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Learning & Evaluation

Maintaining a posture that incorporates learning and evaluation is central to our strategic grantmaking and investing. It is part of our commitment to embodying a culture of humility and responsiveness. In recent years, ECMC Foundation has strengthened attention to learning and evaluation and is developing a robust approach befitting the growth of the Foundation’s grantmaking and strategic focus on systemic change. This approach will be ongoing and iterative, incorporating data from applications, the latest research from the field and reports and conversations with grantees to make evidenced-based decisions. Centered in equity and focused on systemic change, learning and evaluation work in close partnership with the grantmaking and investing teams. Grantees are essential partners in all stages of the Foundation’s learning and evaluation processes.

The illustration below demonstrates three different stages of grants and investments that we support.


ECMC Foundation directly supports independent evaluations of select grantees and bodies of work to inform the Foundation’s programmatic improvements, program expansion and strategic investments.

In keeping with our strategy to promote evidence-based innovation, findings from these evaluations  are used to drive future investments. This information also helps to build the knowledge base—within the Foundation and beyond—about what constitutes an effective program for students from underserved backgrounds, what conditions lead to successful implementation and outcomes, what impact the program has on participants, and ultimately, how our investments contribute to a student-centered postsecondary ecosystem.

See recent evaluations, including:

Initial Findings on the Basic Needs Initiative (Education Northwest)

Monitoring & Reporting

To support our evaluation efforts and provide ECMC Foundation staff, grantees and the field with information about the implementation and impact of projects funded by the Foundation, we monitor grants regularly and collect information in a formal reporting capacity annually. Our data collection methods include:

  • Measuring Grantee Progress: We require that each grantee identify and track unique measures of success, which are defined by the grantee and aligned to the goals of the grant. Annual assessments provide the Foundation with information on a program’s progress toward its targets and goals.
  • Gathering Insights from Participant Information: The Foundation captures key characteristics and attributes of grant-funded program participants. By distilling participant information by demographics, ECMC Foundation is able to garner deeper insights that inform our work and help drive our strategy.
  • Assessing Portfolio-Wide Performance: ECMC Foundation tracks a set of standardized metrics to help us better assess portfolio performance and the impact of our work.

See our recent learnings, including:

Reflecting on Six Years of Grantmaking to Support Community Colleges

5 Lessons for Using Ed Tech to Promote College Success

Investing in Single Mothers' Postsecondary Success

For More Information

Our Grants & Investments Since Inception page provides updated information on the scope of our grantmaking.

Our Grants & Investments Database provides information on each grant and investment we have made since our inception in 2015.

Current grantees can visit our Grantee Portal for more information on grant tracking and reporting.

Read our recent independent evaluation studies, learnings from our portfolio, grantee spotlights, and other research from the field to learn about promising strategies to improve outcomes among students from underserved backgrounds.

Related News

Grantee Spotlights

What We're Learning from our Grantees

Find stories of innovation and inspiration from our grantee partners, who are working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds.

Learn More