civic participation and leadership in this country. It is imperative that funders, community leaders, elected officials, program managers, researchers, evaluators, and anyone else invested in creating healthy and just communities understand how our new neighbors and citizens engage civically in order to improve outreach and communication on a wide range of issues, such as consumer rights and the Affordable Care Act. More important, this understanding is essential to bridge old and new communities and traditional and nontraditional institutions, in order to create a stronger and economically competitive nation.

Dr. Kien Lee, Vice President of Community Science, presented what was learned from these previously mentioned studies as part of the opening plenary for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection's one-day symposium on cross-cultural communications on October 23, 2014. Click here to access the Connecticut Network (CT-N) website, and enter the symposium date to view the panel discussion.

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Senior Associate Oscar Espinosa Presents at American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Exposition

The APHA hosted its 142nd Annual Meeting and Exposition from November 15-19 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Community Science Senior Associate Oscar Espinosa, M.A., presented at a Panel Discussion entitled, "ACA Outreach under the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities: Results and Lessons Learned." The session focused on the opportunities and challenges faced by community based organizations, particularly those involving individuals from racial and ethnic minorities, during the initial enrollment period of the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace.

Mr. Espinosa is the project director for the effort to document and quantify the impact of outreach efforts conducted during the enrollment period. During his presentation, Mr. Espinosa described how the evaluation team developed a measurement framework and an event assessment instrument. He reviewed the procedures the team followed for supporting data collection, and presented key findings from the analyses of the event data. Click here to log into the AEA website and access recordings of the presentation.


Kien Lee Authors Cross-Cultural Competency Chapter in Community Psychology Textbook

Community Science Principal Associate and Vice President Kien Lee, Ph.D. authored a chapter in the recently published textbook Community Psychology: Foundations for Practice, by Victoria C. Scott and Susan M. Wolfe. Dr. Lee's contribution is entitled Effecting Social Change in Diverse Contexts: The Role of Cross-Cultural Competency. The book is available for purchase on the SAGE Publications website.


David M. Chavis Speaks on Evaluation at Place-Based Initiatives Forum

The Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy and the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation held a national forum in December, focused on the current state of place-based initiatives that address geographically-concentrated poverty. Community Science President/CEO David M. Chavis, Ph.D. served as a panelist for Evaluation in Context, a discussion to address how place-based initiatives are being evaluated in the context of larger forces and long-term change. Click here to view a video of the panel discussion.  


Staff Profile: Jasmine Williams-Washington

Jasmine Williams-Washington, M.P.A., Analyst, has five years of experience in community organizing in political campaigns as well as on advocacy issues. In addition to her experience in the community, Mrs. Williams-Washington has extensive background in both quantitative and qualitative research. Before joining Community Science, she served as a community organizer for the Mississippi Center for Justice in their health law division. Mrs. Williams-Washington still serves as an adjunct professor at Jackson State University in the Urban Studies program. At Community Science, Mrs. Williams-Washington collects and analyzes data, provides background information for project reports and proposals, and oversees basic technical tasks. She is an Atlanta Falcons fan through good times and bad, loves crawfish, and her unusual fear of fish keeps her out of aquariums!


Strengthening Community in Action: Using the Sense of Community Index-2

By Jon Clarke, Community and Neighborhood Resources Manager, City of Longmont, CO

I use the concepts of the Sense of Community Index to design programs that build a sense of community and to measure the effectiveness of those programs in building a sense of community. Those of us working for the City of Longmont, we know inherently that building a sense of community is a good thing. The Sense of Community Index has given me the ability to demonstrate to city leadership the results of the work that we are doing in our community.

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Publications

Addressing Health Disparities Through Organizational Change-Evaluation Report (4/19/2012)

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.  

Click "Continue Reading" below to go to final evaluation report.

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Scope, Scale, and Sustainability: What It Takes to Create Lasting Community Change

How can we address complex social problems in communities and make an impact on a larger scale? By changing institutions' policies and practices, and developing new strategies that address root causes of social problems. Community Science' David M. Chavis, Ph.D. and Tina R. Trent, M.A., (now with NeighborWorks America) co-authored Scope, Scale, and Sustainability: What It Takes to Create Lasting Community Change,  published in the inaugural issue of The Foundation Review.

In the study, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, eleven completed community change initiatives (CCI) were analyzed to better understand what had been learned from these initiatives about how to reach the scope, scale, and sustainability needed to achieve lasting community change.

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Strategic Factors for Building Community: The Five C’s Community, Connections, Control, Cash, & Collective Action

This brief report describes the strategic factors for stimulating community -wide health and well-being. It illustrates how each of the Five C’s “can be put together to develop an effective, broad-reaching, and sustainable community development strategy”.

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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. 

 

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Safe Start- Principles for Engaging and Retaining Families in Services

This report was developed by Community Science for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for the Safe Start Initiative. It describes the promising principles for engaging and retaining families in non-mandated services.

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