Program Impact and Learning

Our Approach to Program Impact

The key elements of the RBF's approach to assessing program impact are detailed in Evaluating Program Impact. For the purpose of its grantmaking programs, the RBF defines impact as a contribution to social change, including shifts in understanding, behavior, capacity, public engagement, and public policy. Within each program, monitoring of the field and of individual grants is an ongoing activity that draws on staff engagement and grantee reporting. Program reviews, conducted every three to five years by program staff, provide an opportunity to engage the board in a strategic review of progress. Impact assessments are conducted by external consultants after five or more years as strategies mature. In assessing the context, profile, and impact of the Fund's contributions to its fields of work, these reports inform the development and evolution of grantmaking programs. Program development also includes other research and extensive engagement with the Fund’s board of trustees. Program guidelines are the board-approved articulation of the Fund's vision, goals, and strategies for its current programs and grantmaking. We also measure our institutional effectiveness.

Download Evaluating Program Impact, Unabridged [PDF]


Each of the Fund's program portfolios goes through a cycle of assessment activities on a regular basis.

Program Reports

While the lessons and recommendations captured in these reports inform program development, they do not necessarily reflect current program guidelines or future directions.

Democratic Practice

Movement Building for Structural Change (2019)

Impact Assessment 2010-2015: Democratic Practice—Global Governance and Program Director's Reflections (2017)

Democratic Practice–United States: Revisions to Program Guidelines (2015)

Money-in-Politics Grantmaking Impact Assessment (2013)

Youth Civic Engagement Grantmaking Strategic Review (2009)


Peacebuilding Program Adopts New Guidelines to Confront Evolving Challenges (2020)

2011–2018 Peacebuilding Program Review Summary (2018)

Peacebuilding Program Memo (2011)

The U.S.-Iran Track II Dialogue (2002–2008): Lessons Learned and Implications for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Grantmaking Strategy (2010)

Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development Program Review, 2005–2010 (2010)

Culpeper Arts & Culture

Charles E. Culpeper Arts and Culture Grants Impact Assessment (2014)

Central America

A More Democratic, Inclusive, and Sustainable Central America (2021)


No current reports

Western Balkans

The Western Balkans: A Region in Transition (2019)

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Western Balkans Program: Midterm Impact Assessment (2016)

An Eye on Justice: Monitoring Kosovo’s Courts, 2008–2014 (2015)

Past Programs

The Story of Brownfields (New York City program, 2012)

Democratic Practice Focus on Immigrant Communities (New York City program, 2009)

Evaluating Grantmaking in South Africa (2009)

Making a Difference: Collaborative Organizing for School Improvement in New York City, 1996–2006 (2007)