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Our Work in Research and Policy

To bring our strongest work to scale, we need to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategies to decision makers, public systems, other funders and national organizations. Our research and evaluation work ensures that our ideas are grounded in the best available data and meet the highest standards of evidence. Our policy reform and advocacy work seeks to influence the implementation of sound policies that can improve the lives of millions of children and families.

Grounding solutions for children and families in solid data and reliable evidence

To increase the use of interventions that make a difference, we share lessons from our work with partners, scholars and practitioners. Toward this end, we also support the dissemination of evidence-based practices and policy advocacy to support evidence-based programs.

The issues affecting children and families are complex, and resources are limited. To help organizations make the most of their dollars, we promote the use of performance measurement within the social sector.

Influencing the development and implementation of sound policies by state and federal policymakers and system leaders

We fund nonpartisan policy research and analyses that help policymakers and administrators enact policies and programs that increase opportunity for families, improve child well-being and reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

We identify and advocate for policy reforms that support the best practices we uncover through our strategic consulting with public child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

We promote effective administration of essential safety-net programs — notably, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Social Security survivors benefits and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program — that are proven to lift families out of poverty.

Smart tax policies, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, are critical to supporting families. Through the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative, we build advocates’ abilities to promote sound tax and budget policies.

We support opportunities for those involved with and impacted by public systems to advocate for needed policy reforms.

In partnership with federal and state public systems, we incentivize best practices that foster a strong start and lifelong families for kids, connections to school and work for young people, and asset building for adults.

Bolstering the capacity of social scientists, policy experts and practitioners to conduct meaningful research and collect useful data

To improve child outcomes, we must be able to effectively measure how kids are faring. We support efforts to strengthen the quality and accessibility of public data resources.

The data from public systems serving the same group of children are rarely brought together to provide a complete picture of an individual child. Our investments in integrated data systems work to connect information and statistics from different public agencies to improve service coordination.

We are providing key investments in technology-related startups that improve the capacity of public systems to make smart decisions and practitioners to meet the needs of children and families.

Identify gaps in the availability of critical data and advocate for information system reforms.

Cultivating champions for our ideas and solutions among nonprofit leaders and other funders

To connect our data and strategies with legislators and public system leaders, we work closely with a number of nonpartisan organizations for policymakers at all levels of government.

Recognizing it takes a variety of resources to set all children on the path to success, we regularly collaborate with other funders, philanthropic affinity groups and national nonprofit partners to share promising practices and bring together more resources in support of kids and families.

Current Strategies

State and Federal Policy Reform

Investments in policy analysis and partnerships with national organizations that strengthen the capacity of decision makers to help kids and families.

Research and Evaluation

Strengthening the field's understanding of what works for kids and families by expanding the use of sound research and effective program evaluations.

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