Grant

Planning a comprehensive evaluation of the Community Foundation Opportunity Network’s aligned action network initiative – Nexus of Equity and Opportunity Nationwide (NEON)

This grant will provide funds to plan a comprehensive evaluation of Nexus for Equity and Opportunity Nationwide (NEON), an initiative of the Community Foundation Opportunity Network (CFON).

CFON comprises over 40 community foundations that are committed to using their philanthropic influence and capital to drive meaningful, systemic change for dismantling racism and achieving social and economic mobility for youth and families at scale, across diverse communities. They have embraced the call for improving opportunity emphasized in the Urban Institute’s U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, and have drawn on that initiative to articulate measures and goals for NEON. Income and wealth strategies to be embraced by NEON include local implementation of the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, living wage jobs, support for residents who lack access to banking, community land trusts, and investment in businesses led by persons of color. With this award, Kelly’s team will collaborate with the Urban Institute to design an evaluation process for NEON. Income and wealth strategies to be embraced by NEON include local implementation of the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, living wage jobs, support for residents who lack access to banking, community land trusts, and investment in businesses led by persons of color. Power and leadership strategies include shifting community foundation power to communities and leaders of color, engaging young people of color in civic leadership, funding organizing led by people of color, and promoting lifelong racial equity learning. Individual initiatives will be evaluated separately within communities; this planning grant will support preparations for a cross-site evaluation of change at the community level. The evaluation will examine which strategies are implemented and which strategies and actions community foundations can use to influence change, especially among audiences not usually engaged in antiracism work. During this planning period, the team will develop common measures of systemic change in the domains noted above. The Urban Institute’s Mobility Metrics Framework will serve as a key resource for measurement development. The result of the planning period will be a design for assessing systemic change across the nine communities, baseline community-level data collection, and a framework for evaluation that can be used within communities to examine specific initiatives.