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Comprehensive Community Initiatives, Improving the lives of youth and families through systems change, a toolkit for federal managers
How the toolkit was created What is a CCI? CCI Tools for Federal Staff
Develop your CCI Project
Guidelines to plan funding
2. Fund TA, evaluation, and sustainability.
What is the best way to allocate funds for TA?

Fund the full range of TA that sites will need over the life of the initiative to undertake systems change and build their knowledge of how to go about it. Set aside some funds for TA needs that might emerge later on.

Structure TA at the same time you design the CCI and write the solicitation. That way you'll be more likely to allow adequate funding for TA. (See Technical Assistance Guideline #6: What funding models should I consider for TA?)

Partner with multiple Federal agencies to access a variety of technical assistance resources on behalf of sites. (See the Federal Partnerships Guidelines.)

How can I determine the optimal level of funding for evaluation?
To determine funding for evaluation...
  • Allow for enough funding to make evaluation a priority.
  • Make sure funding supports your expectations for the evaluation.
  • Involve evaluators early in planning for the initiative.
  • At a minimum, fund to evaluate interim outcomes.
  • Fund the evaluation of systems change.

Make evaluation a priority by funding it adequately--at both the local and multisite levels.

Match the level of funding to your expectations for the evaluation. Take into account the scope of the evaluation--what you want to find out and how long the evaluation will last. (See also Evaluation Guideline #2.)

Involve evaluators in the early stages of planning the initiative.

  • Consult with evaluators before you develop the solicitation--to help you conceptualize the initiative and make realistic cost estimates for evaluation. Draw on internal or external evaluation expertise.
  • Fund the contract for evaluation before you fund the sites so that you can engage the evaluator in designing the multisite evaluation and estimating its costs. (See Evaluation Guideline #3.)
  • Provide enough funding to evaluate interim outcomes at a minimum. It might take 10-20 years to demonstrate long-term community outcomes, a timeline that far exceeds the evaluation resources for most CCIs. Instead, you can document interim outcomes--milestones along the way to serve as indicators of change that would likely result over time. (See also Evaluation Guideline #3.)

Fund the evaluation of systems change--in particular, the development of evaluation methodologies to measure and provide feedback on systems change.

What activities should I fund to support sustainability?
To support sustainability...
  • Fund sites to build and maintain an infrastructure.
  • Fund TA to help sites develop a plan for sustainability.
  • Taper off Federal funding as the community's investment increases.
  • Build a base of knowledge about CCI sustainability.

Fund the work necessary for sites to build and maintain their infrastructure. To make sure that sites lay a foundation for sustainability, fund them to:

  • Improve and expand internal processes.
  • Coordinate activities.
  • Collaborate with other organizations.
  • Conduct strategic planning.

See Sustaining Comprehensive Community Initiatives: Key Elements for Success and its companion publication, Investing in the Sustainability of Youth Programs: An Assessment Tool for Funders.

Fund TA to help sites develop a plan for sustainability. (See also Technical Assistance Guideline #6.) Begin planning for sustainability 1-2 years before funding will end. Explore private sources of funding, TA, and other resources sites can draw on to build on the Federal investment. Help sites use data and evaluation findings to make their case to non-Federal funders. Use TA to help sites transition to new funding before the Federal grant ends (See example of a CCI transitioning from federal to non-federal funding (see page 14). For further information about creating public-private partnerships, see "What are effective strategies for creating and sustaining partnerships" in the publication, A Guide to Successful Public-Private Partnerships for Youth Programs.

What does sustainability mean for a CCI?
"A CCI brings about changes in policies and practices that foster better outcomes for children and families. For a CCI, sustainability means that these changes become embedded in the community and accepted as 'the way business is done.'"--A Federal manager

Taper off Federal funding as the community's investment increases.

Build a base of knowledge about CCI sustainability. Set aside funds to study how sites continue the initiative after Federal funding has ended. Make this knowledge available to sites.