AmeriCorps Research & Evaluation Digest: Data-Driven Mission Video, Grantee Spotlight, SIF’s Decade of Change, and more


Office of Research and Evaluation Digest
October 2020

ORE Data Driven Mission Video

ORE Data-Driven Mission Video

During the 2019 Research Summit, the Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) interviewed attendees, including AmeriCorps research grantees and industry colleagues, on the important role of research and evidence for understanding and promoting civic engagement, volunteering, and national service. We recorded those conversations into a video to show how ORE promotes innovative research and evidence-based service models as well as supports the evaluations of grantee programs – all of which demonstrate the contribution of national service to the mission of the AmeriCorps.

The video breaks down how ORE's efforts widely impact the agency’s activities and the research community in general by contributing to four major mission areas:

  • Supporting agency programs and advancing scholarship
  • Identifying national service trends
  • Measuring national service impact
  • Promoting program improvement, innovation, expansion, and impact.

Watch Video

Save the Date: Research and Evidence Webinar - Youth Interventions that Work

Nov. 17, 2-3:30 p.m. ET

Join ORE as they showcase AmeriCorps’ investments in youth interventions that touches a variety of issues including:

  • Trauma-informed professional mentoring
  • Two generational community and neighborhood building to support workforce development and early childhood education to tackle poverty
  • Healthy eating and active play to break the cycle of obesity in young children
  • Technology-supported resources from ‘birth to kindergarten’ to support child and family readiness for school.

These programs and evaluations are the last cohort from the Social Innovation Fund, one of six tiered-evidence initiatives across the federal government. Register to watch the webinar and learn more about ORE's projects and evaluations.

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Drew University Community Action Taskforce

ORE Research Grantee Spotlight – Drew University

ORE Community Conversations Participatory Action Research (PAR) awardees at Drew University and Associate Professors of Sociology, Dr. Kesha Moore and Dr. Susan Rakosi Rosenbloom assembled a community action taskforce (CAT). This team of students, community residents, organizations, and government representatives addressed what can be done to aid the chronically homeless in Morris County, New Jersey. In the first year of the Neighbors-in-Need (NIN) initiative, the CAT used digital storytelling to understand and identify the barriers the chronically homeless faced, while also interviewing locals for a video highlighting the larger policy issues.

While facing obstacles due to the coronavirus pandemic, Drs. Art Pressley and Karen Caruso have put a pause on some of their efforts but the CAT continues to reach out to local authorities. During the summer of 2020, eight CAT members presented research to members of the Morris county's social service providers and the general public about legal updates, social service resources, and guidance on navigating the Morris County housing system during the coronavirus pandemic. The flexibility of PAR allowed CAT to respond to immediate needs of the community emerging from the pandemic. Drs. Pressley and Caruso, Ms. Pryor-Ramirez (Director of the NIN project), and the CAT have also received a $25,000 grant from Morristown Medical Center to support programs connecting homelessness and wellness that are specifically monitoring the health care of children of homeless parents.

Visit the grantee profiles to learn more about Drew University's AmeriCorps funded research and other 2018 AmeriCorps Community Conversations grantees.

Grantee Profile

Featured Evaluation Resource

Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool

This tool can help you assess your organization's strengths, clarify perceptions, and plan strategies to enhance capacity in identified areas.

Visit the Evaluation Resources page to learn more about Evaluation Cycle and see more resources.

Use Tool

AmeriCorps-funded Interventions: Scaling Evidence-Based Models Project

ORE initiated the Scaling Evidence-Based Models (SEBM) project to support the expansion and replication of effective evidence-based models. Successfully expanding and replicating an intervention can help organizations improve lives for larger numbers of individuals and communities than they could have reached before scaling. Organizations can maximize this potential by ensuring that their interventions have evidence of improving participant outcomes and by putting in place intervention-level and organizational conditions to successfully scale.

The SEBM project developed a series of guides and reports to help practitioners assess their scaling efforts critically, collect evidence on the effectiveness of their interventions, and increase the likelihood of effective scaling of successful interventions. View the list of these SEBM project resources on the 'What's New' page.

What's New

A Systematic Review of Senior Corps’ Impact on Volunteers and Program Beneficiaries

This report is focused on the impact three AmeriCorps Seniors programs (formerly known as Senior Corps) had on their volunteers and the people they served based on research studies completed during 1980 -2019. These programs assessed were the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), the Senior Companion Program (SCP), and the Retired and Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP). Along with this report are supplementary studies and resources that give more insight into the effectiveness of the program and lists recommendations based on key interviews from the current and former AmeriCorps Seniors staff. Those interviews helped to construct the AmeriCorps Seniors timeline that displays 50 years of national service program and relevant legislative development, research and evaluation achievements, other events from the 1950s to the present.

Read the evaluation report and its supplementary studies and materials for more insight into these three AmeriCorps Seniors programs.

View Article

SIF Projects: Decade of Change

Social Innovation Fund Projects: A Decade of Change

As the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) portfolio of awards, research, and lessons learned comes to a close in December 2020, the decade of work has had a significant investment in Opportunity Youth. The transition from youth to adulthood can leave disconnected individuals without the experiences, skills, or knowledge to help them realize their potential and succeed in life. Making matters worse, this disconnection disproportionally affects rural and low-income communities, further disadvantaging youth that already have less access to life resources. Youth development and improving economic opportunity are important targets for AmeriCorps, and the SIF grantees have been able to make a significant impact in these focus areas and the communities in which they serve. The recently completed and published Connected Youth Initiative and Opportunity Reboot interventions are two of the final evaluations completed that focused on this target population.

Visit the entire body of work the agency has completed with Opportunity Youth on the ORE’s Evidence Exchange

SIF Impact

What's New on the Evidence Exchange

Check out some of the new resources added to the Evidence Exchange:

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