Key Points

· In 2002, the Annie E. Casey Foundation adopted a results-based accountability (RBA) framework to track and report on the results of their philanthropic investments.

· The RBA tool was piloted in a few program areas, including its K-12 education portfolio.

· Grantees were highly engaged in an iterative process to determine appropriate measures, refine the theory of change, and how to track progress.

· Overall, the RBA tool enabled staff to get a sense of how grantees were doing and therefore how the foundation was doing in a way that hadn’t been possible before.

· The K-12 program got a much clearer sense of what it wanted to achieve in its program area and a deeper understanding of how individual grantee work contributed to the foundation’s overall goals.

· Lessons learned about implementing the RBA include the importance of grantee involvement, accepting that not every project will achieve every goal, and the importance of a communications strategy.