WEBINAR | Evidence Building from the Inside Out

Insights, Best Practices & Priorities for Nonprofits

Held Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 at 10:30am PST

Missed the webinar or want an encore? View the recording below.

About the Webinar:

Over the past several years, First Place for Youth has doubled down on its commitment to leverage evidence-building practices and AI to inform service delivery and drive equitable impact in the social sector. Our November 2021 webinar will gather a panel of esteemed experts to review recent research and discuss the present and future state of evidence-building in nonprofit organizations. This program will analyze the 2021 research brief Raising the Bar: Building system- and provider-level evidence to drive equitable education and employment outcomes for youth in extended foster care as a case study demonstrating the role of nonprofits in leveraging data and evidence to build impact and systems change with and for communities in need. In addition, the program will open into a broad discussion around the current and future state of evidence building for nonprofit organizations. 

We are excited to invite you to join Erika Van Buren, Chief Innovation Officer and her esteemed panelists to engage over the following issues:

  1. Describe the current state of evidence-building practices, and the drive around equitable and practitioner-centric data-use and evaluation methods. 
  2. Identify strategies for cultivating support and buy-in for evidence-building among key stakeholders, including board members and funders.  
  3. Provide examples of how evidence-building within non-profits has been used to help address system barriers and drive measurable impact at scale while holding equity at the center  
  4. Provide lessons learned about the realities of needed investments, partnerships, risks and benefits in committing to the path of evidence. 
  5. Identify directions for the future of evidence-building in the sector. 

Event Presenters

Erika Van Buren
Chief Innovation Officer

Dr. Erika Van Buren serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for First Place for Youth, where she leads evaluation, learning, and national expansion strategies for scaling First Place’s influence and impact in service to older foster youth across the country.  She crafts and implements the internal and external evaluation agenda for the agency, works closely with program leadership to innovate and roll-out best and evidence-supported strategies to improve practice, and conducts on-going sector building and system-capacity development activities in support of First Place’s mission. Dr. Van Buren received her BA degree from Yale University, and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. With over 20 years of experience, she has cultivated expertise in the areas of community mental health and child welfare program development and evaluation, quality improvement and performance management practices and was most recently named as a member of the 11th class of Annie E. Casey Foundation Leadership Fellows.

Steven LaFrance, MPH 
Founder and CEO of Learning for Action

Started in 2001, LFA partners with social sector organizations to advance knowledge, capacity, and culture of learning in the service of equity and justice. Over the past 20+ years, Steven has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, foundations, and public agencies to strengthen the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of their efforts to address social, economic, and health inequities. Steven is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of performance management and organizational effectiveness, and is an expert in developing systems, processes, and cultures that support the use of data and insights to drive decisions that maximize social impact. Steven’s content expertise covers diverse issue areas including public health, reproductive health, criminal/juvenile justice, community economic development, housing and homelessness, youth development, K-12 education, and early childhood education.

Kelly Fitzsimmons 
Founder and CEO of Project Evident

Kelly is a committed social innovator. Previously she served as Vice President/Chief Program and Strategy Officer at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) where she led policy innovation, evaluation, grantmaking and the early capital aggregation pilot. Prior to EMCF, she co-founded Leadwell Partners and New Profit Inc., and held senior leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, and served on several foundation and social sector boards and advisory committees. Kelly currently serves as a Leap Community Ambassador and is a member of Results for America’s Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence Advisory Committee. A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Fitzsimmons holds an MBA from Boston University.

Peter York
Principal at BCT Partners

Peter York is Principal at BCT Partners. He has over 20 years of experience as a consultant and researcher in the evaluation and nonprofit fields, as well as a national spokesperson for social impact and impact measurement issues. He has designed and led numerous research and evaluation studies with private philanthropies, corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. He has authored book chapters, academic and professional articles, and a book on the topic of evaluation for philanthropists – “Funder’s Guide to Evaluation: Leveraging Evaluation to Improve Nonprofit Effectiveness”.

Jan DeCoursey
Research Scholar, Child Welfare, Child Trends

Jan DeCoursey, AM, is a research scholar within the child welfare research project area at Child Trends. She has over 20 years of experience in research, evaluation, and program operation in the fields of child welfare, transition to adulthood, and youth and adult workforce development. Jan works with programs and systems to build promising and effective practices through technical assistance, formative studies, and outcome studies. She is an expert in implementation and improvement science methods, process and evaluability assessment, and qualitative and mixed methods research. Her current work focuses on program improvement for both the child welfare system and systems serving transition-age youth.

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