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News & Info

Putting Community into Community Resilience

Within past decades, there has been a shift toward understanding community resilience, which is characterized by a community’s ability to rebound and adapt following disruptions, such as natural and human-caused disasters. Although some assert that the term community resilience is a buzzword, Community Science views it as a useful framework for conceptualizing how key actors, including local residents and organizations, can strengthen their community’s ability to prevent, withstand, and mitigate such stressors. Recently, we developed a community resilience framework, expanding on other community resilience models related to disaster.

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The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program’s Contribution to Community Resilience

As one of the largest volunteer networks in the U.S., the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) aims to engage volunteers aged 55 and over to support disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and increase community resiliency. In 2013 and 2014, CNCS provided Disaster Services Augmentation Grants for several RSVPs. These grants focused on addressing the 2014 Hurricane Sandy recovery in New York and a range of disasters that happened in 2013, including floods in northern Colorado; a flash flood in Waynesville, Michigan; a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma; and a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. In the aftermath of disaster, RSVPs deployed thousands of volunteers who played key roles in various activities such as developing disaster preparedness kits, operating volunteer reception centers and call centers, performing direct outreach to disaster victims, rebuilding homes, and managing donation centers. 

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Staff Profile: Marcella Hurtado Gómez, Associate

Marcella Hurtado Gómez, Ph.D., Associate, has expertise in social issues related to immigrant populations, the utilization of evidence-based programming with ethnic minority youth and families, and managing grant-funded programs in community-based organizations. Dr. Hurtado Gómez has 10 years of experience in conducting, analyzing, and disseminating research. She has expertise in program monitoring and evaluation, running statistical analysis, writing outcome reports, and presenting findings in pragmatic terms to a variety of audiences. She has worked on projects involving large data sets and building research studies from the ground up.

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Community Science Participates in a Day of Service

Community Science participated in its biannual day of service at A Wider Circle on September 18, 2015. A Wider Circle is a nonprofit organization with a mission to end poverty. Through programs targeting job preparedness, health and wellness, and housing, A Wider Circle addresses the needs of the whole person. One of their programs, Neighbor-to-Neighbor, provides beds, dressers, tables, and other large and small home goods free of charge to individuals in need. Earlier in 2015, A Wider Circle opened a program office in Barry Farm, a neighborhood in Southeast Washington, DC. 

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Evaluation Capacity Building in Context: Innovating for Optimal Social Impact and Advocating for Change

Evaluation capacity building for improved organizational and system learning has been part of Community Science’s practice from our beginning. We see evaluation capacity building as having all the abilities and motivation to learn how to do better by systematically using data and others sources of reliable information to make decisions.  Public and private organizations and public agencies have an obligation to continuously strive to equitably provide the best services and supports possible to individuals, families, and communities. In order to do that, there needs to be the capacity in place to evaluate and then improve the work of these collaborations and organizations. These days, just about every organization that receives funding from any public or private entity is expected to do some data collection and reporting. This global movement to use data is being further fueled by the advancements in information technology. There is a virtual Home Depot of evaluation tools available on line.

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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.