Evaluation of Communities Creating Healthy Environments

Evaluation conducted October 2008 through October 2013

    • September 18, 2009

The Program Being Evaluated

Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE): Improving Access to Healthy Foods and Safe Places to Play in Communities of Color, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), will provide training, technical assistance and three-year grants of up to $250,000 to 10 local advocacy groups working in communities of color and indigenous nations to develop effective, replicable policy initiatives that achieve food and recreation equity in the communities where they work. This capacity-building initiative brings successful local advocacy organizations together with key local, state, and national leaders to build healthier communities.

About the Evaluation

Participatory evaluation is a well-respected approach for the evaluation of grassroots activities that has been demonstrated to be optimally useful for grassroots advocacy in particular. A key principle of this approach is that evaluation methods are only finalized once the sites are identified, and their specific requirements and challenges are understood. The evaluation approach will be designed in consultation with the grantees. Loyola Marymount University Department of Psychology's Applied Research Center (LMU-PARC) will provide program evaluation, technical assistance and strategic consultation to CCHE to support advocacy for policy change to increase access to healthy food and safe places to play. The lead evaluator is Cheryl N. Grills, M.A., Ph.D., of Loyola Marymount University Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. Using participatory, formative and summative evaluation, LMU-PARC will support CCHE in its primary goals.

Summary of Methods

LMU-PARC will support the efforts of CCHE by evaluating methods of technical assistance work and relationships; attend TA team convenings; and provide consultation on evaluation processes. The objective of all evaluation design and data collection activities is to construct variables and measures that are relevant, meaningful, and useful to grantees, CCHE and RWJF.

Products and Dissemination

In year 1, LMU-PARC will work closely with the national program office (NPO) and with individual sites to finalize an evaluation plan. In years 2 through 5 LMU-PARC will provide an annual report on evaluation findings to the Foundation, the NPO and program sites in each of years 2 through 5.

An early product of the evaluation is an initial assessment of grantees’ needs and expertise. This assessment evaluates what types of assistance the sites need, as well as which sites are well-positioned to share expertise.