Sample Projects

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Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF)

FERA has supported the Council of Michigan Foundations with evaluation (1991-2005), beginning with the Michigan Community Foundation’s Youth Project (MCFYP). MCFYP’s goals were to engage young people in grantmaking for the purpose of expanding the reach and building the capacity of community foundations throughout the state of Michigan. FERA provided formative and outcome evaluation for this state-wide effort by facilitating the development of local and national effective practices and completing a ten year longitudinal study of Youth Advisory Committee members. As a result of this collaborative effort, CMF’S statewide program and technical assistance efforts were strengthened. Key findings, lessons learned, and recommendations specifically designed for practitioners and funders were disseminated locally, nationally, and internationally.
Youth Grantmakers Contribute to Community Foundation Growth.pdf

United Way of the Greater Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWGBC)

FERA is working with the United Way of the Greater Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWGBC) to support their move to a new strategy, “Advancing the Common Good.” This strategy focuses on three key areas: health, education, and income. It recognizes that major social issues can be more effectively addressed by being more strategic with funding and concentrating on specific issue areas. By implementing this model, UWGBC hopes to affect measurable change relating to these specific social issue areas at the community level. Evaluation is integral to this new approach, as it provides continual feedback which is useful to strengthen their new process and measure the impacts of their efforts.

ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services)

ACCESS, located in Dearborn, MI, is the largest community based organization serving Arab Americans in the country. FERA has worked with ACCESS since 2003 to evaluate their national outreach efforts. One of these efforts, the National Network for Arab-American Communities (NNAAC), is a national membership network of Arab American community organizations. NNAAC supports their members with capacity building, peer learning opportunities, and AmeriCorps volunteers. The Center for Arab-American Philanthropy (CAAP) makes small strategic grants and encourages and supports giving by Arab-Americans. CAAP is “the catalyst for improving lives and building vibrant communities.” (CAAP Vision Statement)

FERA has evaluated all of ACCESS’s national outreach efforts since before their inception. We are currently assessing the effectiveness and impact of NNAAC’s capacity building efforts, and are also documenting CAAP’s history, including their accomplishments and challenges. Evaluation findings have informed strategic decisions about programs and organizational development.

Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL)

The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL) had never conducted an evaluation or worked with an external evaluator when it received a five-year federal grant for the Projects With Industry (PWI) initiative (2008 – 2013). The long-term goal of this grant is to “create well-matched and meaningful career opportunities for individuals with disabilities.” Since working with FERA, the AACIL has recognized how the evaluation process greatly strengthens their programming and is committed to integrating evaluation into their current and future work. FERA will serve as the external evaluator for AACIL’s new five-year grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration focused on effective practices for supporting micro enterprise.

The Michigan Coalition of Essential Schools (MCES)

FERA conducted a three-year evaluation of the MCES Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) programs focusing both on formative and outcomes evaluation. MCES is part of a national network known as the Coalition of Essential of Schools (CES) which has provided CSR interventions to schools in Michigan since 1995. CSR grants target high poverty schools and focus on comprehensive, whole-school reform utilizing research-based methods. During the evaluation process, FERA utilized a quasi-experimental comparison group design to establish a causal relationship between MCES/CSR interventions and school reform outcomes. Data collection included: site visits to schools; interviews and surveys of principals; surveys and focus groups with select teachers; surveys of the entire school faculty; and classroom observations. The data was used to examine the effectiveness and impact of the MCES/CSR model, and MCES utilized the evaluation information to make strategic modifications to their model.

University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Mardigian Library

FERA conducted an evaluation for the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Mardigian Library (2004 – 2006). This multi-year evaluation focused on the following five areas of interest to library personnel: a) use of the library (by students and faculty); b) education (courses specifically training students and faculty about the library); c) awareness of the library and its resources; d) satisfaction with library services and resources; and e) value of the library to students and faculty. The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Mardigian Library staff utilized the information collected through the evaluation to strengthen its programming to better meet the needs of students and faculty. The staff chose the most strategic recommendations they had developed and assigned them to the appropriate library committees to implement recommendations.

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These are just a few examples. Please Contact FERA for more detailed information about our work in your particular area of interest.