Program Outcomes and Logic Models
"Outcomes" will carry more weight in Foundation grant decisions
As a good steward of the contributions of our donors – people who have entrusted a generous portion of their assets to us through their estates or annual gifts – The Schenectady Foundation is continually challenged to do the very best things we can to improve the community. We strive to be careful, thoughtful and judicious in deciding where to place our financial resources.
This is a core value of the Foundation. Our ceaseless focus on making things better than they were is complicated by the fact that there are so many good things to do! There are more than a hundred organizations, programs and projects in Schenectady County, and many are deserving of philanthropic support. But with limited resources – currently a little more than $1 million per year – it is both a necessity and responsibility to be highly selective about our grantees. We therefore set criteria for that selection process and earnestly work to be fair and even-handed in applying the criteria.
Of increasing importance to us are the “outcomes” that have been – or might be – achieved with our support. Commencing in 2017 our grant program will be weighted to award grants on the basis of their potential to realize measurable outcomes. We know that this is challenging – for the Foundation as well as for applicants and grantees – but we also believe that we will all benefit from the clarity of articulating what we are trying to accomplish, and how we will know if we have been successful.
To support applicants and grantees in a learning process to better understand program outcomes and to manage their results, the Foundation has developed a template for a Logic Model with which grant applicants can work. A Logic Model will be a required submission of the grant application and in subsequent progress reports. Logic Models offer a vehicle for developing and evaluating projects, from setting high level aspirations (Impact Statements) to determining what resources are needed to achieve impact (Inputs).
The Foundation will be holding workshops in January and February 2017 to introduce the Logic Model to grantees and applicants, and to provide guidance on how to use the model effectively. Workshop dates and locations will be posted on the Foundation website.