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The Learning Conference 2013

June 3–4, 2013

Hilton Miami Downtown, Miami, FL

B2. Putting Evidence-Based Grantmaking into Context

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM–12:00 PM EDT
Session Designer

Cindy Eby, Mile High United Way, and Brian Paulson, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Session Description

Evidence-based grantmaking is growing in popularity in government and private philanthropy. These changes have numerous implications for grantmakers in light of new pressures being placed on grantees and may signal a need to shift in the power dynamic of funding. Through dynamic conversation among speakers and participants, this session will explore the context for evidence-based grantmaking at the federal and local level, and the need for impact evaluation in situations where rigorous approaches to evaluation fail to yield desired results or don’t go as planned.

Session Learning Goals

Through this session participants will:
- Explore why evidence-based grantmaking is increasingly relevant.
- Explore how grantmakers can support building evidence through evaluation and nonprofit capacity building.
- Explore the challenges inherent in evidence-based approaches.

Session Type



Jon Baron, Coalition for Evidence Based Policy

Jon Baron is president of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that he founded in 2001. Over the past 10 years, the Coalition’s work with Executive Branch and Congressional policymakers has advanced important evidence-based reforms in U.S. social programs, which have been enacted into law. In a recent external review of the Coalition’s work, based on not-for-attribution interviews with federal officials: “The Coalition was given credit by multiple interviewees for the Office of Management and Budget’s establishment of a requirement that many discretionary domestic programs be subject to rigorous evaluation, and for certain pieces of legislation carrying similar requirements…. As one interviewee stated, ‘The push for strong evidence would not have happened as quickly and widely and with so relatively little controversy without the Coalition.’”

Based on the Coalition’s work, Mr. Baron was twice nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences (2004-2011), and was the Board’s Chair during the last year of his term. He has also served on the National Academies’ Committee on Capitalizing on Science, Technology, and Innovation; and is an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology, and recipient of the Society for Prevention Research’s Public Service Award (2006).

Mr. Baron’s prior positions include: Executive Director of the Presidential Commission on Offsets in International Trade (2000-2001); Program Manager for the Defense Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program (1995-2000); and Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business (1989-1994).

Mr. Baron holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University.

Gary Chapman, Communities in Schools

GARY CHAPMAN, M.S.W., Ed.S., is Executive Vice President, National Network for the Communities In Schools national office. Gary oversees national field support, learning management, research and evaluation and the organization’s role in education transformation for the Communities In Schools network of 14 state offices and nearly 200 local affiliates serving more than 1.3 million students annually. He has spent 13 years with the Communities In Schools network serving as an executive director of a thriving and successful rural affiliate in South Georgia, principal of a public charter high school, and nationally overseeing field operations and the expansion of Performance Learning Centers® to increase on-time graduation and college readiness for at-risk high school students. His experience includes education, nonprofit administration, mental health, domestic violence intervention, family therapy, and sexual abuse counseling.

Cindy Eby, Mile High United Way

Cindy Eby is the Director of Evaluation at Mile High United Way where she is responsible for evaluation of the organization’s granting practices and direct service programs to guide Mile High United Way’s focus as a community impact organization. Eby's work focuses on bringing evaluation methods and the use of data for decision making to foundations and nonprofits. She is responsible for management of the evaluation for the Early Literacy Social Innovation Fund which supports ten grantees across Colorado to engage in rigorous, impact focused evaluation of their interventions. Additionally, she leads the cross-initiative work to develop an impactful approach to influencing community outcomes in the areas of School Readiness, Youth Success, and Adult Self Sufficiency. Prior to coming to Mile High United Way, she led the program quality work for Nurse-Family Partnership, a nationally replicated evidence-based prevention program for first-time, low income mothers focused on improving pregnancy health, positive parenting practices and child development while reducing child abuse and neglect. She also previously directed national health services research projects focused on determining factors which impact Medicare client outcomes and worked internationally to support micro-enterprise development programs in Kenya through the Government of Kenya and the European Union.

Brian Paulson, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Brian Paulson has 15 years experience in the social service sector in a variety of positions, from direct practice social work with low income children and families, to more macro practice social work in managing programs, program development and grant making. As Director of Innovation Strategies, Paulson coordinates United Way’s work in measuring Return on Investment, pay-for-performance models, career pathway programs for low-income populations, and social entrepreneurship. Paulson is also actively engaged in multiple system change efforts related to workforce development including Minnesota FastTRAC, the Governor’s Workforce Development Council ROI Analysis, and Heading Home Hennepin and Ramsey efforts focused on employment outcomes for homeless community members. Paulson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work with a focus on community practice social work.

Session Materials