Portfolio Review & Assessment

Forward Promise
Funder: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Project Time Period: 2015-2016

Project Category: Health/Formative Evaluation

About Forward Promise: Forward Promise is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative focused on promoting opportunities for the health and success of middle school- and high school-aged boys and young men of color. With this initiative, the Foundation aims to expand the potential for boys and young men of color to grow up healthy, obtain a good education, and find meaningful employment in their communities.

The Work: MAI’s evaluation of the initiative was a retrospective, mixed-method assessment. We assessed and documented the extent to which Forward Promise grants and initiatives have strengthened the work of the three groups of grantees, and identified lessons learned that helped to inform the initiative’s strategies moving forward. The project focused on the accomplishments and challenges of three different sets of Forward Promise grantees. MAI conducted extensive interviews with Forward Promise grantees, technical assistance providers, partner organizations and analyzed programmatic data.

What We Learned: Initiative-wide, Forward Promise grantees experienced many successes. For example, grants allowed the grantees to serve more boys and young men of color, and to hire additional program staff. Also, for some, benefits also included increased visibility, greater credibility among funders and stakeholders, access to policy makers, participation in national and local dialogues, and stronger networks of local youth programs. Forward Promise grantees also experienced technical assistance-relevant successes as well. For instance, grantee convenings and peer-to-peer site visits presented valuable professional development, capacity building and networking opportunities for grantees.