Highlighted Project: Building Healthy Communities Evaluation

Project Background

The California Endowment launched Building Healthy Communities (BHC) in 2010, investing $1 billion over 10 years in 14 communities across California. BHC is a new kind of community investment that funds projects that:

  • Build power, especially for groups that have typically had less power than other groups
  • Change policy and systems to support health equity
  • Lift up alternative ways to think and talk about our communities that encourage the sharing of experiences that have been historically suppressed

BHC has included many evaluation partners, who have generated a lot of data and information over the past decade. The California Endowment has asked CORE to gather data in one place, making it easy to view, analyze, and understand.   CORE will partner with a group of evaluators to help the Endowment synthesize the impact of the BHC initiative and to use what they learn to decide what comes next.  


This project is a partnership between CORE and other evaluators on an Evaluation Coordinating Council (ECC). The ECC includes the Center for Evaluation Innovation, the Center for the Study of Social PolicyLPC Consulting Associates Policy Solve, and The California Endowment’s Learning and Evaluation Team.


Because BHC is a new kind of community investment, it hasn’t been tested.  This research project will help The California Endowment plan the next phase of their work.  Our findings may help other communities and funders make decisions about how to use their resources to support healthy communities.

Project Components

  • Data aggregation. We’re putting together data that have been collected across the state of California with data that BHC has collected so that we can understand what happened as a result of The California Endowment’s investments.
  • Data Tools. We’re creating tools that allow people to visualize, explore, and understand data, so that they can use it to answer their own questions about BHC.
  • Content Analysis. We’re collecting and analyzing BHC documents to understand the emerging themes and patterns across documents.  We want to understand what was done, who was affected, and what impact the BHC initiative had on health equity.
  • Partnership Surveys. We’re surveying organizations working in BHC sites to understand how they worked together on the BHC initiative.
  • Narrative Change. We’re taking a special look at the relationship between BHC strategies that seek disrupt the dominant narrative and successful policy changes within BHC communities.  We want to understand how these strategies influenced and contributed to the local and statewide policy changes. 
  • Impact analytics. We’ll use existing and new data to answer research questions related to the impact of the work and to help The California Endowment plan for the future.

Research Partners

The California Endowment Learning & Evaluation, CSSP, LPC Consulting Associates, Policy Solve, and the Center for Evaluation Innovation


The California Endowment

Project Timeline

October 2018 – September 2020

CORE Contact

Maggie Weller
Aisha Gilmore

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