Authorization to Support Program Evaluation


In 2013, Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D., initiated a "strategic refresh" process to review the foundation's mission and core competencies, learn what other funders in the health care field are doing, and examine how we might refocus programs to maximize the impact of our grantmaking. In July 2013, the Board decided that the Fund's mission would remain the same but approved new directions for some programs and initiatives and the creation of selected new activities. At the July 2018 Board retreat, we plan to present the results of a reexamination of the strategic decisions made five years previously. The goal is to improve the Fund's ability to fulfill its mission going forward. The activities funded under this authorization will support this reexamination. Fund staff will undertake the following set of evaluation activities:

  • Environmental scan: Review the Fund's current policy and practice environment as well as challenges and opportunities in the 2018-2023 period; examine what other foundations and government agencies are doing and where the Fund can maximize its impact; assess the Fund's reputation among key audiences.
  • Peer assessment of how programs can maximize their impact in the next five years: Convene a small panel of external reviewers to examine existing Fund activities in light of the environmental scan and to provide advice on ways to maximize Fund impact in the next five years.
  • Technical assistance: Engage experts in foundation evaluation and strategy to assist with the environmental scan and to facilitate planning meetings with staff and other key stakeholders. To keep the Board informed and solicit ongoing input, staff will update members on these ongoing evaluation activities at the November 2017 and April 2018 meetings.

The strategic review will inform the development of Fund program goals and help maximize the effectiveness and relevance of the foundation's grantmaking.

Grant Details

Grantee Organization:
The Commonwealth Fund
Principal Investigator:
Michelle Doty, Ph.D.
Award Amount:
Approval Date:
July 11, 2017

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