Evaluation of the Tobacco Policy Change Program

Evaluation conducted March 2009 through February 2011

The Program Being Evaluated

Tobacco Policy Change is a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) created to ensure continued momentum on effective tobacco control policies and to extend that momentum to communities where people are most vulnerable to tobacco's devastating impact. Launched in 2004, the $12 million program reflects RWJF's long standing commitments to reduce tobacco use and help Americans live healthier lives.

Through Tobacco Policy Change, RWJF is investing in cutting edge collaborations that directly address disparities in tobacco use and exposure. Using advocacy, communications and community partnerships, Tobacco Policy Change programs support efforts to: promote clean indoor air in workplaces and other public places; reduce smoking rates among minority populations; gain access to smoking cessation services for low wage earners; and promote the benefits of tobacco tax increases in preventing smoking among young people. Tobacco Policy Change uses RWJF funds to support public education, advocacy and organization building efforts. With matching dollars from other funders, Tobacco Policy Change organizations leverage additional resources to achieve policy changes in their community.

About the Evaluation

Utilizing a mixed-method approach, the evaluators will use a combination of quantitative (online survey, local descriptive data) and qualitative (document review, key informant interviews, site visits, case studies) methodologies to gather data for the evaluation. The evaluation is led by Andrea A. Anderson-Hamilton, Ph.D., Director of Planning, and Mary Clare Lennon, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York.

Major Evaluative Questions

  • How successful were Tobacco Policy Change grantees in achieving their advocacy goals?
  • Was Tobacco Policy Change more successful than previous tobacco-policy efforts funded by RWJF in addressing disparities?
  • Was the structure of the Tobacco Policy Change program and program requirements conducive to achieving the programs goals and grantee success (i.e., outreach to prospective grantees, proposal review, technical assistance, project oversight, funding levels, matching-fund requirements, time lines, emphasis on partnerships)?
  • How did working on two different policy-change advocacy efforts impact grantee progress/success (applicable only to the last round of grantees)?
  • What has been the lasting impact of Tobacco Policy Change on grantees and the tobacco-advocacy field overall?
  • What are the characteristics of successful/unsuccessful coalitions?
  • What steps are essential for achieving success in advocacy?

Products and Dissemination

Success for this project will be marked by a theory of change that accurately depicts the Tobacco Policy Change program; a final evaluation report that is comprehensive and provides an objective and accurate depiction of Tobacco Policy Change grantees’ experiences and outcomes; and, if successes are evident, a road map upon which future advocacy activities with grassroots coalitions can be built upon.