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  Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

CONTACT:
Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
communications@foundationcenter.org


New Knowledge Bank Helps Those Seeking To Measure
Effectiveness of Philanthropy

"Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact" Debuts Today

New York, NY — September 20, 2010. The Foundation Center, the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, has launched an online database of proven approaches to measuring and analyzing the impact of social investments. As philanthropists and the nonprofit community shift towards more strategic approaches to get a "social return," evaluation activities must also operate at a higher level. TRASI ("Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact") addresses these growing needs by offering tools and methodologies that place a premium on evidence and metrics in tracking progress.

"Measuring the effectiveness of social programs has always been a challenge because it's not just about the numbers. TRASI helps organizations meet that challenge and go beyond simply determining whether projected outcomes were achieved," said Lawrence T. McGill, the Foundation Center's vice president for research. "The organizations that have generously shared their own strategic methods for measuring impact will greatly help others to find a solution that is a good fit for them."

Developed in partnership with McKinsey & Co., the assessment approaches in TRASI were authored by a range of organizations, including social investors, foundations, NGOs, and microfinance institutions. The Better Business Bureau, USAID, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Center for Effective Philanthropy are among them. The resources in the database range from off-the-shelf tools and concrete methodologies to generalized best practices and are complemented by multimedia features and social networking tools.

Each approach has been carefully indexed against a common set of key elements and presented in a way that makes it easy to compare their relative merits. The key elements include: who the approach applies to, what kind of organization or evaluation the approach is best suited for, and the costs and techniques involved in its implementation. Each approach was thoroughly reviewed by an Expert Review Panel convened by the New York University Stern School of Business.

Online Kick-off Event

The Center is hosting an online event to kick-off the TRASI launch. Beginning at 2:00 pm EDT on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, a live chat with some of the individuals from the Expert Review Panel will be held. Anyone interested in learning more about impact assessment and the TRASI platform is invited to attend by visiting http://trasicommunity.ning.com.



About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.

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