Literature Review: Developing a Conceptual Framework to Assess the Sustainability of Community Coalitions Post-Federal Funding. Chapter Four: Sustainability of Community Coalitions


The federal government and foundations are increasingly investing in community coalition-driven programs to create capacities within and across organizations, convene different community segments, conduct innovative activities, and extend health benefits to underserved populations. Given this investment, funders often expect that community coalitions and their activities will be sustained post-funding. 

Research to date illustrates a lack of consensus about what it means for a community coalition and its activities to be “sustained.”  Some researchers indicate that sustainability refers to the maintenance of the community coalition itself, while others define sustainability in terms of the continuation of the coalition’s activities in the community. Additionally, researchers have applied different frameworks to conceptualize the sustainability of community coalitions. 

Chapter Four provides a synthesis of the literature on sustainability in the context of community coalitions. The seminal literature on the sustainability of community-based programs is also highlighted because such programs are often driven by coalitions. This chapter begins with an overview of the definitions of sustainability in health programs and community coalitions, followed by a discussion of several conceptual models, the role of evaluation in sustaining coalitions, key sustainability measures, and the predictors of and barriers to sustainability in community coalitions. Key findings from Chapter Four are used in Chapter Five to develop a conceptual framework for measuring the sustainability of community coalitions post initial federal funding.

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