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Development of the St. David’s Foundation’s Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation System Project

The St. David’s Foundation (SDF) is one of the largest grantmaking foundations in Texas. SDF invests proceeds from St. David's HealthCare to more than 60 nonprofit partners that operate healthy community programs in the Central Texas area. SDF has contracted with Community Science to develop a monitoring, learning, and evaluation (MLE) system to assist them to better manage and improve the effectiveness of SDF’s grantmaking. In understanding the importance of working with the organization, the Project Team has been collaborating with SDF staff to build on their existing tools and procedures, refining their content, and developing new procedures to help them determine progress.

The Project Team has developed procedures to harness staff’s deep understanding and knowledge of their community to inform lessons learned and promising practices. One of the key features of the MLE is that it has multiple reflection points built into a number of procedures, so there is an accrual of learning as staff progress through the MLE. Getting staff and grantees to practice reflection at various points in the grant’s lifecycle allows them to learn and apply those lessons to their grantmaking practice. An MLE protocol offers detailed guidance for selecting grantees based on a scoring rubric that is aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives and mission. As grantmaking is improved over the coming years, the accrual of improvements made along the continuum of their grantmaking practice will ultimately lead to maximization of the impact they have in the communities they serve.

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