We recently facilitated a 2-hour Theory of Change workshop with 30 youth and adult members of the Minnesota Youth Council, an initiative of Minnesota Alliance with Youth that empowers youth to exercise their voices, opinions and ideas to take action on youth issues across the state. The purpose was to gather their input as to which issues concern Minnesota Youth Council, what its strategies are to address them, the expected long-term outcome of their work, and ultimate vision of a better world.
Traditional evaluation approaches can miss important information by failing to account for context or differences across communities. Using a Community-Responsive Approach to evaluation engages stakeholders for better data, better relationships, and more fun!
Ultimately, community members know their communities best.
Community members and stakeholders can provide critical input to evaluators in every stage of an evaluation – something The Improve Group has learned yields the most comprehensive and authentic findings.
From our work around the globe to the thought we put into our new office, The Improve Group’s public benefit takes many forms. We recently described the many ways we support positive social change with our very first report as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC).
The Improve Group is launching new practice areas throughout 2017. These practice areas bring together staff from across The Improve Group to learn more about specific topics and develop deeper skills for applying evaluation and planning to these topics – ultimately enhancing our project work. This effort is also linked to our strategic plan in several ways, such as supporting staff interests and expanding our network of partners.
People with a variety of communication barriers—particularly those who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or hard of hearing—can face a range of challenges in using standard telecommunications equipment. Indeed, communications barriers are part of the reason that the Deaf and DeafBlind communities have been frequently underrepresented in broader studies on social services. In order to truly understand the specific needs of these populations, researchers must use carefully designed tactics and tools that align with a range of approaches to communications.
We are very excited to announce that The Improve Group is launching new practice areas in 2017. These practice areas will bring together staff from across The Improve Group to learn more about specific topics and develop deeper skills for applying evaluation and planning to these topics – ultimately enhancing our project work. While they are just getting started, the practice areas will draw on some of the experiences and relationships we’ve already built.
New structure better reflects the mission and vision of organization
SAINT PAUL, Minn., January 27, 2017 – The Improve Group has joined a new class of for-profit corporations in Minnesota that have pledged to pursue public benefits among their primary objectives. Public Benefit Corporations (PBCs) are Minnesota’s newest form of business, designed explicitly to benefit the public through the products they sell, resources they use, and charitable and volunteer contributions they make.
In my very favorite episode, among many, of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver gave a “friendly” send-off to 2016. There is no doubt that 2016 had its low moments. But it also brought us many, many moments worth celebrating. As the year comes to an end, we’re planning to carry those positive moments with us—along with all the lessons we learned—to start fresh in 2017. What were the highlights?
Over the last few years, the way our team thinks about social impact has been changing. We’ve been intrigued by ideas about experimentation, learning from failure, person-centered design, and market strategies for social impact. Luckily for us, many brilliant thinkers are also examining these issues:
There’s something very exciting about to happen all across the state of Minnesota! Starting next month, 8000 Minnesotans living with a range of disabilities will be invited to participate in the Olmstead Quality of Life Survey. The survey will help State leaders better understand how to expand choices and community integration for the more than 500,000 people living with disabilities in Minnesota.