During 2015, the Public Lab nonprofit received a grant from the Rita Allen Foundation in partnership with UC-Davis to build an evaluation framework that can be implemented by the nonprofit staff. Launching almost six years ago during the BP oil spill, the Public Lab community has created a unique model that combines civic technology and community science to support people in becoming stakeholders engaged in the decision-making processes of places they care about.
A strong evaluation program is key to the long term growth and success of every organization, but is especially important for Public Lab because we focus not just on breadth of engagement, but also depth of engagement, which requires a more nuanced understanding of who is participating, how, and why. During the next several years, Public Lab will be engaging in the following work:
Phase 1: A quantitative and qualitative snapshot evaluation of Public Lab to understand where we are at to date regarding participation and impact. Phase 2: Creating an evaluation framework that Public Lab can implement to measure impact into the future. This will allow an evaluation ethos to be built into Public Lab such that nonprofit staff are able to systematically learn about engagement in Public Lab and improve impact going forward. Phase 3: Creating a public facing evaluation framework that other community science groups can use for project evaluation.
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