Jerry M. Lewis, M.D. Mental Health Research Foundation
Program Evaluations
A special note to social service agency staff: we want to fund agency program evaluations. We know how vital your programs are to our community well-being, and we want to encourage your program evaluations with our grants.
We know that many social service agencies are not staffed with program evaluation researchers, so we are doing our best to locate faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and interns at metroplex universities who know how to design and conduct scientific program evaluations to consult with you on program evaluation design and to work with you both on your grant application to us and your evaluation itself.
Why Do Program Evaluation?
You have more than enough to do already – why try to do formal, scientific program evaluation too?
  1. To determine if a program is effective. A well-designed outcome evaluation is the best way – often the only way – to accurately learn whether your hard work is accomplishing your program goals.
  2. To identify desirable program changes and improvements. Why keep doing what you’re doing if doing it differently would be more effective and/or more efficient?
  3. To improve staff morale. Clients who experience positive results from your programs usually don’t tell you - they just fade way. Those who are disgruntled or unhappy with your services are often quite vocal. So your staff can feel frustrated and ineffectual even if your services are helping most of your clients. Well conducted program evaluations often show staff that they are being more helpful than they realized.
  4. To satisfy donor requirements. Those who fund your programs – United Way, individuals and private foundations, government grantors and others increasingly are expecting or even demanding that agencies provide outcome evaluation results to justify their grants, gifts, and donations.
  5. If consultation with an academic research-trained professional would help you write a grant application to us, and design and carry out a program evaluation, contact our Director to describe the project you have in mind, and let him see if he can locate such a person to work with you.