March 30, 2016 Press Releases

Capitol Hill Event, New Reports Highlight Importance of Building State and Local Government Capacity to Use Data and Evidence to Improve Outcomes

Results for America and the William T. Grant Foundation Call for Building State and Local Capacity to Use Evidence in Policymaking

WASHINGTON – Results for America and the William T. Grant Foundation hosted a Capitol Hill forum today to identify how the federal government can help state and local governments build their capacity for evidence-based policymaking in the next five years. As the federal government continues to embrace data and evidence in its policies and programs, local and state governments must also enhance their own ability to build and use evidence to get better results for the people they serve.

In conjunction with the event, the William T. Grant Foundation released “Evidence at the Crossroads,” a compendium of 11 blogs authored by leading experts in federal, state, and local policy outlining their vision for evidence-based policymaking. And RFA released, “Local Government’s Use of Evidence in Policymaking: A Report of the First Cohort of Results for America’s Local Government Fellowship,” detailing the accomplishments of 11 cities participating in Results for America’s Local Government Fellowship Program.

“Now more than ever, state and local leaders are using data and evidence to improve outcomes for their citizens, but they need better support, resources, and capacity if their efforts are to succeed,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-founder of Results for America. “That is why today’s event, and our Local Government Fellowship Program are critical. Helping state and local governments invest in data and evidence will yield better results for the communities they serve.”

“Even in a time of heightened political rancor, evidence-based policy is finding bipartisan support,” said Vivian Tseng, Vice President of Program for the William T. Grant Foundation. “But the road ahead is still tenuous, and much will depend on whether the evidence movement can evolve so that practitioners and decision-makers at the state and local level have the support they need.”

“Evidence at the Crossroads,” is designed to provoke discussion and debate about the state of evidence use in policy, specifically federal efforts to build and use evidence. Authored by 13 leading experts, it describes what federal, state, and local policymakers must consider over the next 5 years in order to ensure evidence-based policymaking is successful and yields better results for those they serve. Read the series here.

The report, “Local Government’s Use of Evidence in Policymaking” details the accomplishments of the 11 cities participating in RFA’s Local Government Fellowship Program. These jurisdictions collectively represent nearly 19 million people and almost $110 billion in annual local government spending. Each of the participating cities have made important progress in building and using evidence in policies and programs city-wide. The findings from the first cohort of the Fellowship Program can be found here. The report is part of Results for America’s Invest in What Works Policy Series.

Launched in September 2014, the Local Government Fellowship includes leaders from 11 cities who participated in an 18-month initiative designed to help them develop and operate the local government infrastructure necessary to be able to use data, evidence and evaluation to improve outcomes for young people, their families and communities. The local governments represented in the Fellowship include Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Louisville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake County, Seattle, and Tulsa.

About Results for America
Results for America improves outcomes for young people, their families and communities by shifting public resources toward practices, policies, and programs that use evidence and data to improve quality and get better results. In a climate of constrained resources and mounting demands, we know that public funds must increasingly be invested in “what works.”

In November, 2014, Results for America published Moneyball for Government, the national bestselling book that brings together a group of bipartisan leaders and makes the case for government at all levels to inform public policy and funding decisions by using the best possible data, evidence and evaluation about what works. In January, 2016, RFA published the second edition of Moneyball for Government featuring a new bipartisan chapter about the importance of using data and evidence to drive U.S. foreign assistance. For more information about Results for America, click here.

About the William T. Grant Foundation
The William T. Grant Foundation is one of the nation’s only philanthropies to primarily support social science research to inform policies and practices that affect the lives of young people, ages 5 to 25 in the United States. Currently, the Foundation is interested in research that will strengthen our understanding of how we can improve the use of research evidence to benefit young people; and the programs, policies, and practices that can reduce inequality in youth outcomes.

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Results for America Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act