Investing in Community Change: An Evaluation of a Decade of Data-Driven Grantmaking

Investing in Community Change: An Evaluation of a Decade of Data-Driven Grantmaking


Hi, I’m Lois Greco, senior vice president
of evaluations at the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and CDC, and I am one of the authors of
the article Investing in Community Change. The article was co-authored with me by Maggie
Grieve who is director of success measures at NeighborWorks America, and Ira Goldstein,
who is president of policy solutions at the Reinvestment Fund. In our article, we highlighted
our learning from an evaluation of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation’s neighborhood grants
program over the last ten years. We were trying to find out whether our place-making strategies
were contributing to tangible positive change in the low- and moderate-income people and
places in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. So we learned that our data-driven,
collaborative, and grassroots approach to investing in neighborhood change has a better-than-average
chance of succeeding. Neighborhoods that implemented a resident-driven neighborhood revitalization
plan performed better than some other communities. We also learned what every grantmaker knows
but needs to be reminded about, and that is that relationships with grantees matter. So
based on our evaluation, we’re even more committed to encouraging other funders and investors
to have the patience to stay with a community organization and neighborhoods for the long-run.
Change takes time, and true partnership requires sustained resources and technical assistance.
I hope you enjoy the article. Please feel free to reach out to the foundation with any
questions or thoughts about our work.

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