CIVICAIM CASE STUDY
Designed to Learn,
ChallengeTwo years into a new grantmaking strategy, the Sooch Foundation wanted to know what was working, and what wasn’t. Yet with its evaluation methods, it didn’t have the right data or methods to effectively measure results. In the executive director’s words, “We weren’t able to get the information we needed to show what, if anything, was changing. We needed to know if we’re making a difference.”
ApproachThe Foundation hired CivicAIM to assess its evaluation methods, and design a rigorous evaluation process. CivicAIM conducted a high-level retrospective assessment of the Foundation’s grant investments, and designed a grantmaking impact and evaluation process and reporting structure that uncovers the data that is most pressing for the Foundation.
OutcomesBecause of CivicAIM’s counsel and evaluation design, the Foundation has elevated its ability to capture, measure, and pull data about its grantee partners and its overall performance. According to the executive director: “I have relevant data available for analysis by me and my board.” Today the Foundation reaps the benefits of cross-communication, and a structured, intentional learning environment among grantees and Foundation staff.
About the Sooch Foundation
Sooch Foundation is a private independent foundation supporting educational opportunities for the underserved in Austin, Texas. With an asset base of $15 million, the Foundation grants approximately $700K to $1 million per year in grants. The Foundation is approaching its third decade of grantmaking, with a mission that became more focused in 2013 to make a positive and permanent change in the lives of economically disadvantaged people in Austin through increased education opportunities.
Navdeep (Nav) Sooch founded the Sooch Foundation (SoochFoundation.org) in 2004. A tech entrepreneur who co-founded Silicon Laboratories, Sooch credits his personal success to the educational opportunities afforded him, and believes that education can be the single biggest factor in an individual reaching self-sufficiency.
For this reason, the Foundation supports organizations offering educational opportunities to the poorest of the poor, with a focus on older students (adolescents and adults) to gain the skills and credentialing they need to exit out of poverty and become self-sustaining citizens.
The board takes an entrepreneurial, logic-driven approach to its grantmaking, and embraces education as a trajectory for making positive, lasting change for individuals, families, and the community-at-large.
What’s your Philanthropic AIM?
CivicAIM is a philanthropy consulting firm that supports mission-driven families, small-staffed foundations, and grantmaking organizations, including funder collaboratives and giving circles. Together with you, we develop and execute grant and evaluation strategies that lead to the greatest impact—and we facilitate critical conversations and transitions that lead to the most meaningful and satisfying experience in your philanthropy.