The Key to Successful Workforce Development Programs? Deep, Sustained Employer Engagement
October 2, 2014
By Wendy Sedlak
Workforce development programs – based at community organizations or at community and technical colleges – have sprouted up across the country over the past decade. These programs offer training opportunities that enable unemployed or underemployed adults to return to the workforce or acquire or retain a job in their community. Participants in these programs graduate with credentials and/or skills that can help them obtain a job and, potentially, build a life-long career.

Tags: Colleges, Community development, Education, Evaluation, Pipeline, Postsecondary completion, University, Using data
See more from: Wendy Sedlak
Evaluations: A Funder-Driven Necessity or a Useful Operational Tool?
July 8, 2014
By Terri Steingrebe
One of the hot topics that always seems to come up in my conversations, or at events I attend, is “What are you doing about evaluations?”

Evaluation and outcome metrics have been ingrained into the non-profit landscape at all levels of funders and in all sizes of organizations. Questions are bound to arise about the real benefits. During my seven years as CEO of More Than Wheels, I have participated in three evaluation projects. And those evaluations truly have been learning experiences.

Tags: Evaluation, Nonprofit, Place-based investment
See more from: Terri Steingrebe
Toward a Shared Coherence: Building a Place-Based Partnership in Mesa, AZ
June 6, 2014
By Naomi Story
When I think of our experience as a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Community Partnerships portfolio grantee, I am reminded of a quote from the writer and cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson: “Learning to savor the vertigo of doing without answers or making do with fragmentary ones opens up the pleasures of recognizing and playing with patterns, finding coherence within complexity, sharing within multiplicity.”

Tags: Evaluation, Partnerships and networks, Place-based investment, Postsecondary completion, Pre K-12 education, Systems change, Using data
See more from: Naomi Story
An Evaluation Partnership to Foster College Access and Success
May 12, 2014
By Rochelle Nichols-Solomon
The Postsecondary Success Collaborative (PSC), funded by the Citi Foundation, and conceived of and managed by FHI 360, began in 2008 as a five-year, place-based effort to increase postsecondary access and success, particularly for underserved students of color in high need communities.

Tags: Data systems and use for decision making, Evaluation, Partnerships and networks, Philanthropy, Place-based investment, Postsecondary completion, Pre K-12 education, Systems change, Using data
See more from: Rochelle Nichols-Solomon
Ready, Willing, and Able: Philadelphia is Poised to Improve Outcomes for Black Men and Boys
April 17, 2014
By Howard Walters
As I’ve discussed in previous blogs, there is a storm of activity around addressing the crisis in the Black male community. Whether it’s improving high school graduation rates, reducing chronic unemployment, or changing health outcomes for Black men and boys, there are hosts of experts convening, strategizing, and implementing program and policy interventions. Much of this work is focused in states, regions, or cities. Given the combined efforts of philanthropy, government, faith-based, and community based organizations, to say there is a grand infrastructure underpinning this work is an understatement.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Children and families, Community health, Culturally responsive consultancy, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Postsecondary completion, Pre K-12 education, Social sector trends
See more from: Howard Walters
Grounded in Values, Mindful of Innovation: OMG’s Journey Forward
March 21, 2014
By Meg Long
My introduction to the OMG Center was serendipitous. In 2004, I was working with a Philadelphia-based direct service provider, having relocated from New York City, where I worked as an internal evaluator in the United Nations system. I was at a dinner party, and ended up sitting next to the head of evaluation at a major foundation. We struck up a conversation about the realities of operating a school-based service program, lessons from my time at the UN, and how international experiences map to domestic issues.

Tags: Culturally responsive consultancy, Evaluation, Grantmaking, Place-based investment, Social sector trends
See more from: Meg Long
A Reflection on the Growth of the OMG Center
February 20, 2014
By Gerri Spilka
The roots of the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning stretch back more than 30 years, to an applied research group at the Management and Business Science Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. We were a handful of folks – Tom Burns, several Penn graduate students, and me – and we considered ourselves a “lab” to explore how large institutions could stimulate economic development, educational opportunities, housing, and jobs in the local community.

Tags: Advancing Equity, Capacity building, Community development, Culturally responsive consultancy, Evaluation, Philanthropy, Social sector trends, Strategy development, Systems change
See more from: Gerri Spilka
When Driving a Postsecondary Success Agenda, Place Does Matter
November 13, 2013
By Meg Long
Reflecting on the OMG Center’s work over the past 30 years, two perspectives have consistently informed our approach. We pay attention to systems – how the interplay of people and organizations, with formal and informal practices, influences change. We also examine “place” and consider how local context affects social imperatives – whether a community initiative to increase nutrition for AIDS patients or a regional project to boost economic competitiveness.

Tags: Collective impact, Culturally responsive consultancy, Evaluation, Grantmaking, Partnerships and networks, Place-based investment, Postsecondary completion, Social sector trends, Systems change
See more from: Meg Long
Defunding the Future: A Reflection on Philadelphia’s Public School Crisis
September 20, 2013
By Tia Burroughs
As a native Philadelphian, I am proud to have graduated from a Philadelphia public high school. At Central High School, I received an excellent education that set the foundation for college and graduate school success. My classmates represented different races, as well as diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, and my interaction with these peers shaped my desire to do social justice work as an adult.

Tags: Arts and Culture, Children and families, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Pre K-12 education
See more from: Tia Burroughs
When Designing Policy, Culture and Big Data Can Work Hand-in-Hand
September 3, 2013
By Sarah Singer Quast
During the recent Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable conference, Dr. Charles Williams, a youth psychologist from Drexel University, discussed the importance of culture when addressing the value of education. He spoke of the “soft bigotry of low expectations” that impede students’ growth and academic success, and cited the challenges faced by school districts that do not acknowledge the culture of their diverse student populations.

Tags: Culturally responsive consultancy, Diversity, equity, inclusion, Evaluation, Social sector trends, Strategy development, Systems change, Using data
See more from: Sarah Singer Quast
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