Key Points

Foundations can serve more people by identifying and supporting effective interventions that are ready to be scaled. This article describes a process called SPREE — Scaling Programs with Research Evidence and Effectiveness — that can help funders and their grantees scale successfully. Implementing this process can assist foundations in using evaluation research as a tool to determine which interventions are likely to produce desired outcomes, and to identify which organizations are ready to scale them. The SPREE process is grounded in evaluation and implementation science frameworks and has been applied since 2016 by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This article explores how the agency's application of the process helps it ensure that the interventions it funds are likely to improve outcomes and extend its reach through successful scaling. In addition, the process generated discussions about using evidence and readiness to scale to guide funding decisions. While the SPREE process might work best when foundations and the grantees they fund have a culture of measurement, learning and evaluation, the process itself can be used to help them build or strengthen that culture. It can also help funders identify and provide the kind of support grantees need in demonstrating that an intervention is effective and in building the conditions needed to scale it successfully.

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