Youth Cluster Assessment Annual Report

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Completed Evaluation
Publication Date


To examine a cluster of Knight Foundation grants for positive youth development in order to:inform youth program improvement and development, as well as future Knight grant-making decisions and investments; and facilitate shared learning for 39 grantees and Knight program directors in Akron, Ohio; Bradenton, Fla.; Columbia, S.C.; Columbus, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Macon, Ga.; Milledgeville, Ga., and Palm Beach County , Fla.


Key Questions

  • What challenges or setbacks have been experienced?

  • What lessons have been learned – successes and failures?

  • What factors contributed to successes?

  • What practices are notable or exemplary?

  • What is useful and should be considered by other practitioners?

Approach: The assessment analyzed documents given to Knight Foundation by grantees and interviews with program grantees.

Assessment Partner: This report was produced by Wellsys Corp.


  • Youth – While poor student attendance and keeping students interested in the program benefits in the long run served as challenges, grantees reported many positive changes in personal development and school related outcomes as a result of offerings. Engaging students in planning and providing a variety of program options increased likelihood of success.

  • Families – Engaging parents was described as especially difficult, but could be addressed by communicating expectations and getting parents involved in program events.

  • Grantees – Securing capable, full-time employees was a recurring factor. Similarly, presenting variable and feasible programming proved to be an obstacle. Keeping groups small and allowing youth choice were among the solutions.

  • Community Connections and Learning - The most successful, sustainable programs had many community partners and often offered joint services. Collaboration with schools is crucial.

About our Communities focus area

We invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.

About our Grant assessments methodology

As part of our grant-making process, we work with grantees to establish how to measure and track their projects.  We also partner with grantees and others to conduct third-party evaluations.