The Results of an Evaluation Scan of 55 Leadership Development Programs

Article excerpt

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has had a long history of investing in leadership development programs. Recent changes in the way that the Foundation thinks about leadership have been accompanied by questions from our leadership team about how to evaluate leadership programs. These questions led the Foundation to commission the Development Guild/DDI, Inc. to conduct a scan to determine the current status of efforts to evaluate change-oriented leadership programs. The scan provided information about desired and unintended outcomes, approaches to evaluation, data collection methods, and data sources. We believe that funders and those who run programs will benefit from understanding the variability across programs.

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The W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has a long history of investing in leadership development programs. The Michigan Community Health Project, funded in the 1930s, was WKKF's first major effort to support community leaders to address social problems. Following the outbreak of World War II, WKKF awarded fellowships to non-U.S, citizens to study in the U.S. through the Kellogg Fellowships and International Study Grants Program. WKKF funded two educational leadership programs in the 1950s: the Cooperative Program in Educational Administration and the Junior College Leadership Programs.

In the 1960s, WKKF launched the Agricultural Leadership Development Program. This initiative evolved into the Kellogg Farmers Study Program and, ultimately into the Rural Leadership Development Program. In the 1980s, WKKF launched two leadership development programs for which it is best known: the Kellogg National Leadership Program (KNLP) and the Kellogg International Leadership Program (KILP). The 1990s saw several new programs including: the College Age Youth Leadership Development, The African American Men and Boys Initiative, Grassroots Community Leadership, Community Voices, the Initiative for Developing Equity in African Agriculture and the Integrated District Development Program.

In recent years, WKKF's approach to leadership development has radically changed. For example, the Foundation has moved from investing in leadership as a distinct and separate endeavor. It now tries to integrate a leadership component into each of its major strategic initiatives. In addition, WKKF no longer conducts leadership development programs for individuals outside their communities. It now conducts leadership development programs for groups within their communities. These changes have been accompanied by questions from WKKF's leadership team about how to evaluate leadership programs. These questions led the Foundation to commission the Development Guild/DDI to conduct a scan to determine the current status of efforts to evaluate change-oriented leadership programs. We believe that funders and those who implement programs will benefit from understanding the key findings of the study.

Methodology

With the help of the WKKF leadership team, the Development Guild/DDI identified and invited over 80 leadership development programs to participate in this scan. Some of the programs identified were sponsored by WKKF, however, most were not. The criteria used to identify programs included: focus on positive social change; use multiple and innovative approaches; convene over three months or more; provide a collective or cohort experience; target non-traditional leaders; and build individuals, organizations, and/or communities. Of the 80 programs contacted, 55 agreed to participate in the scan. For each of the participating programs, materials were reviewed and/or program staff was interviewed. The researchers used these methods to gather information about outcomes/impact, approaches, methods, and data sources. The results of the scan are summarized below.

Outcomes and Impacts

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has made a shift from grantmaking to changemaking, within the last few years. …