In 1999, the James Irvine Foundation launched Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL), a major initiative to improve education achievement in low-performing schools in five California cities. Midway through the initiative, the foundation discovered that its $60 million reform effort was in danger of failing. Drawing on in-house expertise and outside experts, the Foundation studied the problem and made a series of mid-course corrections.
Spurred on by research from the Philanthropy Awareness Initiative that shows the public isn’t getting the full story about foundations because what’s reported by the media is mostly “transactional”—the number and size of grants awarded—the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is piloting a new way to bring attention to its work and more importantly, its accomplishments.
Most foundations believe that the best way to showcase their work and the causes they support is to highlight their grantees, and often by telling stories about who they are and what they do. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) believes so firmly in that idea that it has made grantee stories a centerpiece of its website.
Guest Post: Julee Newberger, Online Communications Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation
One of the great things about Web 2.0 and social networking is how they let those outside foundations speak to people inside them and in some cases, beyond.
That was certainly our experience at the Annie E. Casey Foundation based on the many thoughtful, emotional, and sometimes inspiring responses to our 100Days/100Voices campaign, which we launched to highlight what the Obama administration is doing for children.
Do you know if your communications are working? Have you ever asked? If the answer to both questions is “no,” you’re not alone.
Few foundation communicators claim they regularly – if at all – formally evaluate their work.
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