More than 20 years ago, when I was running a community organization that provided critical services to homeless youth, our foundation funders never asked for data on outcomes. Our public funders, meanwhile, felt satisfied with a reporting system that largely consisted of my caseworkers and me running up and down the hallway, paper and pencil in hand, polling each other and pulling files from various drawers to report on the number of youths we served that month. No one discussed the difference...

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