Findings from Year Two of the External Evaluation of the Healthy & Active Communities Initiative
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The Missouri Foundation for Health has funded 33 projects under its Healthy & Active Communities (H&AC) Initiative in two-year funding cycles. A set of 15 projects was funded beginning in 2005 while a set of 18 was funded starting in 2006. This report is the second of three annual reports that assess the extent to which the H&AC Initiative is achieving its objectives. The report builds upon the findings described in “Findings from Year One of the External Evaluation of the Healthy & Active Communities Initiative.” The Missouri Foundation for Health contracted with the Institute of Public Policy, Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri to provide an evaluation of the success of the Initiative as a whole. This focus differs from the typical evaluation where evaluators are assessing and reporting on the success of individual funded projects. Instead, the evaluation looked across the funded projects to identify common factors of success. Continuing from the framework established in 2006, the evaluation team worked from a socio-ecological model. This model assumes that complex prevention programs such as the H&AC projects must use a multi-faceted approach in order to change behavior on individual, organizational and community levels simultaneously. To evaluate programs with multiple approaches such as these, the evaluators determined that cluster evaluation, a strategy developed by the Kellogg Foundation, could be used to identify successful features of the Initiative as a whole. This method enables the evaluators to identify successful program and community conditions that transcend the individual projects.