Faith-Based Community Coalition Grows and Demonstrates Positive Impacts
Serve West Dallas’ mission is to create and oversee strategic initiatives that address gaps in services to help meet the needs of their West Dallas neighbors and show the love of Christ. Serve West Dallas does this by: 1) encouraging collaboration among its ministry and strategic partners, 2) raising awareness of West Dallas challenges, and 3) attracting human and in-kind resources for the benefit of the community.
In 2015, Serve West Dallas convened a collaborative group of 10 organizations with a vested interest in the welfare of the City of Dallas and a commitment to creating systemic change in Dallas by developing a different approach to workforce development and retention in its under-resourced populations. This group included a cross-section of community-based nonprofits as well as educational, business, government, and non-governmental organization stakeholders.
Serve West Dallas was introduced to Midwest Evaluation as a referral from one of our existing partners, who is a member of the Serve West Dallas community coalition. This type of referral is extremely common for Midwest Evaluation as our clients and partners tend to be highly satisfied with the quality of our services and benefit greatly from the help we provide. Midwest Evaluation began assisting the Serve West Dallas coalition by volunteering our time to help the coalition start a quality improvement and formative evaluation process for a project focused on providing unemployed and underemployed at-risk youth with personal and career training as a mechanism to guide them toward stable careers.
Over time, Midwest Evaluation was able to assist Serve West Dallas and its partners in improving their program and demonstrating the initial impact it was having on disadvantaged young adults. This assistance aided the coalition in obtaining funding from the City of Dallas and a group of local foundations. In addition, Dr. Shepherd and Midwest Evaluation acted as representatives of the coalition in discussions with national foundations and in high-level conversations with senior executives from major hospitals, funders, and businesses.
As part of its ongoing work with Serve West Dallas, Midwest Evaluation:
- developed survey and data collection tools for use by program staff and participants;
- created a theory of change logic model describing how the program was intended to work and what indicators could be used to demonstrate impact;
- collected data using online surveys and focus groups;
- participated in regular coalition meetings, providing near real-time feedback on participant progress;
- provided programmatic technical assistance and guidance on evidenced-based practices;
- conducted analyses of collected data and prepared reports describing the findings for coalition members and external audiences;
- presented findings to key stakeholders and potential funders and partners; and
- assisted with grant writing and proposal preparation to secure additional funding.
As a result of this collaboration with Midwest Evaluation, the quality of the implementation and the impact of Serve West Dallas’ efforts with disadvantaged young adults have both significantly improved. The coalition has become a more effective collaborative effort, and the program has been able to attract additional funding to expand its efforts. Midwest Evaluation is currently working with Serve West Dallas to plan and implement a Return on Investment (ROI) evaluation of the program’s results to date.