The program director of one of the nation’s largest foundations and I were discussing a grant idea when our conversation turned to the topic of program evaluation. She revealed that she was under a lot of pressure from her foundation’s trustees to show that the foundation’s grants met their stated goals. While she strongly believed in the importance of demonstrating program effectiveness, she didn’t have a clear idea of how to do it.

Returning to our grant idea, the director tried her hand at...


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