Learning and Assessment Framework

The Weingart Foundation has always held learning as a core organizational value. In FY 2014, our Board of Directors approved the following Learning and Assessment Framework, which is designed to comprehensively assess how the Foundation’s Unrestricted Operating Support furthers the organizational effectiveness of our grantees. The development and implementation of this new framework further solidifies our systematic practice in the area of learning.

Weingart Foundation Learning and Assessment Framework

Grantees will be better able and more effective in addressing needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities Maintain a grantmaking program that responds to organizational and programmatic need as identified by our grantees Maintain policy and practice to help grantees better provide and sustain their programs and services Exercise leadership in the nonprofit and philanthropic community to influence policy and practice

The Foundation began full implementation of our new Learning and Assessment Framework at the start of FY 2016, after piloting and testing the previous year. As part of the new framework, executive directors from grantee organizations will be asked to complete a Grantee Survey in lieu of a final report, as well as engage in a close-out conversation with their Foundation program officer.

Learning and Assessment Framework Webinar and Resources

For a more detailed overview of the framework, including information on how applicants and grantees are impacted, please click here to read a message from Belen Vargas, Vice President, Programs. In addition, on September 15, 2015 the Foundation held a webinar to walk nonprofit organizations through the framework’s goals, processes and tools, as well as answer questions. For a full recording of the webinar, as well as related materials, click here.

Program Learning

In addition to ongoing implementation of our new Learning and Assessment Framework during FY 2017, the Foundation will engage in the following learning activities:

  • As part of the Foundation’s ongoing planning process and our goal to develop strategies around our commitment to equity with our grantees, we will conduct listening sessions and explore approaches to engage the nonprofit sector and key stakeholders. This will allow us to identify challenges and opportunities, review planning assumptions, obtain feedback on our current programs and practices and receive recommendations to inform our future work and direction.

  • Additional opportunities will be explored to continue convening grantees and funders to discuss issues of importance to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, including the importance of diversity and cultural competence as important indicators of organizational effectiveness.

  • The Foundation will conduct its next Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey through the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) in spring of 2017. This timing will enable our applicants and grantees to assess refinements to our grantmaking process, including the new Learning and Assessment system. This perception information is very important for planning purposes and for continued improvement of our policies and practices.

  • Through a unique opportunity offered through TCC Group and the Ford Foundation, we will complete the new Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool (FCCAT). This tool is an assessment measure to help foundations understand their institutional capacity strengths and challenges, and our participation will provide us with a customized report describing results to enable learning and action. We will also have access to early insight into field-wide trends and findings regarding foundation capacity.
  • The Foundation will also conduct special assessments to better understand the impact of our grantmaking in such areas as the Full Cost and Immigrant Integration initiatives. These studies will engage outside consultants where appropriate to facilitate evaluation activities and/or will glean from grantees’ existing evaluation activities to supplement our learning in these areas.