We are thrilled to announce we will be going to Seattle for the 8th annual Ready by 21 National Meeting, April 23-25, 2019. We hope you will join us!


Evidence-Based Policymaking: Outreach




How Can Federal Policymakers Encourage the Use of Evidence at the Local Level – July 2018
The event, cosponsored with the Urban Institute, featured two panels discussing what federal policymakers can do to support the building and use of evidence at the local level. The first panel featured Ilene Berman, Senior Associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Vivian Tseng, Senior Vice President at the William T. Grant Foundation; and John Scianimanico, Policy Lab Manager at the Arnold Foundation. The panel was moderated by Thaddeus Ferber from the Forum for Youth Investment. The panelists spoke about the work each of their foundations are doing to support evidence building in communities across the country and emphasized how important trust and relationship building was for the creation and use of evidence. The second panel featured Matthew Billings, Deputy Director at the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet; Lili Elkins, Chief Strategy officer at Roca Inc.; and Ruth Neild, Director at the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium. The panel emphasized how onerous research can be for their already hardworking staff, particularly for service providers who want to focus more on supporting their program participants. They also mentioned the need for research and evidence to be relevant for their work and not just the researcher’s interests. A recording of the event can be found here. A blog summarizing the event can be found here.


Opportunities and Challenges for the Use of Evidence: Lessons Learned in the Past 20 Years – February 2018

The event, cosponsored with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), featured two panels focused on how evidence was used in previous administrations and lessons learned for policymakers in 2018. The first panel featured Nick Hart, Director of the BPC’s Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative, and Kathryn Newcomer, Director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. The panelists presented findings from their new technical paper on evidence-based initiatives in the Bush and Obama administrations. The second panel included former political appointees from the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administration. These appointees were John Kamensky, the Former Deputy Director for Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government; Marcus Peacock, the Former Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Bush administration; and Shelley Metzenbaum, the Former Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration. The panel was moderated by the Forum’s cofounder and Executive Vice President, Merita Irby. The panelists spoke about their experiences working in their respective administrations and took questions from the audience about potential best practices and challenges for 2018. The agenda for the event can be found here. The BPC’s new technical paper and a recording of the event can be found here.


Moving From Evidence-Based Programs to Evidence-Based Practices – August 2017

The event featured presentations on how policymakers in the juvenile justice and afterschool space can use a practices-based approach, rather than a programs-based approach, to move effectively scale and improve services on the ground. Presenters included Benjamin Adams from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Mark Lipsey from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute, Shay Bilchik from Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Charles Smith from the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, and Sonia Johnson from the Oklahoma State Department of Education. The agenda for the event can be found here and the presentations from this event can be found here. A blog summarizing this event is available here.



Strategic Financing for Effective, Tested Programs – October 2016

Shifting to tested, effective programs for children and families in a community not only requires agreeing on joint priorities. It also often takes identifying and shifting funding mechanisms to finance a new way of providing services. In the latest webinar in the Using What Works series highlighting tools of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Evidence2Success framework, experts described the components of a strategic financing plan for programs proven to work for children and families and new financing approaches being adopted around the country. This webinar featured staff member Elizabeth Gaines.


Identifying Community Priorities for Child Well-being – July 2016

Many communities gather data on young people to assess what services they need to thrive. But do those efforts document the needs and strengths that really influence outcomes? In the latest webinar in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Using What Works to Improve Child Well-Being series, an expert panel discusses how the Youth Experience Survey, one of the key tools in the Evidence2Success framework, generates data on risk and protective factors that help communities address problems for youth before they start. This webinar featured staff member Thaddeus Ferber.


Preventing Problems Before They Start – April 2016

Tackle troublesome behavior among youths before it leads to poor outcomes like violence, delinquency, dropping out of school, substance abuse and teen pregnancy. That lies at the heart of “prevention science,” experts told participants in an April 28 webinar, Preventing Problems Before They Start. It’s part of a new Foundation webinar series, hosted by the Forum for Youth Investment, that highlights tools and strategies used in the Foundation’s Evidence2Success framework, now operating in four U.S. communities. The webinar series, Using What Works to Improve Child Well-Being, is designed to help local government officials, community-based service providers, foundation and nonprofit leaders and others working to improve outcomes for children and families.


Learning Communities:

Use of Research Evidence (URE) Learning Community

Since 2015, the Forum for Youth Investment has partners with the William T. Grant Foundation to support a learning community of researchers, practitioners and policymakers that advances the field’s efforts to build theory, methodological tools and empirical evidence on ways to improve the use of research evidence. The Forum supports this growing network through meeting planning and facilitation, and ongoing written products to share lessons learned that support the broader field in improving the use of research evidence.


i3 Learning Community

From 2011-2013, in partnership with the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Forum facilitated a learning community of a subset of the federally-funded Investing in Innovation (i3) grantees, along with guests from key related organizations, foundations and the U.S. Department of Education. The goals of the learning community were to: promote sharing and reflection across projects, roles and disciplines; provide targeted support/consultation on practical and substantive challenges; build collective knowledge on topics of mutual interest; and create opportunities to network and build relationships. Blog posts related to this community from the “Lessons from Innovators” series include:

·       STEM Learning Opportunities Provide Equity (SLOPE)

·       Collaborative Strategic Reading

·       Education Connection

·       Reading Recovery

·       The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform

·       eMINTS

·       Calibrating Expectations for i3 Results

·       Erikson Institute’s Early Math Initiative

·       Children’s Learning Initiative

·       Strategic Literacy Initiative

·       Taking a Charter School to Scale: IDEA Public Schools



Since 2005, the Forum for Youth Investment has partnered with the William T. Grant Foundation to support their mentoring supplemental awards to Scholars. The mentoring supplement and program supports scholars to become strong mentors within their academic institutions with the goal of strengthening high-quality training and mentoring for researchers of color. The aim of the mentoring program, which includes an annual meeting facilitated by the Forum, is to help William T. Grant Scholars and others to become stronger mentors and develop a better understanding of the career development issues facing their junior colleagues of color. Additionally, the program aims to increase to a modest extent the number of strong, well-networked researchers of color doing work on the Foundation’s research interests.


Cross-Agency Learning Community on Federal Investments in Research and Evaluation

From 2013-2016, in partnership with the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Forum facilitated a learning community of federal officials advancing evidence-based policymaking. This learning community comprised federal officials in agencies focused on research and evaluation related to children, youth, and families. The members of the group included mostly senior career staff in agencies within the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Justice, and Health and Human Services as well as in the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Science Foundation. Since 2016, this group has continued to meet under its own auspices. This learning community provided the inspiration and much of the content for our paper Managing for Success: Strengthening the Federal Infrastructure for Evidence-Based Policymaking, which can be found on the publications page. This learning community also paved the way for our current series of convenings focused on supporting federal career staff who are interested in the various facets of evidence-based policymaking. Information on these upcoming events can be found on the events page.