Grants Awarded to Measure Nonprofit Performance

October 6, 2014 – How can you move a community forward without knowing where you are and where you want to go? Measuring the effectiveness of a nonprofit organization’s programming can profoundly advance its mission by identifying what works and what doesn’t. More and more, these organizations are feeling immense pressure from government, grantmakers and their external audiences to demonstrate their impact with hard numbers.

Performance management is becoming a must-have skill for organizations seeking program support, yet a survey conducted by the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit strategist, reports that social sector leaders repeatedly identify performance measurement as one of the most challenging aspects of their work. Despite the importance of this function fewer than one in four report that they adequately resource, staff, and prioritize this work.

To address this issue on the local level, the Central New York Community Foundation piloted its Performance Management program in 2011. Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations in Onondaga or Madison County to cover the costs of implementing data measurement tools, training and software.  With the addition of this year’s new recipients, nearly $600,000 in grants have been awarded towards this effort to date.

In conjunction with receiving grant dollars, each Performance Management grant recipient is invited to participate in a year-long ‘learning community’ to share experiences and challenges with their peers. Two representatives from each organization meet monthly in a computer lab to learn and discuss skills that will help them prepare, collect, analyze and report on their data.

“The Learning Community structure allows us to see these projects unfold, develop and evolve as they are carried out,” said Frank Ridzi, Director of Research and Community Initiatives at the Community Foundation. “This gives us the opportunity to be a part of the process and serve as a guide, resource and catalyst along the way.”

The following organizations were recently awarded funding and invited to join the 2014-2015 Performance Management Learning Community to measure their community impact:

Baltimore Woods Nature Center received $19,990 to measure the effectiveness of its Nature in the City program in improving the academic performance of Syracuse City School District students.

Child Care Solutions received $20,000 to examine the impact of its technical assistance programs provided to child care centers in the field of literacy programming.

Children’s Consortium received $20,000 to identify the improvements in parenting skills acquired by participants of its Nurturing Parenting program.

Huntington Family Centers received $20,000 to determine whether its intervention programs affect school attendance, behavioral referrals and overall academic performance.

InterFaith Works received $20,000 to digitize and analyze survey responses from program participants at its Ahmad and Elizabeth E-Hindi Center for Dialogue.

Greater Syracuse Works received $20,000 to establish a community-wide system for tracking employment-related outcomes and identifying client overlap between partner organizations.

Southwest Community Center received $8,250 to evaluate the impact its after-school programming is having on children’s math scores.

St. Camillus Health and Rehabilitation Center received $16,310 to analyze the value of its outpatient, post-hospital visit rehabilitation services offered through the Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

On Point for College received $20,000 to examine how career action plans influence employment opportunities for student participants of its On Point for Jobs program.

United Way of CNY received $17,090 to measure the community outcomes achieved as a result of its funding and programs.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $172 million. It awarded $9.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested nearly $130 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 650 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges. cnycf.org

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