Sharing Practical Learning: the Future Fund experiment. Notes for a presentation to the EEN (Canada) Forum Blair Dimock Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Management October 1, 2010. Regular granting vs. the Future Fund. Community Grants vs. Future Fund.
Notes for a presentation to the EEN (Canada) Forum
Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Management
October 1, 2010
Strengthen the impact of organizations in Ontario working on environment issues by enhancing leadership and building capacity through investments in innovation and collaboration.
Future Fund initiative for the environment sector
“What will it take to build the capacity of the environment sector, in order to increase its impact?”
OTF can play a valued role by strengthening the links between grass-roots and large environmental non-government organizations.
Capacity building requires a long-term commitment.
If we introduce a “high engagement” approach to evaluation and monitoring, we will learn more effectively and increase our likelihood of success.
If we invest in innovative collaborations, the capacity of the sector will be enhanced, and its impact will increase.
Granting in high volume leaves little time or resources for effective learning.
If we take a portfolio approach to grantmaking decisions, the impact of the initiative will be greater.
Granting widely and for short-term projects may lessen our impact and not lead to lasting results.
The environment sector in Ontario is smaller, less developed and has lower capacity than the other sectors we fund.
Future Fund Round 1
The sector is made up of a few large, high capacity organizations and many small organizations who lack capacity in key areas.
High engagement staff team
Design of evaluation plan
As the largest funder of environmental organizations in Ontario, OTF has an opportunity to be a leader in helping the sector achieve greater impact.
Learning circles (grantees and staff team)
Future Fund Round 2
Provincial reach of the Future Fund environment sector, in order to increase its impact?”
Triad of environment sector, in order to increase its impact?”results, process and relationships guide the plan
Complex issues have no quick-fix
Focus on intermediate outcomes
Grantees as partners in the process
Little evaluation culture in the sector
“Evaluation” is intimidating
Evaluation is at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list
Collaborative Evaluation/Evaluating Collaboratives
OTF and grantees to plan for evaluation up front, including logic model
Capacity building support is provided, both financial and in-kind
Benefits to the project:
Ensures a common understanding of project objectives and activities among participating organizations
Focuses attention on measurable results
Provides an opportunity to fine-tune project plan
Learning is embedded in all of our activities
What are we learning about collaboration, capacity building and innovation from this collective experience?
Emergent Learning Logic Model
Action Learning Plan
Action Review Cycle (ARC) learning”