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W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Building an Aligned Performance Measurement System Across Foundation Program Areas

Partner

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Project

Building an Aligned Performance Measurement System Across Foundation Program Areas

Question

How can a foundation build an aligned performance measurement system across program areas?

Summary

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) focused its grantmaking in 2014 in several program areas, including Education & Learning (E&L) and Family Economic Security (FES). In the midst of staff and focus changes, the Foundation wanted to ensure that its resources were best meeting its overall mission of supporting young children and families.  

WKKF partnered with Root Cause to help its program staff use evidence and measurement tools to root its grantmaking in the foundation’s values, execute it with a high level of discipline, and support continuous improvement. We partnered with the FES and E&L program teams to structure a performance measurement system that would help its grantmaking advance its mission to eradicate intergenerational poverty and ensure that children are reading and math proficient by 3rd grade.

Goals & Results

Root Cause first worked with the foundation to define (1) its intended outcomes for children and families, and (2) its theory of change for how and why its work would contribute toward those outcomes. With this underpinning, we examined a wide range of available research and evaluation evidence to gauge the effectiveness of its various grantmaking strategies. We used that research to assign each strategy a “stage of evidence” along an evidence continuum.  

Root Cause then led each program team in developing a performance measurement framework for program officers and leadership to gauge the strategic alignment of current and potential grants, and to connect the dots across them. This framework was intended to help the teams identify shared outcomes and activities between disparate grants and maximize the impact of their grantmaking resources. Finally, we used the framework to structure a performance measurement system with key metrics, processes, and tools that the program teams could use to track and continuously improve their work.

Because this project also had implications for other program areas and the foundation as a whole, we worked closely with the foundation’s Learning & Impact and Quality & Organizational Effectiveness units, as well as the directors of other program areas, to ensure communication, sharing of lessons learned, and identification of cross-departmental opportunities. As a part of finalizing the performance measurement systems, we developed an implementation roadmap for the FES and E&L program teams to begin putting their systems into practice.

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About the Partner

W.K. Kellogg Foundation logo

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.