Investing in learning and continuous improvement
In order to better understand our work, its impact, and the needs of the communities we serve, WHEDco initiated an in-house Research, Policy and Evaluation department in 2007.
Because our research and evaluation work is deeply connected to our service programs, this helps us to better understand what we do, and to measure our effectiveness. It also informs our decision-making process as we analyze the scope of our programs and determine what changes are needed, if any, while providing data that is essential to our advocacy work and our efforts to potentially shape public policy.
Examples of how our research informs our work:
- Changes to programs: Through an evaluation of our teen program, we realized that parents (many of whom are not from the US) did not know how to help their children with the college application process, so we began to offer more workshops and learning opportunities for parents to enable them to better navigate the process.
- Advocacy: Through our Melrose Needs Assessment, in which we surveyed 1000 people in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx, we learned from community members about the need for more frequent bus stops, so we advocated with the Department of Transportation to obtain more bus stops on a busy thoroughfare. We also discovered a need to make public spaces safer, so we began working with the Parks Department to activate a once-desolate park.
- Community development: Our research regularly informs our Community Development team, which works with local residents to improve neighborhoods and make way for commerce and creativity.