Program Impact and Learning

Our Approach to Evaluating Impact

The Fund’s approach to assessing program impact is rooted in two simple yet fundamental questions: Are we making a difference? How do we know?

Evaluating impact has become embedded in our everyday activities and informs grantmaking on an ongoing basis. It starts with board-approved Program Guidelines that communicate the Fund’s grantmaking focus and provide parameters to staff on the areas in which they can develop and recommend grants. Monitoring of the field and of individual grants is a continuous activity that draws on staff engagement and grantee reporting. Program Reviews, conducted every three to five years, provide an opportunity to engage the board in a strategic review of overall progress across a program. Impact Assessments are conducted by external consultants after five or more years to home in on particular strategies or lines of work. These efforts have led to revised guidelines, celebration of the completion of areas of work, and the identification of new opportunities for funding, all with the intention of improving the impact of Fund’s grantmaking, institutional effectiveness, and overall performance.


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

New Strategy to Address Political Influence Beyond Campaign Donations (2022)

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

New Arts and Culture Program Guidelines Reflect the Drive for a More Equitable Creative Sector (2021)

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

Central America

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


A New Grantmaking Strategy in the China Program (February 2024)

The Fund Revises China Program Guidelines (July 2015)

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)