Capstone Courses and Projects

Echoing Green

Echoing Green Fellowship Program Evaluation
Since its inception in 1987, Echoing Green has provided first-stage funding and support to nearly 400 visionary nonprofit leaders with bold ideas for social change. With this support, Echoing Green Fellows have created innovative organizations in urban and rural communities, on five continents, in 30 countries and throughout the United States. As part of Echoing Green’s efforts to address external funding changes and internal program needs, the Capstone team implemented a study to evaluate the Echoing Green Fellowship program and develop a long-term evaluation strategy for Echoing Green. The Capstone team developed three key indicators—leadership capacity, organizational capacity, and idea diffusion—for use in both the short- and long-term to evaluate the Fellowship program. The team conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation to measure the short-term impact of the program on Fellows and Fellows’ organizations. This evaluation became the core component of an evaluation system and an associated set of long-term recommendations for building Echoing Green’s capacity to evaluate its work. This Capstone was made possible with the support from an anonymous donor through FJC: A Donor-Advised Fund.

New York City Campaign Finance Board

Definition and Analysis of "Doing Business"
The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) is a nonpartisan, independent agency created in 1988 to administer the Campaign Finance Program, which limits the role of private money in City elections by providing qualifying campaigns with public matching funds. In 1998, the CFB was charged with considering requirements for regulating campaign contributions from individuals or entities who “do business” with the City. Subsequent to the creation last year of an online database of entities that hold City contracts (VENDEX), CFB asked the Capstone team to study campaign donations from sources that might be trying to gain “business” through their contributions. The study examines a random sample of campaign contributions made during the 2001 and 2005 citywide election cycles. Analysis of this quantitative study, combined with a qualitative look at other potential sources of “doing business” donations, informed a set of policy recommendations aimed at curbing the influence of these donations on public policy decisions.

Phipps Community Development Corporation

Strategies for West Farms Technology and Career Center
The Phipps Community Development Corporation West Farms Technology and Career Center’s mission is to create clear pathways to opportunity, help people dream and set goals, and provide support and encouragement as people work toward their future. The Center has four main programs for which the Capstone team evaluated program strategies: Technology, Literacy, ESL, and Job Access. The evaluation consisted of documenting current practices and creating program logic models, performing best practice literature reviews, and consulting staff members to generate recommendations for improving service processes. The Capstone team also created a data management strategy to streamline the intake process, improve internal tracking, and organize information relevant for funders.