Evaluating our Youth Philanthropy Program

Evaluating our Youth Philanthropy Program

The Center for Arab American Philanthropy is a recipient of our 2015 Feedback Fund. Recently they shared these insights with us.


Since its inception, our Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI) has focused on empowering high school youth to become leaders in their community. This year we implemented a new curriculum in partnership with YouthRoots, a youth development organization based in Colorado. With the new curriculum came a shift in our programming, which saw us focus more on the development of youth as strong individuals. We invested in their personal strengths and passions and used philanthropy as a tool to aid in the process.

How we evaluated youth before and after each lesson.

We handed the participants an evaluation sheet and asked them to complete the pre-lesson portion, which measured their knowledge of certain topics by attributing an equivalent number value to each (1 being least knowledgeable, 5 being most). After the lesson, each member completed another evaluation, which included re-evaluating their pre-lesson responses. We asked them to attribute a number value to reflect how much their knowledge had increased or not. We included various questions asking them to reflect on what they learned and how they would apply it to the real world.

The pre and post-lesson portions illustrated an overall improvement across the board in the knowledge and understanding of nonprofits and various philanthropic topics (ranging from nonprofit governance, conducting needs assessments, strengths and passions, grant review, etc.). These results allowed for us to learn what aspects of the program were effective and which ones needed to be altered, leading to a more flexible and responsive program.

Yearly feedback

Most of the questions on our end-of-year survey focused on the personal and professional growth of the youth, helping us to better assess the impact of TGI. Results included:

  • Members were more confident in their leadership qualities and their ability to be successful in life;
  • More than two-thirds said they are more willing to take on a leadership role because of TGI;
  • Many expressed a greater interest overall in the pursuit of leadership opportunities; and
  • When asked what characteristics they felt TGI had the most impact on, a majority of the youth demonstrated great improvements in the categories of leadership, teamwork, empathy, and critical thinking skills.

Perhaps most importantly, the teens expressed a deeper understanding of their personal strengths and passions and the significance of investing and pursuing them.

By establishing a baseline for evaluation within our program by asking people before and after events, we were able to discover what is working and how improve the program. It doesn’t take a ton of effort, just some forethought.

The Center for Arab American Philanthropy is an example of a GlobalGiving organization that Listens, Acts, and Learns.


Marc Maxmeister is part of GlobalGiving's impact team.

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