RWJF emphasizes evaluation. It currently uses a four-stage approach that examines both short- and long-term outcomes, at the program, foundation, and even societal levels (Knickman and Hunt 2007):
- RWJF hires outside organizations to evaluate the results of its major grant initiatives. Evaluations range from qualitative case studies to randomized clinical studies, with smaller initiatives sometimes not being evaluated.
- As part of an internal impact framework, RWJF uses performance indicators to measure progress toward short-, medium-, and long-range targets in specific program areas.
- The RWJF board of directors receives an annual scorecard that incorporates performance indicators from the impact framework, survey responses of grantees measuring opinions about RWJF, expert responses assessing the Foundations impact on health, and staff opinions on the Foundations strengths and weaknesses.
- RWJF posts evaluation reports on its website and also publishes an annual book series, To Improve Health and Health Care: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Anthology, on what has been learned through Foundation programs and evaluations.
An analysis of the Cash & Counseling program found that the ASPE/RWJF collaboration allowed the federal government to invest in the development of a strong evidence base and the Foundation to support and expand a policy-oriented demonstration project that may ultimately become a pivotal strategy in most states efforts to build stronger home and community-based service systems (Knickman and Stone 2007). The authors attributed this success, among other factors, to ASPE and RWJFs similar cultures for rigorous evaluation and experiences working on large-scale, analytical projects (Knickman and Stone 2007). This partnership with a government agency also enabled RWJF to obtain the necessary waivers under Medicaid law to conduct the demonstration project.