Public/Private Ventures (P/PV)

Legacy Collection

Innovation. Research. Action.

After almost 35 years Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) has ceased operations. The organization leaves behind an incredible legacy of knowledge, including hundreds of research reports, case studies and evaluations about how best to improve programs and outcomes for children, youth and families. We are fortunate that P/PV has decided to archive its publications collection with the Foundation Center's IssueLab so that practitioners can benefit from this knowledge for years to come.

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Laying a Solid Foundation: Strategies for Effective Program Replication

July 1, 2009

With limited funds available for social investment, policymakers and philanthropists are naturally interested in supporting programs with the greatest chance of effectiveness and the ability to benefit the largest number of people. When a program rises to the fore with strong, proven results, it makes sense to ask whether that success can be reproduced in new settings.Program replication is premised on the understanding that many social problems are common across diverse communities -- and that it is far more cost-effective to systematically replicate an effective solution to these problems than to continually reinvent the wheel. When done well, replication of strong social programs has the potential to make a positive difference not just for individual participants, but indeed for entire communities, cities and the nation as a whole.Yet despite general agreement among policymakers and philanthropists about the value of replication, successful efforts to bring social programs to scale have been limited, and rarely is replication advanced through systematic public policy initiatives. More often, replication is the result of a particular social entrepreneur's tireless ambition, ability to raise funds and marketing savvy. The failure to spread social program successes more widely and methodically results from a lack of knowledge about the science and practice of replication and from the limited development of systems -- at local, state or federal levels -- to support replication.Fortunately, there seems to be growing awareness of the need to invest in such systems. For example, the 2009 Serve America Act included authorization for a new Social Innovation Fund that would "strengthen the infrastructure to identify, invest in, replicate and expand" proven initiatives. The Obama administration recently requested that Congress appropriate $50 million to this fund, with a focus on "find(ing) the most effective programs out there and then provid(ing) the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country."But more than financial capital is required to ensure that when a program is replicated, it will continue to achieve strong results. Over the past 15 years, Public/ Private Ventures (P/PV) has taken a deliberate approach to advancing the science and practice of program replication. Through our work with a wide range of funders and initiatives, including the well-regarded Nurse-Family Partnership, which has now spread to more than 350 communities nationwide, we have accumulated compelling evidence about specific strategies that can help ensure a successful replication. We have come to understand that programs approach replication at different stages in their development -- from fledgling individual efforts that have quickly blossomed and attracted a good deal of interest and support to more mature programs that have slowly expanded their reach and refined their approach over many years. There are rarer cases in which programs have rigorous research in hand proving their effectiveness, multiple sites in successful operation and willing funders prepared to support large-scale replication.Regardless of where a promising program may be in its development, our experience points to a number of important lessons and insights about the replication process, which can inform hard decisions about whether, when and how to expand a program's reach and total impact. In the interest of expanding programs that work, funders sometimes neglect the structures and processes that must be in place to support successful replication. These structures should be seen as the "connective tissue" between a program that seeks to expand and the provision of funding for that program's broad replication.This report represents a synthesis of P/PV's 30 years of designing, testing and replicating a variety of social programs and explains the key structures that should be in place before wide-scale replication is considered. It is designed to serve as a guide for policymakers, practitioners and philanthropists interested in a systematic approach to successful replication.

Quality Time After School In Brief

May 30, 2007

This issue of P/PV In Brief focuses on key findingsand their implications for policymakers and fundersfrom Quality Time After School: What Instructors Can Do to Enhance Learning. Drawing on extensive qualitative and quantitative data collected from five Philadelphia-based Beacon Centers, our study identifies characteristics of after-school activities that are linked to youth engagement and learning across a rich diversity of out-of-school-time activity areas. The brief explores the importance of good group management and positive adult support of learning, providing program directors and funders with guidance for improving program quality and fostering engagement and learning in after-school programs.

Quality Time After School Executive Summary

April 24, 2007

This executive summary provides an overview of key findings from Quality Time After School: What Instructors Can Do to Enhance Learning. The executive summary focuses on the importance of two features of high-quality activities: good group management and positive adult support of learning. Drawing from surveys and interviews with more than 400 participants and instructors from five Philadelphia-based Beacon Centers, this study will begin to help program managers and funders make headway in identifying key features of high-quality after-school programs.

Quality Time After School: What Instructors Can Do to Enhance Learning

April 1, 2007

Improving the quality of out-of-school time activities and creating effective learning environments is of keen interest to practitioners, funders and policymakers. Funded by The William Penn Foundation, Quality Time After School identifies characteristics of after-school activities that are linked to youth engagement and learning across a rich diversity of out-of-school-time activity areas.Drawing from surveys and interviews with more than 400 participants and instructors from five Philadelphia-based Beacon Centers, the report's findings highlight the importance of two features of high-quality activities: good group management and positive adult support of learning. Building on analyses of over 50 detailed activity observations, as well as key lessons from past research, the report also suggests a road map for program operators and policymakers to create engaging learning environments in after-school programs.

Rewards of Giving: An In-Depth Study of Older Adults' Volunteer Experiences in Urban Elementary Schools

June 19, 2006

Rewards of Giving is based on interviews with 43 volunteers in Experience Corps, a national service program that recruits, trains and places teams of older adults in underserved urban elementary schools as tutors and mentors. The study offers a rich understanding of what motivates Americans over 55 to volunteer, the challenges and rewards they experience through civic engagement and key program supports that contribute to meaningful service work. Rewards of Giving provides important insights to practitioners and funders about creating and investing in high-quality, high-yield program models that effectively attract and retain older adult volunteers.

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